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Alexandrine paradis’s journal
Alexandrine paradis’s journal
Alexandrine paradis’s journal
Alexandrine paradis’s journal
Alexandrine paradis’s journal
Alexandrine paradis’s journal
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Alexandrine paradis’s journal

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  • 1. Alexandrine   Paradis’s   Journal    
  • 2. The  True  Representative  of  France   June  15,  1789     I  can’t  believe  it!  What  courage  and  determination  it  must  have  taken!  Oh,  I  have  such  unbelievable  news!  If  I  do  not  sing  in  joy   about  it,  or  at  least  write  it  down,  I  do  believe  that  my  heart  simply  won’t  be  able  to  take  it  anymore!  Just  yesterday,  the  third  estate  made  an   amazing  stand  against  the  king!  At  Versailles,  all  the  third  estates  representatives  went  to  an   indoor  tennis  court  (a  tennis  court,  imagine!),  and  pledged  never  to  disband  until  the  peasants   had  gained  more  rights.       It’s  easy  too  see  why  they  were  so  eager  to  do  so.  What  else  could  they  have  done,   when  no  matter  what,  King  Louis  XVI  refused  to  grant  them  the  power  to  vote  by  heads,  but   voted  by  order?  And,  yesterday,  he  actually  locked  the  third  estate  out  of  the  Estates  General   Meeting!  Oh,  how  I  wish  I  could  personally  thank  all  of  those  men  who  took  that  oath.  I  have  only   just  heard  to  news  a  few  hours  earlier.       Almost  everyone  has  been  talking  about  it  on  the  streets.  For  a  while  now,  we’ve  been   hearing  whispers  with  the  words  such  as,  “Oath”,  “National  Assembly”,  “Tennis  Court”,  and   “Estate  General”.  I  think  that  some  even  caught  glimpses  of  the  proud  National  Assembly  (as   they’re  calling  themselves)  go  in  and  out  of  the  tennis  court.  Flashing  smiles  appear  on  faces,  passing   words  of  joy  and  triumph,  all  of  them  celebrating  the  fact  that  something  one  of  a  kind  has  just   Newspaper  clipping  about  Estate  General   Meeting   happened,  that  will  for  once,  benefit  us.       I  imagine  that  it  took  tremendous  courage  for  all  those  men  to  take  such  a  oath,  and  not  know  the  outcome.  Their  hands  were   probably  shaking  as  they  pledged  in  loud,  strong  voices.       All  567  of  the  men  who  signed  the  pledge  to  gain  rights  for  us  (or  so  they  say  that  there  were  567)  belong  to  the  third  estate.  Just   looking  at  the  streets  or  my  own  city,  I  would  think  that  the  third  estate  makes  up  98%  of  France’s  population.  Obviously,  the  National   Assembly  should  be  the  true  representative  of  France.     My  father  says  that  it’s  about  time  that  someone  stood  up  for  us.  We’ve  been  starving  for  years  now,  and  it  seems  as  if  no  one  has   even  bothered  to  help  us!  After  all,  I  live  in  Versailles.  If  anyone  wants  an  example  of  the  royal  family’s  overspending,  just  look  at  the   magnificent  palace!  He  is  rather  cynical  about  the  king,  but  mother  just  shushes  him  whenever  he  talks  about  it.       She  says  that  we’re  lucky  to  even  have  an  income  of  money,  no  matter  how  low,  in  these  troubling  times.  And  in  Versailles,  no  less!   Well,  that’s  what  mother  says  anyway.  I  don’t  think  she’s  right.  What  about  all  the  other  people  in  France,  starving  to  death,  and  having  to   sink  as  low  as  looting  bakeries?     We,  like  many  of  our  people,  go  for  quite  a  few  days  without  eating,  at  times.  Our  house,  if  it  can  be  called  a  house,  is  tiny,  so  that   we  must  all  sleep  in  one  bed.  But  it’s  not  unbearable,  not  compared  to  some  of  those  poor  people  in  the  streets,  not  even  begging  for  food   anymore,  but  simply  sitting  or  lying  there,  waiting  for  death  to  come  and  relieve  them  of  the  torture  of  starvation.  I  cry  as  I  think  about  it,  but   now,  I  smile  as  I  write  these  words,  hoping  for  a  brighter  future,  one  in  which  everyone  has  a  voice.    
  • 3. Down  with  Feudalism     July  16,  1789     I  realize  that  I  seem  to  be  writing  this  a  lot  these  days,  but,  unbelievable!  Simply  unbelievable!  I  cannot  think  of  a  single   other  word  to  describe  what  has  happened!  Even  though  it  occurred  in  Paris,  I  already  know  of  what  happened  while  living  in   Versailles.  Quite  incredible,  how  fast  rebellion  spreads!       Just  two  days  ago,  dozens  of  brave  men  of  the  third  estate  dared  to  storm  the  Bastille!   Almost  everywhere  I  look,  there  are  people  whispering  about  this  act,  there  are  newspapers  with   headlines  across  them,  describing  the  fall  of  the  Bastille  in  great  detail.  The  smell  of  smoke  from  the   civilians  burning  carts,  the  sound  of  weapons  clashing,  guns  firing,  men  yelling,  and  on  and  on.     The  reporters  are  saying  that  the  civilians  had  come  for  gunpowder,  but  one  thing  led   to  another,  and  soon,  a  conflict  broke  out.       Newspaper  Clippin g  a bout  the   Bastil le   The  Bastille  was  a  medieval  fortress  belonging  to  the  monarchs.  It  was  the  perfect   symbol  of  defiance  on  the  third  estate’s  part!       I  think  that  the  second  and  first  estate  want  to  keep  the  storming  of  the  Bastille  quiet,  although  there’s  really  no  point  now.   While  the  newspapers  and  rumors  all  present  slightly  different  stories,  they  do  agree  on  some  things.       It  is  now  common  knowledge  that  there  were  a  few  prisoners  in  the  Bastille  on  the  fourteenth,  and  they  all  escaped  that  day   thanks  to  the  armed  crowd!  Not  only  that,  the  men  who  charged  the  Bastille  got  the  gunpowder  that  they  had  come  for!  What  a  huge   advancement!  Of  course,  they  had  to  work  for  it.  The  drawbridge  had  finally  been  opened  after  countless  threats  and  negotiations   between  both  sides.  Then,  after  an  intense  fight,  the  people  guarding  the  Bastille  were  defeated.       Father  and  Mother  tell  me  that  many  prison  guards  and  civilians  were  killed  in  the  bloody  battle.  While  they  try  to  act   solemn,  I  can  tell,  that  like  most  of  the  French  citizens,  they  are  excited  at  this  show  of  rebellion.     Ever  since  the  National  Assembly  took  the  Tennis  Court  Oath  a  month  ago,  there’s  been  undeniable,  palpable  tension  in  the   air,  all  over  France.  The  nobles  have  been  getting  more  nervous,  and  we,  the  third  estate,  have  grown  a  little  bolder.  King  Louis  XVI   went  so  far  as  to  offer  various  proposals  to  reform,  but  the  offer  were  all  rejected!  The  National  Assembly  even  drafted  a  new   constitution  that  benefits  us  just  a  few  days  ago.  But  even  with  all  this  action,  there  are  far  too  many  people  out  on  the  streets,  starving.       However,  perhaps  the  fall  of  the  Bastille  will  change  that.  As  far  as  I  know,  it  is  the  first  time  in  a  long  time  that  we  have   stood  up  against  the  monarchy  system  in  such  a  big  act.  As  I  write  this,  staring  up  at  the  night  sky  with  ominous  dark  clouds  drifting   about,  I  cannot  help  but  feel  that  soon,  everyone  shall  be  forced  to  take  sides.  There’s  the  side  that  hardly  does  anything  for  my  family,  and   there’s  the  side  that  might  do  something  for  my  family.  Which  one  do  I  pick?    
  • 4. Let  Us  Eat     October  7  1789     My  heart  is  racing  wildly  after  all  that  has  happened!  For  over  the  last  two  days,  I  watched   dozens  of  women  from  Paris  come  to  my  city  and  demand  bread  and  the  presence  of  King  Louis  XVI!       It  is  no  news  that  most  of  France  is  starving  at  the  moment,  and  that  the  king  and  his  wife,   Queen  Marie  Antoinette,  have  been  hoarding  wheat.  This  is  common  knowledge,  but  two  months  ago,   Postage  stamp  with  Palace  of  Versailles   the  bread  prices  in  Paris  increased  dramatically!  I  struggle  to  understand  why  they  would  raise  the   prices.  Everyone  is  already  about  as  skinny  as  humans  can  get.  So,  I  suppose  the  women  of  Paris   decided  to  take  matters  in  their  own  hands.       The  tension  in  France  has  become  more  serious.  After  the  storming  of  the  Bastille,  there  were  many  nobles  that  were  killed,  and   some  that  emigrated.  The  National  Assembly  has  also  taken  more  action,  such  as  abolishing  the  Feudal  System.  And  now,  this!       Imagine!  Dozens  of  women  showing  up  at  the  Palace  of  Versailles,  and  then  killing  a  number  of  people  who  supports  the   monarchs!  Just  imagine!  They  must  have  all  met  together  in  Paris,  then  organized  to  come  down  here.  I  heard  that  many  women  joined  their   march  on  the  way.  When  they  finally  reached  the  city,  they  were  armed  with  pitchforks,  muskets,  pikes,  swords,  crowbars,  and  even  scythes!       The  women  had  encouraged  many  women  to  come  with  them  to  demand  the  king  return  to  Paris  and  lower  the  bread  prices.  I   wanted  to  join  their  march,  but  Mother  and  Father  held  me  back  when  I  rushed  outside,  telling  me  that  I  was  too  young,  and  that  it  could  be   very  dangerous.  I  shudder  now  as  I  think  about  what  would  have  happened  if  I  hadn’t  listened  to  them.  All  of  that  happened  just  two  days   ago.       Yesterday,  as  the  sun  rose,  we  heard  the  yells  of  women  and  the  creaking  of  gates.  Everyone  rushed  out  to  see  what  was  happening,   and  saw  that  the  women  of  Paris  had  finally  broken  through  the  gates  into  the  palace.  We  weren’t  very  close  to  the  Château,  but  it  couldn’t   have  been  easier  to  figure  out  what  was  going  on  at  the  palace,  seeing  as  rumors  quickly  got  spread  over  town  in  just  a  few  hours.       It  turns  out,  that  after  a  while,  those  women  had  finally  massed  together  in  the  marble  courtyard,  and  demanded  the  royal   family’s  presence.  They  even  chopped  off  the  heads  of  many  nobles  and  stuck  them  on  pikes!  When  the  king  finally  came,  he  was  so  amazed,   terrified,  and  surprised  at  the  same  time  that  he  gave  into  their  demands.  At  about  noon,  he  was  transported  back  to  Paris  with  the  crowd   that  attacked  him,  which  had  already  grown  to  over  sixty  thousand,  if  I  was  guessing.       But  the  most  shocking  act  was  that  King  Louis  XVI  proceeded  to  give  almost  all  bread  in  Versailles  to  those  in  Paris!  This  is  sure  to   have  dire  consequences  for  my  family…     No  matter  what,  I  must  say  that  this  was  one  of  the  bravest  acts  I  have  ever  seen,  and  I  pray  that  the  families  of  Paris  shall  survive   their  famine.      
  • 5. The  Austrian  Traitor   October  17  1793     For  many  years  now,  this  journal  has  been  filled  with  what  I  considered  to  be  brave,  huge   acts  of  rebellion.  Now  I  know  I  was  wrong  all  along.  What  happened  yesterday  should  be  the  only  thing   worth  celebrating,  when  compared  to  everything  else  that  has  happened.       Marie  Antoinette  has  been  beheaded!     My  heart  leaps  for  joy  as  I  think  about  how  hard  I  have  rebelled,  along  with  thousands  of   others,  for  justice  to  prevail.  After  all  these  years,  we’ve  reached  a  point  where  we  have  become  a   Republic,  and  have  even  the  power  to  kill  our  so-­‐called  queen!       Three  years  ago,  we  had  already  abolished  all  hereditary  and  aristocratic  titles.  Before  long,   the  Constitution  of  1791  was  introduced,  and  King  Louis  XVI  had  no  choice  but  to  accept  it!  How  joyous   we  all  were!  I  sigh  now  as  I  think  about  how  briefly  both  king  and  civilian  shared  the  power.       Soon,  the  king  arranged  for  an  escape  out  of  France,  with  the  men  we  are  at  war  with,  no  less!   Newspaper  clipping  about  the   beheading  of  Marie  Antoinette   The  traitor!  Obviously,  we  had  the  royal  family  imprisoned.  Earlier  this  year,  King  Louis  XVI  was  executed.   And  now,  the  same  fate  has  come  upon  his  wife.       Yesterday,  she  was  executed  in  Paris,  my  home  of  2  years.  I  still  remember  the  ferocious  need  I  felt  to  leave  Versailles  after  my   family  had  died.  Today,  for  the  first  time  ever,  I  feel,  in  every  respect,  lucky  and  joyful  that  I  live  in  Paris.  How  else  could  I  have  seen  justice   served,  first  handedly?       Many  people,  including  I,  have  wanted  Marie  Antoinette  killed  for  a  while  now.  It  was  the  king  that  made  us  pay  the  taxes,  but  it   was  his  wife-­‐the  queen  with  the  Austrian  blood,  the  pinnacle  of  royal  privileges  and  luxury-­‐who  spent  the  money  on  diamonds,  fancy  gowns,   and  accessories.  I  cannot  see  how  anyone  could  be  so  selfish,  so  naïve  the  suffering  beyond  the  towering  palace  walls!       Everyone  cheered  as  they  watched  her  being  taken  to  Revolution  as  Place  de  Louis  XV  in  an  open  cart  to  be  guillotined.  Yesterday   was  a  beautiful  day.  I  remember  the  overwhelming  sound  of  thousands  of  people  all  shouting  and  clapping  in  excitement,  the  other  men  and   women  all  bumping  against  me  as  they  fought  to  get  a  look  at  the  traitor.  There  was  a  blue  sky,  a  slight  breeze,  and  sweet  air  filling  everyone’s   lungs.  It  all  seemed  fairly  appropriate,  given  the  circumstances.       Earlier  this  month,  Marie  Antoinette  had  received  a  mock  trial,  and  was  convicted  of  treason.  As  if  we  had  to  be  told!  She  had   been  conspiring  with  the  enemy  to  leave  France  secretly  with  her  family!  We  should  have  killed  her  on  the  spot.       A  huge  crowd  gathered  around  the  scaffold  as  Marie  Antoinette  stepped  on.  She  accidently  stepped  on  the  executioner’s  foot,  and   her  last  words  were,  “Monsieur,  I  beg  your  pardon,  I  did  not  mean  to  do  it.”  Such  poor  last  words  of  a  queen,  we  laughed.  Everyone  cheered  as   the  chopping  block  came  down,  and  screamed  with  delight  as  her  head  came  off.       Finally,  the  woman  who  had  taken  our  hard  earned  money,  our  food,  and  the  lives  of  many  of  our  families,  was  dead.  
  • 6. The  True  Enemy     July  28  1794     It  is  such  a  relief  to  sit  at  home  now  and  write  these  words  without  fearing  that  a   soldier  shall  suddenly  break  down  my  door  and  convict  me  of  treason.  At  last,  Maximilien  de  Robespierre  is   dead.  He  was  executed  earlier  today  in  Paris.  Many  citizens  sighed  in  relief  as  the  man  who  at  first,  only   wanted  to  do  good,  was  killed.  But  alas,  he  changed.       I  don’t  know  when  we  started  doubting  him,  but  it  has  been  a  while  now.  After  all,   Robespierre  had  killed  anyone  who  he  suspected  was  an  enemy  of  the  Republic.  If  I  were  to  make  any  type  of   Stamp  with  Robespierre   negative  comment  concerning  the  revolution,  someone  would  pass  it  along  to  Robespierre,  and  soon,  I,  the  “traitor”,   would  be  guillotined.    I  would  never  have  dared  write  these  kinds  of  words  hours  ago.  Now  however,  I  know  that  there  is  nothing  to  fear.       Just  yesterday,  Robespierre  had  been  banned  from  the  National  Convention,  and  put  under  house  arrest.  I  suppose  he  couldn’t  stand   the  idea  of  the  guillotine,  and  tried  to  shoot  himself.  But  he  only  managed  to  shoot  off  his  lower  jaw.  It  made  a  pitying  last  sight.       Today,  as  he  stepped  onto  the  scaffold,  my  husband  shook  his  head  and  remarked  on  how  Robespierre  had  been  one  of  the  first  nobles   to  take  the  revolutionaries’  side.  Others  around  him  nod,  and  look  at  the  man  who  had  strayed  from  his  once  noble  goal.  As  always,  the  execution  was  a  public   event.  A  crowd  came  to  watch,  and  some  even  brought  food  and  drink  with  them  in  order  to  watch  the  show!  The  sweet  smell  of  bread  filled  the  air,  mixed  with   the  stink  of  many  men  who  were  all  crowded  together.     As  his  head  came  off,  onlookers  cheered,  but  there  was  a  hint  of  sadness  in  the  noise,  mourning  the  man  who  had  led  us  this  far,  only  to   have  gone  astray.  It  was  mainly  due  to  him  that  the  royal  family  had  been  guillotined,  and  that  France  was  now  a  Republic.       He  had  fought  fiercely  for  us,  but  he  let  the  power  get  into  his  head.  How  ironic  that  he  is  now  to  die  by  guillotine,  the  instrument  he   used  to  kill  so  many  of  his  so-­‐called  enemies.       He  had  been  a  great  leader  for  a  while,  husband  points  out.  That  is  true,  I  say,  but  after  the  royal  family  was  killed,  he  started   suppressing  women’s  clubs,  closing  down  churches  that  worshipped  any  type  of  religion,  and  executing  thousands  of  people.  Soon,  his  reign  turned  into  a  Reign   of  Terror.       People  had  reported  on  one  another  for  things  that  hadn’t  been  done!  Robespierre  executed  anyone  who  showed  the  slightest  sign  of   being  an  enemy.  Just  a  few  months  ago,  he  even  killed  his  fellow  citizens  and  friends,  Danton  and  Desmoulins,  because  they  had  qualities  he  didn’t  like!       Robespierre  had  become  what  we  had  tried  to  kill.  A  monarch.  He  killed  innocents  and  became  superstitious.  Anything  that  wasn’t  in   line  with  what  he  was  thinking  was  an  obstacle.  How  could  we  have  let  France  get  like  this?     For  the  past  year  or  so,  my  husband  and  I  have  lived  in  fear,  hoping  not  to  attract  any  attention  or  do  anything  that  might  offend  the   Republic  without  our  knowing  it.       Since  the  start  of  the  revolution,  I  have  longed  to  be  free.  I  had  started  to  think  that  no  matter  how  many  types  of  governments  France   has,  no  matter  how  many  “traitors”  we  kill,  that  it  would  never  happen.  Well  now  it  has.    

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