The Bastille was a fortress in Paris, France, known formally as the Bastille Saint-Antoine. It was built during the 1370s and the 1380s. It played an important role in internal French conflicts and for most of its history was used as a state prison by the kings of France. On July 14, 1789, during the French Revolution, it was stormed by a crowd, an event which became an important symbol for the French Republican movement. It was later demolished and replaced by the Place de la Bastille.
During the reign of King Louis XVI, a Parisian crowd attempted to storm the Bastille. Lieutenant Colonel Napoleon Bonaparte prevented this by ordering troops under his command to open fire upon in the insurgents, declaring "Ils ne passeront pas" ("they shall not pass"). Respectable society viewed Bonaparte as a great man who preserved peace and order, although radical elements viewed it as a tragedy, a view expressed in the "Fallen Innocents" symphony.
Luc Harcourt pointed to the events of 1789 as an example of a successful French mutiny. Aristide Demange replied that the rebels' success was more trouble than it was worth, as it led to the bloodshed of the Revolution, the Terror, and the ultimately pyrrhic victories of Napoleon Bonaparte.