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Q: Who first wrote 'Eat the Rich'? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Who first wrote 'Eat the Rich'?
Category: Relationships and Society > Politics
Asked by: sethw-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 15 Jun 2005 09:22 PDT
Expires: 15 Jul 2005 09:22 PDT
Question ID: 533550
I'm looking for as close to the original source as possible of the
phrase or concept 'Eat the Rich'; the first pamphlet, book, newspaper
article, or first reported demonstration where it was chanted,
whatever the earliest source of this was. I'm looking for the Thomas
Paine type that came up with this, so I can read whatever else he or
she wrote.
Subject: Re: Who first wrote 'Eat the Rich'?
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 15 Jun 2005 09:43 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Thomas Paine was an awfully good guess.

A contemporary of Paine's, Jean-Jacques Rousseau -- whose
philosophical writings provided the underpinnings for much of ideals
of the French Revolution -- was the originator of the phrase, "eat the

"When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich..."

The phrase has been cited by others as originating at a speech given
by Rousseau.  You can see an example of this in this book published in
the 1800's, "The history of the French revolution", by M. A. Thiers:;cc=moa;xc=1;xg=1;sid=60a3bc8c6a824fc15ff48b8d920e5ca2;q1=eat%20the%20rich;rgn=full%20text;idno=ACP8713.0001.001;view=image;seq=00000811

You'll find Rousseau's eat-the-rich excerpt at the end of the next to
last paragraph.

You can read a bit more about Rousseau himself here:

I trust this information fully answers your question.  However, please
don't rate this answer until you have everything you need.  If you
would like any additional information, just post a Request for
Clarification to let me know how I can assist you further, and I'm at
your service.

All the best,


search strategy -- searched the Making of America site for [ "eat the rich" ]
sethw-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Fast, exact, and even more than I asked for, Thanks!

Subject: Don't Forget Poor Old Jonathon Swift
From: badger75-ga on 18 Jun 2005 16:42 PDT
In 1729 Irish satirist Jonathon Swift had already written Gulliver's
Travels mocking human frailty and the British in particular. He then
took aim at the British indifference to the Irish poor with "A Modest
Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a
Burden". Swift satirically suggested that the English rulers of
Ireland should simply eat Irish children. The irony of his work was
lost on Queen Anne and the British aristocracy who were not amused.
Possibly Tom Paine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were borrowing from

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