Boulainvilliers, Henri

Boulainvilliers, Henri

 

Born Oct. 21, 1658, in Saint-Saire; died Jan. 23, 1722, in Paris. Count, French historian.

Boulainvilliers attempted to offer a historical justification of the privileges of the nobility in his works on the history of medieval France. According to his theory, nobles are descendants of the Franks, a Germanic tribe who conquered Gaul and by right of conquest rule over descendants of the defeated Gallo-Romans, who form the third estate. Boulainvilliers opposed absolutism from the point of view of the feudal aristocracy, and advocated a limitation of royal power in favor of the nobility; but basically his conception was directed against the bourgeoisie. In 1734 the bourgeois ideologist abbot J. B. Dubos criticized Boulainvilliers’ Germanistic theory.

WORKS

Histoire de l’ancien gouvernement de la France, vols. 1-3. The Hague-Amsterdam, 1717.
État de la France …, vols. 1-2. London, 1727.
Essais sur la noblesse de France. … Amsterdam, 1732.

REFERENCES

Simon, R. Henri de Boulainvilliers (Historien, politique, philosophe, astrologue), 1658-1722. Paris, [1941].
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