Today is Bastille Day, so here’s a memorial by Rush:
Every year Jerry Pournelle puts up an informative blurb on Bastille Day:
On July 14, 1789, the Paris revolutionaries with aid of the local militia stormed the Bastille, a fortress in downtown Paris which was similar in purpose to the Tower of London. The revolutionaries freed all the prisoners held in the Bastille on royal warrants. They were all aristocrats: four forgers, two madmen, and a young man who had challenged the best swordsman in Paris to a duel, and whose father had him locked up so that the duel could not take place. The garrison consisted largely of invalid and retired French soldiers. After the surrender much of the garrison was slaughtered and their heads paraded on pikes. The four forgers vanished. The two madmen were sent to the common madhouse where they much missed the special treatment they’d had in the Bastille. The final freed prisoner joined the Revolution, became Citizen Egalite, and was later killed by guillotine in the Place de la Concorde for joining the wrong faction.
Eventually, the death toll from the French Revolution’s “Reign of Terror” would range in “the tens of thousands, with 16,594 executed by guillotine…and another 25,000 in summary executions across France.”
There are many, many reasons the American Revolution was different from the French Revolution…