The French Revolution was a symbol of great change, a chance to toss aside any prejudices and class hierarchies to create a united democracy. The rich and poor were divided, and many were in favor of upheaval in search of a better existence.
Sadly, these issues are still relevant to our times today, hundreds of years later.
Here are twelve details of the Revolution that aren’t as regularly addressed when discussing this period of history, and take notice of even more similarities that continue to plague our society today.
12. Peasants were Starving Prior to the Revolution
While the fighting brought on a significant amount of fatalities on its own, famine and starvation were actually a major factor in the overall death toll. However, the high cost of food was an issue merely carried over into the Revolution – the poor had been starving for years beforehand. When you consider the fact that buying a single loaf of bread would amount to handing over a week’s worth of earnings, it’s no wonder that the peasants were aggressively searching for a way out of their dire living situations.
11. The Rich Were Born Rich and the Poor Were Born Poor.
For the citizens of France, one’s family upbringing would spell the fate of the rest of their lives. In other words, those born poor would remain poor, and those born into wealthy families were merely handed their wealth and would remain rich. There was no in between. A person from a poor family couldn’t rise above their station, as riches could only be achieved through birth. And to make matters worse, the poor were forced into paying taxes, while the rich weren’t subject to the same rules.
10. The Situation was Throughout Europe, Not Just France
While the hardships of France itself seemed a worthy reason to instigate a revolution, the majority of Europe was actually living in the same way. During that time, it’s been estimated that over 97% of Europe’s population was struggling to keep themselves and their families alive, just as the remaining 3% who were beyond wealthy lived extravagantly at the lap of luxury.