1830 / 1832
- The above caricature was taken from a
1792 British cartoon, published immediately after the September
Massacres in Paris.
picture is found in Gywnne
Life in Revolutionary France on page 39.
What was the aim of those bristling men who in . . . revolutionary
chaos, ragged, howling, wild, with tomahawk raised, and pike
aloft, rushed over old over-turned Paris? They desired the end
of oppressions, the end of tyrannies, the end of the sword, labour
for man, instruction for children, social gentleness for woman,
liberty, equality, fraternity, bread for all, ideas for all."
Saint Denis, Book V
- As the passage from Hugo illustrates,
the working class was perceived as savage. However, as Hugo points
out, they were not savage, but seekers of "liberty, equality, fraternity, bread for
all, ideas for all."
This caricature displays how outsiders, such as the English or
the bourgeoisie viewed the lower class when the workers participated
in revolutionary politics and the sans-culottes movement.
- The Effects of The
September Massacre on Perceptions of Sans-culottes
- The savage depiction of the sans-culotte
in this image, correlates to the popular opinions of the late
eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The working class is
depicted as violent, uncivilized predators. The caricature followed
the September Massacre, a massacre of a group of priests being
transferred from prison. During the massacre, three bishops and
over two hundred priests were murdered. The British obviously
viewed these cruel murders as an act of savagery from the revolutionary
French lower class. Since the sans-culotte were associated with
the working-man, the caricature portrays the working class and
the militant sans-culottes as one in the same.
- French Society's Opinions
of the Urban Poor:
- The cartoon not only relates to
the September Massacre, but also to the opinions french society
had of the urban poor. The classe populaire were often
thought of as uncivilized and disgusting, just as the sans-culotte
appear in the British cartoon. The stereotype of the french lower
class, which made up a large percentage of the sans-culottes
movement, was due to their way of life. Most urban poor lived
in the outskirts of the city, or the faubourges. They lived among sewage and had scraps to eat.
Much of French high society pictured these wretches just as the
cartoon does as dirty, poor, violent savages.
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