What do social historians add to our understanding of the revolutions of 1917?
Social historians who intend to focus on understanding the root causes and motivations for the revolutions of 1917, look towards the actions and behaviour of normal, everyday people involved within the Revolution rather than the influence of great men and women, or the policies of a state. Social historians observe and comment on the fact that leading up to 1917, there was a widening and very apparent gap between the richest members of Russia society and the very poorest members. Rather than being typecast as the ignorant and stupid masses, many Russians from all different walks of life whether they were soldiers, peasants, factory workers, or homemakers developed their own consciousness and opinions as to what that the revolution meant for Russia, how they should function in a new society, how that society should be structured, and what it should look like. In contrast to what Bolshevik propaganda would have some of us believe, many Russians did not blindly follow or believe in demagogues like Trotsky or Lenin who were promising bread, circuses, and miracles for the suffering population. Instead, many developed their own opinions on what kind of regime should take power and represent Russia and what type of laws should govern the land. Due to the fact that the vast swarm of Russian society was what would be considered lower-class, the message of the Bolsheviks for a government and party to represent the lower-class was simply much more appealing than other parties at the time such as the liberals or the conservative factions in the government. Peace by the means of an end to the Russian involvement in the First World War, bread for the starving masses in the cities, and land to those who were disappointed by the lack of agricultural reform since the emancipation of 1861 were all promises that were much more appealing than the message of the provincial government. The...
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