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A Social History of the French Revolution by Norman Hampson

By Norman Hampson

The innovative circulate which started in 1787 disrupted each point 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 made of social tensions that built all through France within the moment half the eighteenth century. Norman Hampson analyses the character of those social conflicts inside of their political framework.
With sufficient heritage info to fulfill the final reader with out past wisdom of the topic, Norman Ha mpson's booklet devotes specific cognizance to provincial France. the result's either an image of the ideally suited obstacle in French society, and an exam of social attitudes and aspirations whose effect has been common and enduring.

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His adversaries were probably not clearly aware of which motive was uppermost in their own minds and many of those who united against him in 1787 were to find themselves on different sides two years later. Calonne may not have been fully aware that the implication of his policy was the substitution of a bourgeois for an aristocratic conception of society, but he was under no illusions as to the strength of the resistance he could expect from the privileged orders and especially from the Paris parlement.

The nobility appealed to the countryside for support against the townsmen, but to no great effect. The session ended on a note of anti-climax with the Third Estate reluctantly agreeing to prolong the existing taxes on the understanding that the constitution of the Estates would shortly be reformed. By this time the imminence of the Estates General was directing all eyes to Versailles. The Breton revolt, which had begun with the joint action of the parlement and the nobility in defence of privilege had therefore produced a vigorous reaction from some of the urban middle class.

The high food prices that meant prosperity for the wealthy farmer were disastrous to the bulk of the peasantry who bought far more food than they sold. It is easy to convey too sombre a picture of the peasant’s life which, hard as it was, compared favourably with that of the serfs of central Europe. French agriculture had risen a little above subsistence level and during the eighteenth century the population rose by about six million. This increase accentuated the competition for land and perhaps helped to keep wages low, but at least the extra mouths were fed.

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