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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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Calonne's Reform Programme and its Adoption by the King

Calonne's Reform Programme and its Adoption by the King

(p.20) 1 Calonne's Reform Programme and its Adoption by the King
Overture to Revolution

John Hardman

Oxford University Press

This chapter briefly examines the career of Calonne before analysing his reform programme and the complex and protracted business of ‘selling’ it to the king. The breakdown of the classical political system of the old regime based on crown and Parlement which led to the convocation of the Assembly of Notables is examined and the distinction between the latter and the Estates-General explained. The ‘French’ reforming tradition (higher but fairer taxes) to which Calonne belonged is distinguished from the ‘Anglo-Genevan’ one (loans and economies, publication of budgets) exemplified by his arch-rival, Jacques Necker. The narrow basis of the ministerial discussion leading to the convocation of the Notables is emphasized and Calonne's main ministerial opponents, Miromesnil and Castries are introduced. Finally, the mixed public response, suspended between hope and fear, to the convocation of the Assembly is examined.

Keywords:   Calonne, king, Necker, Miromesnil, Castries

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