French Revolution

Caricature of the Third Estate carrying the First Estate (clergy) and the Second Estate (nobility) on its back
In this caricature, monks and nuns enjoy their new freedom after the decree of 16 February 1790.
Cartoon attacking the excesses of the Revolution as symbolised by the guillotine

The Society of Revolutionary Republican Women, a militant group on the far left, demanded a law in 1793 that would compel all women to wear the tricolour cockade to demonstrate their loyalty to the Republic. They also demanded vigorous price controls to keep bread – the major food of the poor people – from becoming too expensive. After the Convention passed the law in September 1793, the Revolutionary Republican Women demanded vigorous enforcement, but were countered by market women, former servants, and religious women who adamantly opposed price controls (which would drive them out of business) and resented attacks on the aristocracy and on religion. Fist fights broke out in the streets between the two factions of women.

The long-term impact on France was profound, shaping politics, society, religion and ideas, and polarising politics for more than a century. Historian François Aulard writes: