World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Tennis Court Oath

Article Id: WHEBN0000157336
Reproduction Date:

Title: Tennis Court Oath  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: French Revolution, Jean Sylvain Bailly, Jacques-Louis David, Louis XVI of France, Oath
Collection: 1789 Events of the French Revolution, 18Th Century in Paris, Oaths
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Tennis Court Oath

For the book, see The Tennis Court Oath (book). For David's painting, see The Tennis Court Oath (David).
Drawing by Jacques-Louis David of the Tennis Court Oath. David later became a deputy in the National Convention in 1792

The Tennis Court Oath (French: Serment du Jeu de Paume) was a pivotal event during the first days of the French Revolution. The Oath was a pledge signed by 576 of the 577 members from the Third Estate who were locked out of a meeting of the Estates-General on 20 June 1789. The only person who did not sign was Joseph Martin-Dauch from Castelnaudary, who would not execute decisions not decided by the king.[1] They made a makeshift conference room inside a tennis court, located in the Saint-Louis district of the city of Versailles, near the Palace of Versailles.

On 17 June 1789, this group, led by Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, began to call themselves the National Assembly.[2] On the morning of 20 June, the deputies were shocked to discover that the chamber door was locked and guarded by soldiers. Immediately fearing the worst and anxious that a royal attack by King Louis XVI was imminent, the deputies congregated in a nearby indoor tennis (Jeu de paume) court where they took a solemn collective oath "not to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the kingdom is established".[3] Some historians have argued that, given political tensions in France at that time, the deputies' fears, even if wrong, were reasonable and that the importance of the oath goes above and beyond its context.[4]

The deputies pledged not to stop the meetings until the constitution had been written, despite the royal prohibition. The oath was both a revolutionary act, and an assertion that political authority derived from the people and their representatives rather than from the monarch himself. Their solidarity forced Louis XVI to order the clergy and the nobility to join with the Third Estate in the National Assembly in order to give the illusion that he controlled the National Assembly.[2]

Significance

The Oath signified for the first time that French citizens formally stood in opposition to Louis XVI, and the National Assembly's refusal to back down forced the king to make concessions. It was foreshadowed by, and drew considerably from, the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence, especially the preamble. The Oath also inspired a wide variety of revolutionary activity in the months afterwards, ranging from rioting across the French countryside to renewed calls for a written French constitution. Likewise, it reinforced the Assembly's strength and forced the King to formally request that voting occur based on head, not order. The Tennis Court Oath, which was taken in June 1789, preceded the 4 August 1789 abolition of feudality and the 26 August 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

Painting

In the painting above, Christophe Antoine Gerle is one of the three men in the middle, discussing the balance between state and religion. Joseph Martin-Dauch can be seen on the right of David's sketch, seated with his arms crossed and his head bowed. This drawing was originally intended to be a print for a commissioned painting, but the painting was never finished.[5]

References

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.