A Social History of the French Revolution by Norman Hampson

By Norman Hampson

The innovative circulation 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 day. The Revolution was once the fabricated from social tensions that constructed all through France within the moment half the eighteenth century. Norman Hampson analyses the character of those social conflicts inside their political framework.
With sufficient heritage details to meet the final reader with out earlier wisdom of the topic, Norman Ha mpson's ebook devotes specific consciousness to provincial France. the result's either an image of the very best problem in French society, and an exam of social attitudes and aspirations whose effect has been common and enduring.

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The village shared rights which it might have to defend in the courts—in which case the church formed a central meeting-place for the village assembly and the curé might provide local leadership. In a system both traditional and partly communal there was little scope for individualism, and the peasants, while recognizing the private ownership of land, were inclined to regard the harvest as the property of the community. When such theories were publicized in 1792–4 the economic liberals took fright and some subsequent historians have interpreted as ‘socialism’ what was, in fact, the traditional collectivist psychology of the village.

Pluralism was rife and rich prebends and accumulated benefices assured a comfortable living to noble clergymen. Privilege was not entirely limited to the aristocracy, for some of the canons of the more humble chapters were placed in office by their powerful bourgeois families, although the more conspicuous prizes were beyond their reach. Tithes had often been alienated in favour of abbeys or cathedral chapters, the curé being left with an allowance (portion congrue), officially increased in 1786 to the still inadequate sum of 700 livres.

28 FRANCE ON THE EVE OF THE REVOLUTION a quinquennial grant to the Crown and could therefore exert financial pressure on the Government by threatening to withhold or reduce its contribution to the exchequer. In spite of its great wealth it was heavily burdened with debt since it had contracted the habit of raising its grant to the treasury by loans, instead of drawing on its own revenues. The Church was not merely autonomous; it also exercised much of the authority that has subsequently been claimed by civil governments.

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