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A History of French Passions: Volume 1: Ambition, Love, and Politics$
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Theodore Zeldin

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198221777

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198221777.001.0001

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The Pretensions of the Bourgeoisie

The Pretensions of the Bourgeoisie

(p.10) (p.11) 1. The Pretensions of the Bourgeoisie
A History of French Passions: Volume 1: Ambition, Love, and Politics

Theodore Zeldin

Oxford University Press

This chapter reveals that in France, more than anywhere else, since the aristocracy and monarchy were defeated in the Great Revolution, the bourgeois appeared manifestly supreme for a century and a half after the revolution, to the extent that the two words or aristocracy and bourgeois were since combined into a single idea: la France bourgeoise. This chapter further discusses two ways of understanding the phrase la France bourgeoise: the first being the domination of bourgeois attitudes of mind and the second involving political analysis and economic determinism. The chapter also argues that the reason why the people put up with the accumulation of so much power in such few hands for so long is to be found in the deep fragmentation of the bourgeoisie. It was the ability of these different small worlds to coexist, preserving a great deal of mutual independence, that made the abuses of each one acceptable to the many who were only marginally affected by them.

Keywords:   aristocracy, monarchy, Great Revolution, bourgeois, la France bourgeoise, political analysis, economic determinism

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