The Tennis Court Oath

June 20 1789

The National Assembly, considering that it has been summoned to establish the constitution of the kingdom, to effect the regeneration of the public order, and to maintain the true principles of monarchy; that nothing can prevent it from continuing its deliberations in whatever place it may be forced to establish itself; and, finally, that wheresoever its members are assembled, there is the National Assembly;

Decrees that all members of this Assembly shall immediately take a solemn oath not to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the kingdom is established and consolidated upon firm foundations; and that, the said oath taken, all members and each one of them individually shall ratify this steadfast resolution by signature.

Hearing of the oath, the King called a meeting of all three orders. At the end of the meeting he ordered the Third Estate to disperse. They refused. One of the delegates declared that "We are here at the will of the people, . . . and . . . shall not stir from our seats unless forced to do so by bayonets." The King was unwilling to use force and eventually ordered the first and second estates to join the new National Assembly. The Third Estate had won.




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