9780199559855

Aristocracy and Its Enemies in the Age of Revolution

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780199559855

  • ISBN10:

    0199559856

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-06-15
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

Since time immemorial Europe had been dominated by nobles and nobilities. In the eighteenth century their power seemed better entrenched than ever. But in 1790 the French revolutionaries made a determined attempt to abolish nobility entirely. 'Aristocracy' became the term for everything theywere against, and the nobility of France, so recently the most dazzling and sophisticated elite in the European world, found itself persecuted in ways that horrified counterparts in other countries. Aristocracy and its Enemies traces the roots of the attack on nobility at this time, looking at intellectual developments over the preceding centuries, in particular the impact of the American Revolution. It traces the steps by which French nobles were disempowered and persecuted, a period duringwhich large numbers fled the country and many perished or were imprisoned. In the end abolition of the aristocracy proved impossible, and nobles recovered much of their property. Napoleon set out to reconcile the remnants of the old nobility to the consequences of revolution, and created a titled elite of his own. After his fall the restored Bourbons offered renewedrecognition to all forms of nobility. But nineteenth century French nobles were a group transformed and traumatized by the revolutionary experience, and they never recovered their old hegemony and privileges. As William Doyle shows, if the revolutionaries failed in their attempt to abolish nobility,they nevertheless began the longer term process of aristocratic decline that has marked the last two centuries.

Author Biography


William Doyle was Professor of History at the University of Bristol from 1986 to 2008 and author of numerous publications on ancien regime Europe and the French Revolution, including The Oxford History of the French Revolution and The Origins of the French Revolution, both also published by Oxford University Press. He is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Table of Contents

Introduction
the world of eighteenth century nobility
Ideologies of Inequality
the limits of discontent
America and the Cincinnati
Straws in the Wind: the breakdown of the Old Order
the rise and fall of the Noble Order
the destruction of Noble Power
Ci-devants, 1790-2
Persecution, 1792-1799
Ambiguous Aftermaths
Bibliography
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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