Emma Ockerman writes (via Time): “Back in July of 1789, France had already experienced a rough summer that included food shortages, high taxes, and the militarization of Paris. Sensing distress, [King Louis XVI] called upon the Estates-General—an assembly that hadn’t met in more than a century—to deliver a new tax plan. That resulted in the Third Estate, the non-noble/non-clergy portion of the assembly, breaking from the clergy and nobility, and demanding a written constitution from France.” The leaders of the Third Estate then formed a new “National Assembly” in late June, and on July 14 their followers stormed the Hôtel des Invalides, the Bastille, and other strategic locations in Paris to loot firearms and ammunition. In the words of Ms Ockerman: “That hunt for gunpowder—not the hope of freeing prisoners—was the main reason for the storming of the Bastille.”
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