Pre-Revolutionary French politics consisted of three equally represented political voices:
The First Estate (Clergy)
The Second Estate (Nobility)
The Third Estate (everybody else)
In the run-up, thirty Parisians (probably white wine drinkers) argued that the Third Estate should get two votes because of the numbers of people it represents. Later demands included one-man, one-vote.
France in the 1780s was in deep debt and things reached a crisis point as the prices of grain jumped. Some segments of society were brought to starvation. Things went from there and Robespierre did his thing and then lost his head.
The difference between 1785 and 2008 is that the ability of the modern Third Estate to organize has been removed through the mechanism of internal ethnocentric friction. The Democratic primary is starting to show the biological fissures.
France settled back into Monarchy after the smoke cleared, even in the presence of a homogeneous Third Estate. We will likely end up further to the right. I believe that this is by design. The best hope for a more equitable future is the 2nd Amendment.