Defending LibertySubmitted by dwalters on Sun, 07/21/2013 - 14:05
Who do you suppose fights harder – a group of people trying to retain (or gain) their freedom or a group of people, themselves slaves, sent to destroy it? Liberty is a strong motivator. In times of crisis, free people will come to the ready and fight tooth and nail to preserve freedom. The American War for Independence serves as a good example. Another instance of people fighting for liberty is the actions taken by the people of Paris in the summer of 1789. July 14th marks what English speaking people call Bastille Day – the French equivalent of the 4th of July in the United States.
In Rights of Man, Thomas Paine describes the events leading up to the storming of the Bastille:
Every thing now was drawing to a crisis. The event was freedom or slavery. On one side, an army of nearly thirty thousand men; on the other, an unarmed body of citizens, for the citizens of Paris on whom the National Assembly must then immediately depend, were as unarmed and as undisciplined as the citizens of London are now. The French guards had given strong symptoms of their being attached to the national cause; but their numbers were small, not a tenth part of the force that Broglio commanded, and their officers were in the interest of Broglio.
Matters being now ripe for execution, the new Ministry made their appearance in office. The reader will carry in his mind, that the Bastille was taken the 14th of July; the point of time I am now speaking to, is the 12th. Immediately on the news of the change of the Ministry reaching Paris, in the afternoon, all the playhouses and places of entertainment, shops and houses, were shut up. The change of ministry was considered as the prelude of hostilities, and the opinion was rightly founded.
The foreign troops began to advance towards the city. The Prince de Lambesc, who commanded a body of German cavalry, approached by the Place of Louis XV which connects itself with some of the streets. In his march he insulted and struck an old man with his sword. The French are remarkable for their respect to old age, and the insolence, with which it appeared to be done, uniting with the general fermentation they were in, produced a powerful effect, and a cry of To arms! to arms! spread itself in a moment over the whole city.