The French Revolution

The French Revolution began with high ideals. Very quickly, like most political movements, the movement splintered over differing points of view, beliefs, and goals. For example, men’s pants. Specifically whether to put on ‘poofy breeches’ or go ‘sans coulettes,’ meaning you rejected the fancy pants of the upper classes and donned regular trousers worn by the working classes.

And you thought hoodies were a political issue. The fact that fashion choices became a life and death issue sounded a lot like an episode of Seinfeld. And as always, we go channel surfing up and down the dial of France in the 1780s.

Original Air Date:  May 8th, 2004

Transcript from YouTube

Welcome to History Bites I’m Rick Green.
Today if you’re unhappy with your wages
you go on strike if you don’t like your
leaders you vote for the opposition if
you disagree with your church
yes which religions or start your own
but back in the late 18th century going
on strike wasn’t fashionable voting was
unheard-of and the church wasn’t open to
so French citizens tried something that
had worked in America a revolution they
stormed the Bastille then removed the
king and queen starting with their heads
unfortunately after eliminating the old
monarchist government they didn’t have a
single idea about how to replace it they
had lots of ideas conflicting ideas this
led to bickering and dozens of
executions a day by 1793 that Great
Terror was in full swing and no one was
if only television had been there to
show people fighting over everything
with a show about nothing
oh hey George Jarek so how’d it go with
best sex I’ve ever had Hey look an
opposer to lose really Jared this woman
is like a wild animal from the jungles
of America problem is Maurice animal
instincts too only come out after you
get her excited well as far as I
understand it that’s usually the rule
George even in Toulouse yeah but the
only thing that excites Murray’s
watching an execution the reign of
terror in full swing you’re gonna get at
least a dozen chances for a more every
don’t you think it’s kind of strange
well sure I mean connecting a public
clinical execution to sex is clearly
abnormal then again she is dating you
it’s Sons of Liberty and revolution have
inspired chaos and anarchy remember I
knew a man bourgeois and he run from you
in fancy shoes with powdered face and
puffy shirt and breech pants and awake
from Toulouse King you’ll be a goner
your head on up I was this close when
they getting the girl I’m gonna jump on
the rap Charlotte Corday yep smart girl
getting close enough to a leader of the
revolution to murderer in his own
bathtub I heard she was nice welcome to
not so nice with the inside of the neck
Shawn oh yeah you got gold silver
diamonds and sell them to me I’ll pay
you a fraction of what they’re worth and
then I’ll smuggle you out of France
if you’re a desperate despot let me
profit while you Scotland oh yeah Paris
a city of chaos and revolution people
take from the rich and give to the poor
only to then kill the rich by drowning
shooting or the heads of the country
no lucky safe power to the people the
upper classes are stripped naked and
drowned in rivers priests are assaulted
and forced to renounce their beliefs
before the Revolution France had had a
kind of parliament called the Estates
General it was made up of three groups
or estates one group represented the
nobles one the clergy and the Third
Estate represented ordinary people the
problem was that the nobles and the
clergy could gang up and help vote the
ordinary people so the ordinary people
felt cheated they then gathered together
on an indoor tennis court and drafted a
new constitution the Declaration of the
Rights of Man that got the tennis ball
rolling and before long the monarchy was
over game set and match my business is
ruined Jerry it’s ruined I finally got
that shipment of tennis rackets and all
the aristocrats who play tennis supreme
deity not quite the slice they were
looking for
yeah these days tennis courts are just
used for revolutionary meetings huh you
must have heard about this when the
commoners of the National Assembly were
locked out of the meeting of the bigwigs
the estates-general they stayed on the
tennis courts and took the tennis court
oath the oath that led to the new
how about it chefs brother chops travel
and guillotine show Shia the baby’s been
you guys want to go see revolutionary
speakers at the coffee shop tonight
they’re discussing Thomas Paine’s
theories on the rights of man sorry
I’ll meet Maria talk just doesn’t do it
for us cool and surely it’ll be great
mmm those public speeches are boring now
everybody’s so scared of Road fairs
committees to speak their minds besides
I got to break up with Juliet Juliet
isn’t she the one whose fathers on ropes
appears a committee for the Public
Safety yep the driving force behind the
revolution that’s right
well she’s nice but she gave me this not
puffy shirt she wants me to wear it
exactly she claims us what the peasants
have always worn so now everybody’s
doing it to show support for the
revolution and anyone who wears a puffy
shirt is counter-revolutionary
with revolutionary searching everywhere
you can take it with you you can’t go
yourself so sell it to me and I’ll help
you flee oh yeah I can get you across
the border across the channel or over
the Alps to safety
sherry I’m tired maybe we should you
know actually Julie and I’ve been
thinking you’re very politically active
of course I am this is a very exciting
time for me you know we’re ending the
tyranny of an ancient regime and
starting up a new republic I know and
all that Republican regime stuff is all
very important but just not to make top
of that there’s not puffy shirt you gave
me well I can’t wear it so I’m thinking
it would be better if we could just
about the revolution isn’t it what
that’s why you won’t wear the not puffy
shirt no my father about your
counter-revolutionary plot and you’re
just trying to break up with me no no no
no no all I was saying was I thought it
would be better if you could tell me
more about the new Republican plans so I
would become more interested in it
yeah and they’re not puffy shirt well I
can’t wear this cuz well it’s not my
size Jerry I’m so sorry
can you ever forgive me of course I’ll
pick Christopher Lloyd to go OK at the
execution of louis xvi what was the
first reaction of those closest to the
I would assume their first reaction
would be yuck
first reaction would need to cover their
eyes with their handkerchiefs I’ll agree
I am sorry but you’re on the right track
they did use their handkerchiefs but
they ran forward to dip them in his
blood as a souvenir so I know now one of
the peasants are miserable oh you didn’t
break up with Juliet huh well I tried I
tried but you know her father’s on the
revolutionary tribunal and you know what
that’s like now you got a few people to
tell a few tales about you sploosh
oh it’s only punishment they’re allowed
to give out now death it’s all I mean
you’d think there’d be some kind of
middle ground you know fingers arms and
nose maybe even for those people who are
only a little bit counter-revolutionary
nope it’s all about the heads of these
dancing dancing stay tuned as the French
Revolution spins out of control
by the year 1793 French revolutionaries
wanted to get rid of any and all
remnants of the previous administration
by every means possible one
revolutionary leader maximilien
robespierre extended this out with the
old and in with the new to anything he
disliked about the old system this
included the French language the
calendar of the tax system the theatre
even the national costume oh yeah and he
wasn’t too keen about this whole idea of
I got it Jerry no I’m sure it’s nothing
an enema in a good bloodletting won’t
cure this idea is gonna make me his
riches to King but he had been executed
My partner and I only need one thing no
I forget it Kramer I’m broke your
we don’t want your money Jerry we just
want the help of a good friend but maybe
we need to tell that girlfriend of yours
about your love of puffy shirts okay you
know how Rob’s beer introduced a new
official religion last month the
revolutionary approved religion no
that’s right Ola system is out George
it’s all the Supreme Being now be
welfare wanted to unify all the people
and with this new state religion he
explained it all last weekend at the
festival of the Supreme Being this
Supreme Being is brand-new and already
as his own festival it’s a whole new
ballgame no priest no church hierarchy
eliminate the middleman that’s right no
dogmas just the new Supreme Being no
dauntless dauntless religion has no
dogmas the Coakley the Supreme Being
George he’s so supreme he doesn’t eat
doggies I’m comfortable with our old
Supreme Being
that’s with the juice in 1800 years ago
well I don’t like it I find the whole
thing very confusing
then we’re gonna turn that confusion in
the profits
well profits and religion do go together
he we’re gonna be rich rich spirits the
pottery is this what is this a tennis
racket painted gold it’s an icon Geri
symbol of the new revolution the tennis
court was where the new constitution was
started right new constitution new
government new religion I thought this
new religion was supposed to eliminate
superficial things like icons come on
Jerri every religion needs icons these
rackets will be the crucifixes of the
19th century that we hang our own every
neck and France
you’re a genius Cramer my cross
to believe you’re just as good
I forgot I forget it I don’t want to get
involved in this racket ragged you must
you’re going out with the daughter of
one of these guys on the committee for
public safety so if you can get her to
wear one of these they’ll start selling
like hotcakes
you want me to get Juliet to wear this
stupid thing thanks Gerry there’s an
extra there for her powerful dad think
we heard he muttered under his breath
Noble you’re crazy
no I’m not I asked him I’m I am one of
the committee’s death listen II suppose
no and then he adds it’s true no bull
get it no Bowl I mean he’s taunting me
Maxie I’ve seen the list you’re not on
them trust me why would you be you’re
not rich you don’t have to actually be
rich I mean even a suspicion of personal
values enough for these guys if you look
rich or sound rich that’s why I started
to walk around in dirty underwear
eliminate the word taffeta from my
vocabulary but you weren’t part of the
old regime remember how the white
powdered wigs and makeup give you a
reaction oh yeah a uncontrollably
drooling bloodshot eyes I look like the
lead character to Marquis de Sade ah you
look different
is their hairless puffy
I’m Georgia dental today we are coming
to you from mo mantra we are here hoping
to find some valuable artwork some fancy
furniture expensive clothing and
sculptures which our experts will
confiscate has been
counter-revolutionary and of course the
surprised owners should be carted off
down Rue st. on heir to the guillotine I
found it I yes it was when I helped
trade the house of a rich noble I took
it please it’s a contribution to the
revolution this is very nice very nice
yes there are long these around now yes
but this one is a quite unique actually
this is Louis the 60o the original move
ahead yes yes actually there’s only one
of these ever made by Louie the 15th and
his wife Wow as for price the shirt is
great I love the shirt pants what’s
wrong with my pants look is what’s in
nowadays Jerry long pants sans culottes
long pants like the peasants yes carry
the presents make up the majority of
France and the revolution but my shins
are my best feature
no they look kind of bony to me besides
short pants are counter-revolutionary
oh wow I’m no counter-revolutionary and
to prove it I got a little something for
a tennis racket to commemorate the
Tennis Court Oath I love it Jerry you do
oh here’s another one
when we return all’s well that ends well
when there’s no one left to execute
with powdered face and puppy shirt and
breach paths like many of the later
communist revolutions the French
Revolution became less and less about
the enemies we are overthrowing and more
about the enemies in our midst they
began to execute fellow revolutionaries
known as Girondins and Jacobins for
being too radical or too conservative it
was a messy business and a dangerous
precedent for women’s revolutionary
group do the price of bread so we didn’t
need to loot any grocery stores we got
so angry we became a mob and started
raining again
but the grocery prices were already
fixed right
so we rated Francois shoes look at these
Gerry five well we’ve already thanked
rope spirit for affordable footwear get
in here
they arrested robes Pierre new waiter
already fed up with the reign of terror
stuff and then he showed up wearing this
snow shoe around his neck Mushu
first he wants us to wear long pants and
tight shirts in the middle of summer and
now he wants us to all carry around
snowshoes give me they said that’s it
guys was that snowshoe like a tennis
racket yeah maybe she’s getting executed
because you weren’t there your brother
saved all those sailors and was promoted
to captain and your parents became
wealthy and purchased titles petty
nobles and Zuzu married into royalty
that’s why your family was rounded up
George and guillotined all because you
weren’t there to keep them in poverty
parts yes George
where’s Mary please Clarence tell me
where she is
you’re not gonna like it George mercy
she’s a revolutionary she’s one of the
marvelous ones less lame are because
she’s part of those women who dress in
Grecian tunics are you can see
everything I told you you wouldn’t like
it George he sons kulit and Sons
underwear where is she
she just posin down the library
permanently with a torch
book burning Mary’s part of a book
burning mob without you there tameria
there was no one to prevent him from
becoming liberated I’m I’m sorry George
is my brother
I couldn’t do it Jerry I met Maria Lucia
splattering distance trophy got me right
on my new vest boss this only gets Marie
more you couldn’t do if I couldn’t go
for that now I kept seeing her bloody
head leakin like a rocky to model and he
lost this without his head it just
slipped off pretty much tennis racket
but I gave that to Julianne
and you made her father is oh right you
know what this means
means the reign of terror is over I know
no more living in fear no more bogus
trials no more execution and I can wear
short pants and puffy shirts again
and I guess it’s over with Murray come
on George
we’ll still execute criminals and
traitors now Who am I kidding
every time I look at Murray I still see
rows P as head a lot of good came out of
the French Revolution under Robespierre
prices and wages were regulated to fight
poverty three years of education became
compulsory French slaves were freed but
folks gradually realized robe Speer was
just another tyrant and he was arrested
when a rescue effort failed he put a
pistol to his head and only shot his jaw
perhaps in an effort to ease his pain
rivals removed the source of his
discomfort his head today Robespierre is
remembered as a hero of the revolution
he’s a prominent figure in French
history but as he learned when the
guillotine chops history bites
but it don’t sing and what’s in it don’t
and long as I am part of the MA
rather be forever enshrouds I’m not a
man who likes to but I never cared for
the risk of looting alone
we are