On this day in 1789, France saw the storming of the Bastille, an infamous prison in Paris that represented the oppressiveness of the French government under King Louis XVI! It was the beginning of the French Revolution by the masses of people in France, who were being victimized by a small elite of wealthy aristocracy and a corrupt Catholic Church, as well as the royal family dynasty of the Bourbons.
Some reading this might say, interesting, but how does it affect the United States? Of course, even saying that shows tremendous ignorance and the unfortunate anti foreign feeling so prevalent in this country, that feels we can learn nothing from anyone or any nation, because we are “exceptional”!
But indeed, we CAN learn from the French Revolution, the most important turning point in modern world history before the 20th century, as it had an effect not only on France, and Europe, but also the United States!
The concept of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” which came out of the French Revolution would have a long range effect on America, as we SLOWLY moved toward greater liberty, equality and fraternity regarding the role of government in our lives.
This nation has become so much more democratized and promoters of human rights as compared to the original American Republic of 1776, 1787 and after, and it is due to the ideals that the French Revolution represented!
We often hear that we should ignore and dismiss the French experience and people and government as irrelevant to our past and future, but in actual fact, we have benefited from the French experience, owe a lot to them for having become the advanced nation we are today, and should not allow any right wing movement to move us backward on the road to true and complete democracy and equality, which is a continuing battle!
So on this day, we should salute the French Revolution for the good effects that it has had on the promotion of human freedom, human rights, and human equality!