The world owes a great deal to the French Revolution. Countless ideas and ideas that form the basis of our society were born during the rebellious fervour of the revolution. It influenced changes in medicine, food, and many other areas of our lives.
5 Things We Owe to the French Revolution
1. The Metric System
Prior to the revolution, over 800 measurement units were used in France. In 1793, the meter was invented to standardize and unify the same. This new system was based on the distance from the North Pole to the equator along the Paris Meridian. It was useful in replacing variable measurement units such as pied, pounce, bushel and acre.
Still, the new system was not welcomed and did not become the law in land till 1799. Nonetheless, it was a rapid success.
The French population was estimated at 26 million including nobles. After the revolution, it remained 15,000. This resulted in numerous excellent cooks and serving staff out of work, desperate for a job. Many of them opened a sort of restaurant. Diners could sit and eat their choice of dish on their choice of table. The dish would be served on fine china with flourish and grace.
3. The Public Zoo
The first zoo came up in the 16th century when the menagerie of Jardin des Plantes housed the animals of exiled or guillotined aristocrats.
In 1793, a decree was passed by the government outlawing the presence of wild animals in the streets of the capital. These animals, along with the ones seized by the government from aristocratic families found their home in Jardin des Plantes.
The following year witnessed even more animals joining the others and a true zoo was opened with 58 animals by an official decree passed by the Convention.
Today, more than 1200 animals reside there.
4. Revolutionary and Modern Medical Techniques
Under the Old Regime, many different laws, rights and social standings governed the two branches of medicine- physicians and surgeons. Physicians had authority over surgeons.
By 1792, the ideas of liberty and equality had spread to medicine. Wars following the revolution gave the surgeons a path to influence the medicine world as never before.
The same year, Dominique Larrey, a surgeon, proposed the idea of triage, which means dividing into 3. The injured on the battlefield were divided into 3 groups. The wounded beyond hope(group 1), those who may or may not survive with medical aid(group 2), those who stand a good chance of recovery(group 3). The last group was naturally given priority.
5. Implementation of a Red Cross-Like Medical Service
Larrey and Dr. Pierre-Francois Percy practiced the Red Cross service almost a century before its establishment. Larrey invented the horse-pulled ambulance to transfer up to four wounded quickly and relatively comfortably to the nearest hospital. In 1799, Percy revolutionized this innovation. He invented a mobile surgical unit that enabled him to take the operating table onto the battlefield.
This mobile medicine did not take nationality into consideration while treating the wounded. It took a few decades for the idea to be universal. Nevertheless, the pilot program could be launched successfully owing to belief in liberty, equality, and fraternity.
These are a few blessings which were invented during the 18th century amidst the rebellion.