The French Revolution
For centuries, the quality of life in Europe had been determined by the status that one held. This status could not be attained, but was instead determined by the family to which someone was born. If you were born to a poor family, your life would be one of poverty. No matter how hard an individual worked, it was impossible to rise above this fate.
The wealthy enjoyed a life of ease, comfort and recreation. Day after day, they pursued the pleasures of European society, while 97% of Europe’s people struggled just to survive.
This gap between the wealthy and the poor created resentment. Those at the bottom saw the wealthy grow increasingly richer, while the poor got nothing.
Then, in 1776, something unthinkable happened. A group of people at the bottom of society rebelled against those who were at the top, and what was more remarkable, they won. The British Colonies in America declared their independence and then enforced it by beating back the most powerful military on Earth.
This sent shockwaves throughout Europe, and gave hope to many poverty-stricken peasants who wanted to see the powerful aristocracies of Europe fall. If America could do it, why couldn’t they? Why couldn’t they rebel and create a new, fairer society?