Tale Of Two Cities Social Analysis

1126 Words5 Pages

The France of the 1700s was regarded by many to be the most advanced and affluent European nation of the time, due to its cultural influence, prosperous trade and large population. However this appearance hid the social unrest brewing in the nation’s heart between the three major social classes. Though France had three major social classes called Estates, in truth it was divided in two: the privileged Estates (First and Second, clergy and aristocracy) who barely paid any taxes and the Third Estate (everyone else, from lowly peasants to the bourgeoisie) who paid the majority of the taxes. The Third Estate was itself divided into three major groups: 1. The bourgeoisie consisting of bankers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, factory owners and skilled artisans. Though some of them reached or even surpassed the wealth of nobles, they still …show more content…

Fearing that his intention was to use this army to disband the National Assembly or to turn upon the citizenry, the common people began making preparations to defend themselves by collecting weaponry. To this end they stormed the Bastille, a prison in Paris, seized it, and decapitated its governor (a scene also portrayed in A Tale of Two Cities, albeit with fictional characters created by Dickens playing pivotal roles). This act became a symbol of the revolution to the French people. What would become known as the Great Fear swept the rural parts of the nation, as the peasantry begun to suspect that the aristocracy plotted to starve them and that thus armed themselves and attacked their homes, frequently burning them down, alongside the papers that bound them to paying legal fees. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was drafted by the assembly in the August of 1789, and it was this declaration that France’s first constitution, written in 1781, was based

Open Document