assemblies or to the Estates-General
. (110) The Estates-General
Whereas the general reader is more likely to be familiar with the Second Assembly, summoned by the Crown to deliberate on matters of voting and representation in the Estates-General
, which was set to open in May 1789, Gruder instead places greater emphasis on the First Assembly in part one of the book.
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.
Sometimes the unkind thought arose that Andress was basing his narrative on movies--Jefferson in Paris, The Madness of King George and Mutiny on the Bounty come to mind--but he has shrewdly seen that a long and comprehensive rehearsal of the arcana of the Estates-General
and the Third Estate would probably bore the readership he is aiming for.
Michael Fitzsimmons is one of a handful of anglophone historians who have reoriented our approach to the political history of the Estates-General
and National Assembly during the last two decades.
L'Estoile describes vividly the meeting of the Estates-General
at Blois at which Henri III was coerced by a deputation led by the cardinal de Guise, who seems to have been even more militant than his brother, the duke.
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.
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.