Download The French Revolution (Historical Connections) by Gwynne Lewis PDF

By Gwynne Lewis

First released in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Extra resources for The French Revolution (Historical Connections)

Example text

But resistance to Maupeou’s brand of ‘ministerial despotism’ had been widespread, inside and outside the Court, the entire episode tending to increase the popularity of the parlements as ‘guardians of the people’s liberties’, despite the fact that they represented little more than their own privileged selves. The fundamental question was, could the French Crown negotiate the change from a society dominated by the aristocracy to one in which the bourgeoisie would, at least, share power? The auguries were never good.

5 The French Revolution was not just about Paris; ‘Girondism’ was, to a considerable extent, a product of a provincial reaction to events in the capital, a necessarily confused and contradictory one which itself helps to explain the downfall of the Girondists by the early summer of 1793. Gradually the Girondins, by force of circumstances as much as ideological commitment, became the apologists for a moderate, representative form of democracy, one better tuned to the wishes of the professional, commercial and property-owning elites of France, most of whom still hankered after the security of a monarchy, albeit a 40 The French Revolution constitutional and loyal monarchy.

7 However, in some parts of France, particularly in the west, the levée-en-masse prompted many young men to join the swelling ranks of the counter-revolutionary guerilla War, revolution and the rise of the nation-state, 1792–9 41 bands, which, by the summer of 1793, had been elevated to the status of an armée catholique royale. Confronted with weak or uneven resistance, this holy army had swept through towns like Cholet, Thouars and Fontenay and reached the gates of the major western town of Nantes.

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