At the beginning of the Revolution, the term "equality" meant an end to the legal differences that had characterized the Old Regime. For example, all individuals would be subject to the same regimen of taxation. Over the course of the decade, however, the Revolution radicalized, and equality expanded to encompass an end to many other sorts of differences, particularly economic ones. Although equality is here represented as a woman, the revolutionaries were capable of using males, particularly Hercules. But this powerful symbol frightened many, especially from the educated elite, and the female "Equality" seemed far less terrifying.
Jean Baptiste Gautier (engraver)
Louis-Simon Boizot (designer)
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/3/|Collection Michel Hennin. <em>Estampes relatives à l'Histoire de France</em>. Tome 136, Pièces 11948-12048, période : 1794
32.5 x 25 cm
Jean Baptiste Gautier (engraver) and Louis-Simon Boizot (designer), “Equality,” LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY: EXPLORING THE FRENCH REVOUTION, accessed December 1, 2021, https://revolution.chnm.org/d/3.