Some would argue that the world changed forever on July 14, 1789. On that day, more than 300 irate French citizens stormed the Bastille, an old jail that many saw as representative of the repression of the French monarchy. In attacking the fortress, the crowd hoped to free political prisoners and to acquire guns and ammunition. When it was all over, only 1 French soldier was dead and 3 were wounded, but 83 members of the crowd were dead while 73 were wounded. However, the garrison at the Bastille had surrendered. Thus began the French Revolution.
In the first stages of the French Revolution, the leaders called for freedom for the people and sought to create a legal code that treated everyone equally. In seeking these goals, the leaders of the Revolution abolished the French monarchy and adopted a republican form of government that provided for a legislature elected by the middle-class members of society. They also adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen to spell out the rights of the people that should be protected and not infringed upon by the government.
During the early days of the French Revolution, many Americans rejoiced at the efforts to bring freedom and republican government to France. Many people, both in France and the United States, believed that France was following the American example and was only the first of many countries that would move from a tyrannical monarchy to freedom. Some of the leaders in the early stages of the French Revolution had fought with the French army in America during the American Revolution. Leading the list of these veterans was the Marquis de Lafayette. He truly hoped to introduce his country to the new ideas of freedom and liberty coming out of the United States. He saw the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen as the French version of the Declaration of Independence and rejoiced as his