These demands garnered public sympathy for the Notables in opposition to the Crown until the Second Assembly, when the Notables inadvertently shifted the issue from the relationship between the Crown and the nation to the relations of power among the nation's social groups by insisting on voting by order as opposed to voting by head in the upcoming Estates-General
Within three months of the opening of the Estates-General
, the French nobility had lost its separate status, its tax exemptions, its job monopolies and its seigneurial rights in the countryside and primogeniture had been outlawed.
A brief description of the Estates-General
of Paris in 1595 is followed by the ekphrasis of the rugs that decorated the main room where the meeting was taking place; next, the speeches ascribed to the representatives at the meeting.
Richardson does not identify the new style of kingship with the revival of Roman law, the creation of a standing royal army, the transfer of power from the nobility to the king or the decline of the Estates-General
and other consultative assemblies.
To try to sort out his finances, Louis agreed to call the Estates-General
into session in 1788.
Lawyers, experienced at appealing to the public in the name of personal freedom and rule by universal law, naturally saw the call for the Estates-General
as an opportunity to disband all corps and replace them with a democratic regime.
When in 1789 the king summoned a national assembly, the Estates-General
, Robespierre was elected as one of the representatives from Arras and began his career in national politics.
In an especially interesting essay on noble display, Michael Kwass considers how conspicuous expenditure was a central part of what was expected in noble dress when the Estates-General
met at Versailles in 1789.
These Old Regime tensions between the center and periphery deepened as the delegates of the Estates-General
, reconstituted as the National Assembly in 1789, took to the task of drafting a new constitution for France, especially following the provincial uprisings of the Great Fear and the Parisian revolt directed against the Bastille.
Often seen as a supreme example of the abuse of royal power, he was also extolled at times as the defender of order, or, by quite different sources, as a champion of the common people, the Parlement de Paris, or the Estates-General
against a rapacious nobility.
The first stage of the Revolution, welcomed by the bourgeoisie from those ports, saw their position confirmed by the Estates-General
and the Constituent Assembly.
Yet, the choice of deputies for the Estates-General
clarified the differences between urban and rural, coast and interior.