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13th of September










September 13

In 1791 French King Louise XVI was forced to accept the new French Constitution.


The cost of war with Great Britain, (Including the Seven Years war (1754-1763) and the American Revolutionary War 1775-1783) caused the French economy to collapse. Poverty among the general population was rife and anger grew towards the monarchy and aristocrats that continued to live in comfort.


Additionally on the 5th of May the Estates General Convened, on orders of the King, to discuss important issues that had arisen due to the economic depression. The first issue was weather the voting system of the Estates General should be processed by ‘Estates’ rather then a combined votes. In France at the time the populous was divided into three ‘Estates’. The ‘First Estate’ comprised of the clergy, the ‘Second Estate’ comprised of the nobility and the ‘Third Estate’ comprised of the general populous or common people of France. The new system would mean that despite representing a minute percentage of the country if the privileged estates voted the same way, which was likely, then they would always win in a vote over the interests of the majority. As talks continued without any foreseeable outcome the Third Estate began meeting separately in known as meetings of the Communes (or Commons). As delegates of the other estates began to join they created the Assemblee Nationale (or National Assembly) on the 13th of June.


In March 1789 Revolution filled the air in France with the starving masses and on the 14th of July 1789 they demonstrated their anger towards the crown and aristocratic authority. They stormed the Bastille, the medieval fortress in Paris that had for centuries stood as a symbol of the monarch’s power. In August 1789 the National Assembly created “The Declaration of the Rights of Man” which was adopted by the assembly on the 27th of August 1789 and formed the bases for the revolutionary movement and later the new French Constitution.


 The new constitution took much debate to produce especially on the subject of what constituted French citizenship and if all citizens had equal rights, as suggested by the “The Declaration of the Rights of Man”. By 1791 the National Assembly had finally completed the first French Constitution.


The momentum of revolution continued and the French king and his family fled Paris on the 21st of June 1791. He and his wife had planned to escape into Europe, raise an army and retake Paris. However the King was soon recognised and captured by revolutionary forces. Louis XVI and his family were put under house arrest and on the 13th of September 1791 he was forced to accept the New French constitution which became adopted shortly after on the 30th of September.