This is a concise history of the real history behind ‘Day of Revenge’. I want to let everyone know that very soon, I’m going to shut down my other blog, ‘Everything Historical’. It is a very inactive blog and I won’t be posting any more information on it. Sometime this fall, I’m going to launch another ‘History’ blog of a different sort.
All of the posts on ‘Everything Historical’ are really good and I don’t want them to disappear when I delete EH. So, I’m going to transfer them to this blog.
We are going to begin with my very first EH post…Why the French Revolution Happened.
In a nutshell, the French Revolution happened because of the grave injustice that was inflicted on the peasants and the poor working class.
For thousands of years, society was defined by social class, divided into what we call a social stratum. During the middle ages, the Church owned thousands of acres of land, dominated all institutions and even ruled over Kings. However, that all changed during the 16th century with overseas expansion, the invention of new technology and the change in intellectual thought that went along with it.
Starting in the 16th century, the idea of absolutism gained strong roots in Europe. Kings ruled with the notion that God gave them the divine right to rule, and everyone under them were obligated to adhere to their policies. But, while Kings achieved supreme authority over their nations, they still granted Clergy members and nobles a large amount of power. Bishops and priests continued to own huge chunks of land and only persons of noble birth were permitted to attend the King’s court and obtain any high rank order in society.
In France Louis XIV prevented the aristocracy from gaining too much power because if he did, he would have subjected himself to malicious conspiracies. Louis XIV was very successful in keeping the nobles under his thumb. Yet, he did exempt them from paying taxes.
So where does that leave the bourgeoisie and the peasants? The bourgeoisie were forced to pay taxes, but the heaviest taxes were levied on the poor peasants. People who fell into these two classes were prevented from any high position in society. They were enslaved, forever indebted to the wealthy nobles with no freedom and no opportunity to obtain wealth. A written law forbade all working class citizens to wear satin, lace and silk. If a working class citizen was caught, dressing above his or her station, he or she was heavily fined. Even if a working class citizen did become wealthy off of his business, he was still considered a lesser person in society.
Of course, poor weather and warfare only added to the peasants’ misery. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, starvation was the primary cause of death in France.