10 August (French Revolution)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
On 10 August 1792, during the French Revolution, a mob—with the backing of a new municipal government of Paris that came to be known as the "insurrectionary" Paris Commune—besieged the Tuileries palace. King Louis XVI and the royal family took shelter with the Legislative Assembly. This proved to be the effective end of the French Bourbon Monarchy (until it was restored in 1814, the monarchical system of an empire had been introduced ten years earlier). The formal end of the monarchy occurred six weeks later, as one of the first acts of business of the new Convention.
This insurrection and its outcome are most commonly referred to by historians of the Revolution simply as "the 10th of August"; other common designations include "the journée of the 10th of August" (Template:Lang-fr), "the insurrection of the 10th of August", or even "the revolution of the 10th of August".
The aftermath was to be six weeks of chaos, resulting in the end of the monarchy and the replacement of the Legislative Assembly by the new Convention. During this six weeks, the insurrectionary Paris Commune held more actual power than the Assembly. It demanded and received custody of the royal family, obtained indefinite powers of arrest, and instigated the September Massacres, in which over 1400 of those arrested were killed in the prisons.
The ad hoc executive council of the Assembly had no root in law and little hold on public opinion. When Lafayette's troops would not follow him to Paris to defend the Constitution of 1791, he chose to surrender himself to the Austrians.
The elections to the Convention were by almost universal suffrage, but indifference or intimidation reduced the voters to a small number. Many who had sat in the National Constituent Assembly and many more who had sat in the Legislative Assembly were returned. The Convention met on 20 September and became the new de facto government of France. One of its first acts was to abolish the monarchy.
Mignet writes that the 10th of August "marked... the insurrection of the multitude against the middle classes and the constitutional throne, as the 14th of July had seen the insurrection of the middle class against the privileged class and the absolute power of the crown. On the 10th of August began the dictatorial and arbitrary epoch of the revolution... The nature of the question was then entirely changed; it was no longer a matter of liberty, but of public safety; and the Conventional period, from the end of the Constitution of 1791, to the time when the Constitution of the Year III established the Directory, was only a long campaign of the revolution against parties and against Europe."
- The Legislative Assembly and the fall of the French monarchy provides a slightly broader historical context.