Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2012


Throughout the centuries following the French Revolution (1789 -1799), social scientists and historians have attributed a myriad of causes to the sociopolitical upheaval. Food and beverages played a key role in the coming of French Revolution, for the people were in effect fighting for the right to have nutrition rather than for social or political ideals. Literary analysis of both primary and secondary sources illustrated the integral role of the peasant’s stomach to the uprising. The Enlightenment disillusionment of the royals, rising bread prices, discrepancy in food distribution both within and around Paris, and substandard quality of food, wine, and water all combined to create rancor among the commoners. Had the Ancien Régime (Old Regime) taken its responsibility to the people more seriously and ensured their necessities, rather than exploiting the commoner’s mercilessly, the French Revolution may never have started, much less caused the death of so many.