Learning TO love The Law

Monday, July 03, 2006

those without knee pants.

With the french
army already suffering
huge loses on the border,
word reaches paris
that austria's ally prussia
has joined the invasion.
The enemy troops are mobilized
under the command
of the duke of brunswick,
a prussian general.
Tension pervades the streets
of paris.
And then the newspapers print
a letter from the duke
of brunswick, a manifesto
threatening the destruction
of paris if any harm comes
to their royal majesties
the king and queen.
The misguided threat
wildly backfires.
August 10, 1792.
27,000 armed citizens
fueled by indignant rage
head to the tuileries palace
and fall upon the king's guards
in a savage attack.
By the end of the day,
over 800 from both sides
are dead.
The king flees to safety
in the assembly,
but the monarchy is no more.
Louis is officially stripped
of his title.
The french republic is born.
The blade of the guillotine
is christened with the blood
of louis' remaining guards.
And robespierre,
once a staunch opponent
of the death penalty,
has had a change of heart.
The birth of the new republic
can only begin with the death
of a king.

Dr. Guillotin's
chilling new device hangs
over paris like a warden,
the penalty for defying
revolutionary law and order.
Freshly christened with the
blood of the king's guards,
it will soon put an end
to the king himself.
By august 1792, with the king
deposed and the royal family
secluded in the temple prison,
robespierre and his jacobins
are locked in a battle
with the moderates
of the assembly, the girondins,
for control
of the national government.
And on the streets of paris,
a new political movement
takes hold.
As a symbol of their rejection
of aristocratic tradition,
ordinary citizens refuse
to wear the knee britches,
or culottes, of the aristocrats.
They call themselves
the sansculottes,
"those without knee pants."

The sansculottes considered
themselves the true people
of france.


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