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.
WORKSHistoire 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.