By Norman Hampson
The innovative flow which started in 1787 disrupted each element of French society, emerging to a pitch of such severe violence that the results are nonetheless felt in France this present day. The Revolution used to be the fabricated from social tensions that built all through France within the moment 1/2 the eighteenth century. Norman Hampson analyses the character of those social conflicts inside their political framework.
With adequate historical past details to fulfill the overall reader with out past wisdom of the topic, Norman Ha mpson's e-book devotes specific recognition to provincial France. the result's either an image of the ultimate trouble in French society, and an exam of social attitudes and aspirations whose effect has been common and enduring.
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Additional resources for A Social History of the French Revolution
Ties of family and economic interest bonded it into every course of the social fabric and assured its influence at every level. Too much has been made of the degeneracy of the Church under the ancien régime. There were, of course, dissolute aristocrats like Talleyrand, bishop of Autun, whose life suggested that disbelief was enthroned in the highest ranks of the clergy, and Louis XVI is alleged to have remarked of his chief minister, Brienne, archbishop of Toulouse, that he would have preferred his prelates to believe in God.
Gret, ‘La dernière Assemblée du Clergé de France’, Revue Historique, CCXIX (1958), p. 1. 2 De Pradt, Les Quatre Concordats (Paris, 1818), I. 449–50; quoted in J. Égret, art. cit. 40 THE VICTORY OF THE ARISTOCRACY themselves ready to resort to violence, and their position in the army and the administration meant that the Crown could not rely on the loyalty of its servants. ’ 1 As the agitation of the privileged orders in Brittany and Provence provoked a retort from the middle class there appeared the first signs of the conflict between the nobility and the Third Estate for the spoils of expiring absolutism that was to dominate the political scene during the first months of 1789.
This was especially true in the countryside, where illiterate peasants were unlikely to challenge the curé’s theology. Popular religion contained a large element of superstition—a witch was put to death near Angers as late as 1780 some of which the Church was able to harness in support of Christianity. The clergy were themselves divided on important questions of doctrine and ecclesiastical organization. By the reign of Louis XVI the fire had gone out of the Jansenist controversy. 1 They therefore began to attack what they called the ‘aristocratic ascendancy of the nobility within the clergy’, to demand more influence within their quinquennial Assemblies and eventually to challenge the theological basis of the hierarchy with the radical argument that bishops and parish priests were essentially equal as pastors, while chapters and monastic orders were of human, not divine institution.
A Social History of the French Revolution by Norman Hampson