Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution 1789-1799 - Vol. 2

By Samuel F. Scott; Barry Rothaus | Go to book overview

O

OBSERVATIONS A MES COMMETTANTS. See AMI DU PEUPLE, L'.

OCTOBER DAYS ( 1789), one of the memorable events of the Revolution, best known for the women's march to Versailles and the transfer of the royal family to Paris. The fifth and sixth of October 1789 saw a regrouping of forces as a result of conditions existing after 14 July: urban hardships and tensions owing in part to Revolutionary disruption of the economy, rural rebelliousness, untested local governments and militias, and at the national level the unsteady exercise of authority as Louis XVI and his ministers contested with the National Assembly over the shaping of France's political institutions.

The crisis was one in which the outcome of a struggle between the crown and the National Assembly was decided by popular intervention. The surface aspect of this struggle concerned three bodies of legislation, the Assembly's decrees of 5-11 August implementing the resolutions of the night session of 4-5 August dealing with feudal remnants in French society and government, the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the first nineteen articles of a written constitution. Louis XVI kept withholding his acceptance of these acts and stating reservations. At stake was the king's share in constitution making and the passage of ordinary laws. Decisions on these matters were crucial to the relative shares of political power to be held in the future by the aristocracy and the newer elite of wealth and talent. Accordingly, the deputies to the National Assembly were divided in their attitudes toward the king's attempts at leadership. A minority of aristocrats supported the king or wanted him to show greater firmness. The Assembly's majority of patriots was increasingly impatient. Breaking off from the patriots, a minority known as monarchiens of Anglophile persuasion, led by J. -J. Mounier, wanted a compromise between the old aristocracy and the new elite, based on an absolute veto for ordinary laws and a bicameral legislature. Another minority consisted of democrats like M. Robespierre.

As tensions heightened during the weeks of delay, the patriots, fearing a resort

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Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution 1789-1799 - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contributors vii
  • Preface xi
  • Abbreviations of Journals in References xv
  • M 615
  • N 703
  • O 731
  • P 739
  • Q 799
  • R 805
  • S 859
  • T 925
  • U 989
  • V 995
  • W 1019
  • X 1027
  • Y 1031
  • Z 1035
  • Chronology: Principal Events of the French Revolution 1037
  • Index 1045
  • About the Editors 1145
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