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The Crisis of the Absolute MonarchyFrance from Old Regime to Revolution$
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Julian Swann and Joël Félix

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265383

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265383.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 14 October 2019

A Model of Conduct from the Age of Chivalry? Honour, International Decline and the End of the Bourbon Monarchy

A Model of Conduct from the Age of Chivalry? Honour, International Decline and the End of the Bourbon Monarchy

Chapter:
(p.181) 10 A Model of Conduct from the Age of Chivalry? Honour, International Decline and the End of the Bourbon Monarchy
Source:
The Crisis of the Absolute Monarchy
Author(s):

Hamish Scott

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265383.003.0010

The decline of France as a European power is an established eighteenth-century development and one that was laid at the Bourbon monarchy's door by its critics during the ancien régime. Within a worldview shaped by the aristocratic honour code, Louis XV and Louis XVI were seen as having dishonoured themselves and the country they ruled, by their political failures and especially the Austrian alliance concluded in 1756. These arguments were then adopted in the early stages of the French Revolution. Restoring that same honour, now increasingly attached to the nation and not the Bourbon dynasty, was a central objective of the members of both the National and Legislative Assemblies, and was integral to the Brissotin campaign for war against Austria, declared in spring 1792. This chapter reinforces the importance of continuities in political culture after 1789 and demonstrates the ways in which foreign policy was more central to the early Revolution than sometimes appreciated, contributing to the ‘nationalisation of honour’ (Hampson), as the nation and not the monarchy, became its focus.

Keywords:   ancien regime, Bourbon monarchy, Jacques-Pierre Brissot, French Revolution, Jacobins, legislative assembly, Louis XV, Louis XVI, National Assembly, political culture

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