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Overture to RevolutionThe 1787 Assembly of Notables and the Crisis of France's Old Regime$
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John Hardman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199585779

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585779.001.0001

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Conclusion and Epilogue 1787–89

Conclusion and Epilogue 1787–89

Continuity and Rupture

(p.285) Conclusion and Epilogue 1787–89
Overture to Revolution

John Hardman

Oxford University Press

The Conclusion examines the links between the Assembly of Notables and the Revolution of 1789. There are obvious continuities between Calonne's programme and the legislation of the National Assembly: equal social and regional taxation, customs union, etc., though the provincial assemblies had no future. But whereas the Notables had sought to place restraints on the king's exercise of the executive power, the National Assembly curtailed his legislative freedom. The Notables were reconvened in November 1788 when their naked defence of their prerogatives cast doubt on their self-proclaimed disinterestedness in 1787. The epilogue presents an extreme case of the punishment often meted out to fallen ministers under the old régime. In a personal monarchy there was no convention whereby the king could accept the loss of a favourite as a political fact of life: Brienne had to poison the king's mind against Calonne so that he actually experienced revulsion.

Keywords:   National Assembly, continuity, 1788, Calonne, Louis XVI, equality

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