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“The taking of the Bastile, July 14, 1789. The Parisian mob, not satisfied with the formation of the National Assembly, demanded to be armed in their own defense; and when this was refused, rushed off to seize the store of arms kept in the Hotel des Invalides. Angered by the report that the guns of the old prison of the Bastile were to be trained on the people, they suddenly gathered around its walls and began an attack. This ancient prison had been the scene of many oppressions in the past. Its foul dungeons and the sufferings of those who were confined there had made it an object of popular hatred. During Louis XVI’s reign, however, it had fallen into disuse, and it can not be said that at that time it was worse than any other prison. Nevertheless, to the mob it still stood as the symbol of despotism. The governor of the prison surrendered, but the mob murdered him, together with some others, and carried the heads of their victims on pikes through the streets. The few prisoners that were within were set free. Although were was nothing especially heroic about the taking of the Bastile, the event was of great significance, for it seemed to say that a new age had begun. Throughout Europe it was looked upon as a triumph of the people over despotism, and by the liberals of all countries it was hailed with joy."—Colby, 1899


Frank Moore Colby, Outlines of General History, (New York: American Book Company, 1899) 465


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