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The storming of the Bastille on the 14th of July 1789 was a culmination of events stemming from a serious economic crisis and a harsh system of taxation. After forming a constitutional assembly, the Third Estate (common representatives) acquired the backing of the King. The assembly renamed itself the National Constituent Assembly on 9 July, and began to function as a legislature and to draft a constitution.

In the wake of the 11 July dismissal of Jacques Necker, the people of Paris, fearful that they and their representatives would be attacked by the royal military, stormed the Bastille. Besides holding a large cache of ammunition and gunpowder, the Bastille had been known for holding political prisoners whose writings had displeased the royal government, and was thus a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy.