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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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The Crisis of the Nobility at the Twilight of the Monarchy*

The Crisis of the Nobility at the Twilight of the Monarchy*

(p.275) 14 The Crisis of the Nobility at the Twilight of the Monarchy*
The Crisis of the Absolute Monarchy

Michel Figeac

British Academy

The history of the French nobility has long been symptomatic with that of the Revolution, and this chapter takes a fresh look at the state of the second estate in the years preceding 1789. Confronted by the problems arising from demographic decline, the pressure of the state, and a certain internal malaise as it sought to cope with internal divisions and to make sense of its own place in the world, the French nobility could be seen as a state of crisis. With some nobles even going so far as to attack the concept of nobility itself, these divisions would have important repercussions in 1789.

Keywords:   nobility, revolution, antinobilism, Parlements, American independence, Louis XVI

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