Have You Ever Thought That Any Beverage Could Lead to a Revolution?

As everyone knows that the French Revolution resulted from the riot of peasants to the bourgeoisie, the royalty, the clergy, and the nobility, in short, it resulted from social class differences. Well, do you know what underlying and unknown reason leading discrimination between social classes to appear more clearly in the society is? This reason was a beverage which is wine.


Generally, revolutions occur when the economic collapse started to affect ordinary people. What is the distinction between the French Revolution and the English Revolution was that people’s reactions to events were different from each other. It derived from the fact that the source of income of the English peasant was sheep raising and its trade, but the source of income of the French peasant was viniculture which means winemaking and its trade.

The economic and political consequence of the wine trade and sheep raising is quite different. In England, because the English peasant raised sheep, they could both feed themselves and sell sheep or their wools and use sheeps’ wools to keep themselves warm. Hence, the English Revolution was more quiet, calmer and less bloody because people met their needs without any help from the outside. In contrast to the English peasant, the French peasant did viniculture. France was very suitable compared to other countries for this work in terms of climate. Yet, could we think that viniculture was a big advantage for France?


France produced enough wine, thirty million hectolitres, to provide cargo for the entire British fleet of the day. It was just impossible for one man to drink all the wine he could produce in a year. Hence, he must have sold wine he produced but, due to the fact that wine is easily decayed and transportation conditions were very bad, wine could be sold only inside of the country. Of course, the seller could not sell all of the goods he had. Some of them, sometimes much of them, remains unsold and these goods could not provide any benefit with the people. As Barrington Moore Jr said: “Viniculture cannot form the basis of the textile industry as can sheep raising. Nor it can provide for feeding the city population as does wheat-growing.”.


The wine has always been luxury and consumed by the rich. It can be thought that if it is luxury, it could be expensive; therefore, who produced it might be rich. Yes, it is logical but what if it is not allowed that who produced it cannot sell what he produced. The French aristocrat kept the peasant on the land and feudal levers to extract more production. Then the nobleman sold the product on the market. In a word, the peasant produced but the nobleman sold. This problem finally led to revolution. In the revolution process, some say that wine caused intoxication for people and the intoxication was used to delegitimize the actions of ordinary people and to violate the social and economic conditions that led them to revolt. In a nutshell, as we see, only a beverage can cause severe events, problems and even a revolution as it happened in France.



Cover Picture: https://fee.org/articles/dickens-knew-taxes-started-the-french-revolution/



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