French history’s significant movement The women’s march on Versailles is explained with the reasons.
The women’s March on Versailles which is also known as The Bread March of Women was one of the very famous events in The French Revolution. The major reason for this march is that the poor women of Paris felt that the price of the bread is too high to afford.
Though French National Assembly had taken oath and though the Bastille had collapsed by the crowd, women still felt that the price of the bread is high and they felt that there is a lot of shortage of bread. A noteworthy incidence is that once a baker was killed by a crowd for overpricing the bread.
On the 5th of October, 1789, a rumor was spread that most of the grain is stored by the royal family. A hungry group of 7000 working women went to march on the Palace of Versailles and they took cannon and other weapons along with them. Many women in the group accused then Queen, Queen Marie Antoinette for the shortage of the grains and bread and it is reported that they sang songs about killing her.
The young Duc de Fronsac, one of the courtiers of the king was at the same time in the city and he ran to the queen’s court and informed her about the hungry crowd’s deadly intentions. He told her to go to king’s apartment for safety. Though the queen arranged an emergency meeting and insisted that the family flee, her husband, King Louis XVI, refused.
Marie Antoinette after instructing her governess to take the kids to king’s apartment if there was any riot outside, went to sleep in her room. In the early hours of the day, the mob broke into the palace and killed two bodyguards and cut their heads. The queen managed to escape narrowly along with her two ladies in waiting through a secret passage. They escaped before the crowd rushed into her chambers. The three ladies went to king’s apartment and locked the doors behind them.
The crowd which gathered outside the palace demanded that the queen should come out and she went to the balcony along with her children. The crowd demanded that she should send the kids inside and so she stood there alone. She stood there for sometime and the people in the crowd had thrown sharp muskets at her, though none of them hit her. She then bowed her head quietly and went inside. Many people in the mob instantly praised her bravery.
This bravery showed by the queen is still largely praised.
This brave action by her calmed the crowd to a large extent. But some women still demanded bread and they demanded that the royal family should leave Versailles and go to Paris. The king agreed to this and he changed the royal residence to Paris but they lived almost like they were house arrested.
Though it was not appreciated, The Women’s March on Versailles was recognized as a major turn in French history as this showed that the third class peasants are a great force.