Tennis Court Oath


Tennis Court Oath
(June 20, 1789) Oath taken by deputies of the Third Estate in the French Revolution.

Believing that their newly formed National Assembly was to be disbanded, the deputies met at a nearby tennis court when they were locked out of their usual meeting hall at Versailles. They vowed never to separate until a written constitution was established for France. Their solidarity forced Louis XVI to order the clergy and the nobility to join with the Third Estate in the National Assembly.

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▪ French history
French  Serment du Jeu de Paume 

      (June 20, 1789), dramatic act of defiance by representatives of the nonprivileged classes of the French nation (the Third Estate) during the meeting of the Estates-General (traditional assembly) at the beginning of the French Revolution. The deputies of the Third Estate, realizing that in any attempt at reform they would be outvoted by the two privileged orders, the clergy and the nobility, had formed, on June 17, a National Assembly. Finding themselves locked out of their usual meeting hall at Versailles on June 20 and thinking that the king was forcing them to disband, they moved to a nearby indoor tennis court (salle du jeu de paume). There they took an oath never to separate until a written constitution had been established for France. In the face of the solidarity of the Third Estate, King Louis XVI relented and on June 27 ordered the clergy and the nobility to join with the Third Estate in the National Assembly.

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Universalium. 2010.

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