October 5, 1789: Parisian women march on Versailles.

The Women’s March on Versailles was one of the early significant events of the French Revolution. It took place three months after the Storming of the Bastille and a little over a month after the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Man by the National Constituent Assembly - so the spirit of revolution and ill feelings toward the government were high. The principal and immediate motivator for this episode was the continuing famine and scarcity of bread, which was especially acute in Paris and surrounding areas, but the march itself was not entirely a spontaneous event. An organized march on Versailles had been championed in August by the Marquis of Saint-Huruge to protest the King’s “strangulation” of the Assembly through his oppressive vetoes.

But the Women’s March rallied around a cry for food, precipitated by reports of a lavish welcoming banquet conducted by military officers at Versailles, which itself was a symbol of the monarchy and its excess. Rallied by the beat of a drum, women gathered at the markets and then made their way through the city, armed with pitchforks and knives and accompanied by some men - including Stanislas-Marie Maillard, who later wrote an account of the event. In six hours, the crowd reached Versailles. The next morning, some members of the crowd burst through an unguarded gate, killed and beat several guardsmen, and narrowly missed the queen, who managed to escape. The crowd was pacified temporarily by the appearance of the queen with the Marquis de Lafayette on a balcony, where they met the rioters. Despite this goodwill, the people (now numbering at around 60,000) were imbued with a new sense of power over the royal family, whom they escorted to the Palais des Tuileries in Paris. 

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    was so proud of the ladies of france this day..
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