WARREN, NJ - Marching down the hallway to La Marseillaise, the national anthem of France, 7th graders at Warren Middle School recently re-enacted the so-called Tennis Court Oath, a pivotal event in the days leading up to the French Revolution.

Led by Honore Gabriel Riqueti, the Count of Mirabeau (a.k.a. 7th grader Joseph DeLuca), the commoners, or Third Estate, filed into the middle school gym to the surprise of other students engaged in gym period activities. Using a megaphone provided by social studies teacher David Arnold, Mirabeau/DeLuca shouted for attention.

“The first and second estates have refused to listen to us. Now it is up to all of us to establish our own government,” he told the crowd. “Today we take this solemn oath that we will continue to meet wherever we need to until a constitution of the kingdom is established. 

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In June of 1789, the three Estates of French Society (First (clergy), Second (nobility), Third (commoners)) were due to gather at the Palace of Versailles. The Tennis Court oath is so-named because, when the Third Estate delegates found themselves locked out of a meeting with their First and Second Estate counterparts, the commoners -- led by Mirabeau -- marched to a nearby tennis court to meet.

“We will sign this oath with our lives. We are here by the will of the people and we shall be removed only at the point of a bayonet,” said the 7th grade Mirabeau at the Jan. 23 re-enactment. “Viva la Revolution!” 

 

 

PHOTO #1: Warren Middle School 7th grader Joseph DeLuca (L), aka the Count of Mirabeau, leads his fellow commoners/classmates in a re-enactment of the Tennis Court Oath, as part of a unit of study on the French Revolution.
PHOTO #2: Joseph DeLuca and fellow students re-enact a pivotal event of the French Revolution, with the help of social studies teacher David Arnold (R).

PHOTO #3: (L-R) 7th graders Sienna Prinzivalli, Alyssa Steinhart, and Samantha Ross represent French nobility, royalty and clergy, respectively, as part of a re-enactment for a social studies unit on the French Revolution.