Thomas E. Kaiser and Dale K. Van Kley
The central thesis presiding over the selection of the foregoing essays is that the French Revolution arose from an unprecedented politicization of the Old Regime’s many problems. Apart from those adhering to the political process itself, these problems included many that, even though debated in the Old Regime’s widening “public sphere,” had yielded no more than relatively minor concessions of sovereign authority by the monarchy and commensurate adjustments in the social order. Prominent among the matters hotly debated in 1787–89 that had undergone intense politicization before were the realm’s religious and fiscal issues. But never before the run-up to 1789 had both the political structure and social order come in for simultaneous and adversarial politicization to a like degree, giving rise to the all-or-nothing character of the ideological standoff in the period following the Assembly of Notables. It was the call for the convocation of the Estates-General combined with the suddenly pressing issue of voting procedures in the fall of 1788 that made the final difference between the politics of the Old Regime and those of the new order. The two linchpins of the state—the absolute monarchy and the tripartite social order, were both up for grabs, as was (with the Edict of Toleration) the confessional identity of the state. The process of convocation also extended the
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Publication information: Book title: From Deficit to Deluge: The Origins of the French Revolution. Contributors: Thomas E. Kaiser - Editor, Dale K. Van Kley - Editor. Publisher: Stanford University Press. Place of publication: Stanford, CA. Publication year: 2011. Page number: 249.
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