Fête de la Fédération

Last updated

The Fete de la Federation at Champ de Mars as seen from behind the King's tent, by Isidore Stanislas Helman (1790) Federation.jpg
The Fête de la Fédération at Champ de Mars as seen from behind the King's tent, by Isidore Stanislas Helman (1790)

The Fête de la Fédération (Festival of the Federation) was a massive holiday festival held throughout France in honour of the French Revolution. It is the precursor of the Bastille Day which is celebrated every year in France on 14 July, celebrating the Revolution itself, as well as National Unity.

Holiday festive day set aside by custom or by law

A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate an event or tradition of cultural or religious significance. Holidays may be designated by governments, religious institutions, or other groups or organizations. The degree to which normal activities are reduced by a holiday may depend on local laws, customs, the type of job held or personal choices.

Festival Organised series of acts and performances

,

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a sovereign state whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.0 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Contents

First celebrated in 1790, it commemorated the revolution and events of 1789 which had culminated in a new form of national government, a constitutional monarchy led by a representative Assembly.

1790 Year

1790 (MDCCXC) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1790th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 790th year of the 2nd millennium, the 90th year of the 18th century, and the 1st year of the 1790s decade. As of the start of 1790, the Gregorian calendar was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1789 Year

1789 (MDCCLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1789th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 789th year of the 2nd millennium, the 89th year of the 18th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1780s decade. As of the start of 1789, the Gregorian calendar was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the sovereign exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. while the Legislative Power is exercised by a Parliament, usually elected by citizens. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy in that constitutional monarchs are bound to exercise their powers and authorities within the limits prescribed within an established legal framework. Constitutional monarchies range from countries such as Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain, where the constitution grants substantial discretionary powers to the sovereign, to countries such as Japan and Sweden where the monarch retains no formal authorities.

The inaugural fête of 1790 was set for July 14th, so it would also coincide with the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille although that is not what was itself celebrated. At this relatively calm stage of the Revolution, many people considered the country's period of political struggle to be over. This thinking was encouraged by counter-revolutionary monarchiens , and the first fête was designed with a role for King Louis XVI that would respect and maintain his royal status. The occasion passed peacefully and provided a powerful, but illusory, image of celebrating national unity after the divisive events of 1789–1790.

Storming of the Bastille Major event of the French Revolution

The Storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris, France, on the afternoon of 14 July 1789.

Monarchiens

The Friends of the Monarchist Constitution, commonly known as the Monarchist Club or the Monarchiens, were one of the revolutionary factions in the earliest stages of the French Revolution. The Monarchiens were briefly a centrist stabilising force criticized by the left-wing of the National Constituent Assembly, the spectators in the galleries and the patriotic press. Established in August 1789, the Monarchist Club was quickly swept away. Specifically, the brief movement developed when the Revolution was shifting away from the Ancien Régime during the Spring of 1789 and was defeated by the end of 1789. Subsequently, the term itself is usually derogatory.

Louis XVI of France King of France and Navarre

Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.

Background

After the initial revolutionary events of 1789, France's ancien régime had shifted into a new paradigm of constitutional monarchy. By the end of that year, towns and villages throughout the country had begun to join together as fédérations, fraternal associations which commemorated and promoted the new political structure. [1] A common theme among them was a wish for a nationwide expression of unity, a fête to honour the Revolution. Plans were set for simultaneous celebrations in July 1790 all over the nation, but the fête in Paris would be the most prominent by far. It would feature the King, the royal family, and all the deputies of the National Constituent Assembly, with thousands of other citizens predicted to arrive from all corners of France.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, as well as the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018. The city is a major railway, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, and is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, but the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015.

National Constituent Assembly (France) former political body formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution

The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.

Preparation

The triumphal arch of the Fete de la Federation, by Hubert Robert. Fete federation hubert robert.jpg
The triumphal arch of the Fête de la Fédération, by Hubert Robert.

The event took place on the Champ de Mars, which was at the time far outside Paris. The vast stadium had been financed by the National Assembly, and completed in time only with the help of thousands of volunteer laborers from the Paris region. During these "Wheelbarrow Days"(journée des brouettes), the festival workers popularised a new song that would become an enduring anthem of France, Ah! ça ira . [2]

Champ de Mars large public green space in Paris, France

The Champ de Mars is a large public greenspace in Paris, France, located in the seventh arrondissement, between the Eiffel Tower to the northwest and the École Militaire to the southeast. The park is named after the Campus Martius in Rome, a tribute to the Latin name of the Roman God of war. The name also alludes to the fact that the lawns here were formerly used as drilling and marching grounds by the French military.

Enormous earthen stands for spectators were built on each side of the field, with a seating capacity estimated at 100,000. [3] The Seine was crossed by a bridge of boats leading to an altar where oaths were to be sworn. The new military school was used to harbour members of the National Assembly and their families. At one end of the field, a huge tent was the king's step, and at the other end, a triumphal arch was built. At the centre of the field was an altar for the mass.

Seine river in France

The Seine is a 777-kilometre-long (483 mi) river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre. It is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, and nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating; excursion boats offer sightseeing tours of the river banks in Paris, lined with top monuments including Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Musée d'Orsay.

Triumphal arch monumental structure in the shape of an archway

A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be mounted or which bears commemorative inscriptions. The main structure is often decorated with carvings, sculpted reliefs, and dedications. More elaborate triumphal arches may have multiple archways.

Official celebration

The feast began as early as four in the morning, under a strong rain which would last the whole day (the Journal de Paris had predicted "frequent downpours").

Fourteen thousand fédérés came from the province, every single National Guard unit having sent two men out of every hundred. They were ranged under eighty-three banners, according to their département. They were brought to the place where the Bastille once stood, and went through Saint-Antoine, Saint-Denis and Saint-Honoré streets before crossing the temporary bridge and arriving at the Champ de Mars.

Lafayette leading the oath (18th c. oil painting, Musee Carnavalet) Le serment de La Fayette a la fete de la Federation 14 July 1790 French School 18th century.jpg
Lafayette leading the oath (18th c. oil painting, Musée Carnavalet)

A mass was celebrated by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, bishop of Autun under the ancien régime. At this time, the first French Constitution was not yet completed, and it would not be officially ratified until September 1791. But the gist of it was understood by everyone, and no one was willing to wait. Lafayette led the President of the National Assembly and all the deputies in a solemn oath to the coming Constitution:

Afterwards, Louis XVI took a similar vow: "I, King of the French, swear to use the power given to me by the constitutional act of the State, to maintain the Constitution as decreed by the National Assembly and accepted by myself." [5] The title "King of the French", used here for the first time instead of "King of France (and Navarre)", was an innovation intended to inaugurate a popular monarchy which linked the monarch's title to the people rather than the territory of France. a The Queen Marie Antoinette then rose and showed the Dauphin, future Louis XVII, saying: "This is my son, who, like me, joins in the same sentiments." [6]

The festival organisers welcomed delegations from countries around the world, including the recently established United States. John Paul Jones, Thomas Paine and other Americans unfurled their Stars and Stripes at the Champ de Mars, the first instance of the flag being flown outside of the United States. [7]

After the end of the official celebration, the day ended in a huge popular feast. It was also a symbol of the reunification of the Three Estates, after the heated Estates-General of 1789, with the Bishop (First Estate) and the King (Second Estate) blessing the people (Third Estate). In the gardens of the Château de La Muette, a meal was offered to more than 20,000 participants, followed by much singing, dancing, and drinking. The feast ended on the 18 July.

Trivia

Notes

Related Research Articles

Bastille Day National holiday in France

Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the national day of France, which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In French, it is formally called la Fête nationale and commonly and legally le 14 juillet.

Jacques Necker French statesman of Genevan birth and finance minister of Louis XVI

Jacques Necker was a banker of Genevan origin who became a finance minister for Louis XVI and a French statesman. Necker played a key role in French history before and during the first period of the French Revolution.

Flight to Varennes

The royal Flight to Varennes during the night of 20–21 June 1791 was a significant episode in the French Revolution in which King Louis XVI of France, his queen Marie Antoinette, and their immediate family unsuccessfully attempted to escape from Paris in order to initiate a counter-revolution at the head of loyal troops under royalist officers concentrated at Montmédy near the frontier. They escaped only as far as the small town of Varennes, where they were arrested after having been recognized at their previous stop in Sainte-Menehould.

Jacques Pierre Brissot French revolutionary

Jacques Pierre Brissot, who assumed the name of de Warville, was a leading member of the Girondins during the French Revolution and founder of the abolitionist Society of the Friends of the Blacks. Some sources give his name as Jean Pierre Brissot.

This is a glossary of the French Revolution. It generally does not explicate names of individual people or their political associations; those can be found in List of people associated with the French Revolution.

The French Revolution was a period in the history of France covering the years 1789 to 1799, in which republicans overthrew the Bourbon monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church perforce underwent radical restructuring. This article covers a period of time slightly longer than a year, from 14 July 1790, the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, to the establishment of the Legislative Assembly on 1 October 1791.

French Constitution of 1791 constitution

The short-lived French Constitution of 1791 was the first written constitution in France, created after the collapse of the absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime. One of the basic precepts of the revolution was adopting constitutionality and establishing popular sovereignty.

<i>Fédéré</i>

The term "fédérés" most commonly refers to the troops who volunteered for the French National Guard in the summer of 1792 during the French Revolution. The fédérés of 1792 effected a transformation of the Guard from a constitutional monarchist force into a republican revolutionary force.

Estates General of 1789 general assembly representing the French estates of the realm: the clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate), and the commoners (Third Estate). Summoned by King Louis XVI

The Estates General of 1789 was a general assembly representing the French estates of the realm: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners, the last of Estates General of Kingdom of France. Summoned by King Louis XVI, it was brought to an end when the Third Estate formed into a National Assembly, inviting the other two to join, against the wishes of the King. This signaled the outbreak of the French Revolution.

Stanislas Marie Adélaïde, comte de Clermont-Tonnerre French politician

Stanislas Marie Adélaïde, comte de Clermont-Tonnerre was a French nobleman, military officer, and politician during the French Revolution.

Jean-Nicolas Démeunier French politician

Jean-Nicolas Démeunier was a French author and politician.

Thomas de Treil de Pardailhan French Baron

Thomas-François de Treil de Pardailhan was the eldest of an ennobled Languedocien family, originating in the Saint-Pons-de-Thomières region. At first an officer in the Maison Militaire du Roi, baron Thomas de Treil de Pardailhan was Maître d'hôtel du Roi at the Court of Versailles at the end of the Ancien Régime. His writings, however, show him as an opponent of the privileges of aristocracy and in favor of the new ideas. The French Revolution marks a rupture with his milieu: in support of deep social reform, he was elected député for Paris in 1791 to the Legislative Assembly, but always remained attached to the idea of a constitutional monarchy and was imprisoned as a suspect during the Reign of Terror. Ruined by bad business dealings under the Directory and by sources of income he had lost in the Revolution, he ended his life at his château at Pardailhan in 1822.

Charles Thévenin French painter

Charles Thévenin was a neoclassical French painter, known for heroic scenes from the time of the French Revolution and First French Empire.

<i>Le National</i> (Paris) French daily newspaper

Le National was a French daily founded in 1830 by Adolphe Thiers, Armand Carrel, François-Auguste Mignet and the librarian-editor Auguste Sautelet, as the mouthpiece of the liberal opposition to the Second Restoration.

When the National Constituent Assembly dissolved itself on 3 September 1791, it decreed as a final measure that King Louis XVI should have a Constitutional Guard, also known as the garde Brissac after its commander Louis Hercule Timolon de Cossé, duc de Brissac. This guard's formation was the only court reform to be put into effect, but it only lasted a few months, being superseded by the National Guard.

Joseph-Henri baron de Jessé Nobleman, government official

Joseph-Henri baron de Jessé (1755–1794) was a French nobleman and government official, who served as President of the French National Constituent Assembly from 30 August 1790 to 10 September 1790.

Patriotic Society of 1789

The Society of 1789, or the Patriotic Society of 1789, was a political club of the French Revolution inaugurated during a festive banquet held at Palais-Royal in May 1790 by more moderate elements of the Club Breton. At their height of influence, it was the second most important club after the Jacobin Club.

References

  1. Hibbert, p. 112.
  2. Hanson, p. 53.
  3. "La fête nationale du 14 juillet". Elysee.fr (in French). Office of the President of the French Republic. 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  4. Mignet, p. 158: "Nous jurons d'être à jamais fidèles à la nation, à la loi et au roi, de maintenir de tout notre pouvoir la Constitution décrétée par l'Assemblée nationale et acceptée par le roi et de demeurer unis à tous les Français par les liens indissolubles de la fraternité."
  5. Mignet, p. 158: "Moi, roi des Français, je jure d'employer tout le pouvoir qui m'est délégué par l'acte constitutionnel de l'état, à maintenir la constitution décrétée par l'Assemblée nationale et acceptée par moi."
  6. Bonifacio and Maréchal, p. 96: "Voilà mon fils, il s'unit, ainsi que moi, aux mêmes sentiments."
  7. Unger, p. 266.

Bibliography