One of my favorite books in grammar school was A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens. It begins:
"IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way...."
France had been a powerful, wealthy country that became bankrupt after years of war. The ruling aristocracy was corrupt and had acquired land, political status and social privilege based on birthright. They spent money frivolously while the poor starved and the middleclass became more and more frustrated.
History repeats itself once again.
"Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them." --- George Santayana