We know from the books that the twelve districts are enslaved by the Capitol largely to provide goods for Capitol citizens. The Hunger Games themselves are as a result of the "Dark Days", the rebellion of the districts:

The Treaty of Treason gave us the new laws to guarantee peace and, as our yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated, it gave us the Hunger Games. The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twentyfour tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins. Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch—this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion.

Does this indicate that the districts were oppressed before Dark Days and the Treaty of Treason? Was this what the dark days rebels were rebelling against or did the conditions for the districts get much worse after the first rebellion?

3 Answers 3


According to "The World of the Hunger Games", a companion book to the movie, there was some kind of oppression going on. The exact details aren't illuminated. Furthermore, there are some hints that there was something. People don't just go to war over nothing, after all. I think it is reasonable to assume there was quite a bit of oppression going on before the revolution, but it seems to have increased a notch after the revolution, including but not limited to, the Hunger Games.


Most likely, yes. Otherwise, why would they have risen up in revolt? People don't revolt over nothing! If there was no oppression, why would there be war? It is safe to presume that the pre-Dark Days government of Panem was tyrannical, abusive, and oppressive, and most certainly NOT an elected representative government. Otherwise, the citizenry could simply vote them out! Why else would they have taken up arms against the regime?

  • An elected representative government isn't a 100% solution to everything. In fact, elections rely on money. And corruption can grow. Also, there is a possibility that before the revolution, Panem could have had a good government, without the Hunger Games. Other times, revolutions can be over religion (it is unknown whether or not this is the case in Panem though). The only thing we truly know, as @PearsonArtPhoto pointed out above, is that it was oppressed but abusive and tyrannical? That is the Panem we know in the Hunger Games, not before. Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 1:17

Likely, yes

Rebel without a cause

If you think about it, a Rebellion happens due to oppression. The Capitol had definitely been oppressing and exploiting the Districts for many years before the Dark Days and essentially caused the rebellion.

President Ravenstill

In The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes we learn of President Ravenstill, who:

The seal dissolved to show President Ravinstill, his hair streaked with silver, dressed in his prewar military uniform as a reminder that he’d been controlling the districts long before the Dark Days of the rebellion. He recited a brief passage from the Treaty of Treason, which laid out the Hunger Games as a war reparation, young district lives taken for the young Capitol lives that had been lost. The price of the rebels’ treachery.

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