Tag Archives: french revolution

Olympe de Gouges

The history of women in politics has been a long, torrid, even bloody affair. Even women born into positions of power, such as Cleopatra and Elizabeth I, had to fight for their thrones. What about the women who weren’t lucky in the parental lottery? The odds of an ordinary woman gaining access to the political circles before the 20th Century were second-to-none. But even before “feminism” arrived as a concept, one woman dared voice her political opinions. Continue reading

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The Original Superhero: The Scarlet Pimpernel

JULY / AUG  2014: BY CARISSA HORTON

pimpernel

Sometimes the best literary characters wear the silliest wrappings. No one would ever imagine that The Scarlet Pimpernel, hero to the French aristocracy during the Revolution of the 1790s, was, in fact, the foppish Sir Percival Blakeney.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is courageous and daring, risking his life countless times in order to save the lives of others. He always puts the needs and care of other people before his own. Sir Percy on the other hand, struggles to have an original thought that does not include the height of fashion or popular entertainment of the time. He peacocks in front of his peers, and is disparagingly known as the greatest fop in all of London society. Percy and the Pimpernel are as far removed from one another as humanly possible, yet they are the same man. Continue reading

Let Them Eat Cake: Marie Antoinette

JULY / AUG  2014: BY CHARITY BISHOP

marie

Did Marie Antoinette ever utter those famous words, “Let them eat cake?” in response to the starving masses of Paris? Whether she did or not doesn’t matter; it encompasses the indulgent lifestyle of the French aristocracy, in comparison with the poverty of the people of France, during the pivotal months leading up to the French Revolution.

History is written by the victors, and we can’t trust the voices of contemporary Parisians due to bias. Perspective colors every aspect of life, and someone on the outside looking in has no more insight into Marie Antoinette than she had into the poor people of France. If she said it, and if she didn’t, it nevertheless served its purpose in vindicating the loss of her head. If you can transform a human into a monster who cares little for her subjects, there is no “sin” in dispatching with her life. Continue reading