The Abolition of Feudalism: Peasants, Lords, and Legislators in the French Revolution

The Abolition of Feudalism: Peasants, Lords, and Legislators in the French Revolution

The Abolition of Feudalism: Peasants, Lords, and Legislators in the French Revolution

The Abolition of Feudalism: Peasants, Lords, and Legislators in the French Revolution

Synopsis

One of the most important results of the French Revolution was the destruction of the old feudal order, which for centuries had kept the common people of the countryside subject to the lords. In this book John Markoff addresses the ways in which insurrectionary peasants and revolutionary legislators joined in bringing 'the time of the lords' to an end and how, in that ending, seigneurial rights came to be central to the very sense of the Revolution.

Excerpt

In the last chapter, we considered the distinct agendas of parishes, Third Estate, and nobility. In this chapter, we turn to what we may call their programs. We shall explore what they want to do about seigneurial rights. In terms of our coding of grievances (see Chapter 2, pp. 23-25), we are shifting from a focus on the subjects of grievances to their actions. As in Chapter 2, we may sharpen our analysis of rural grievances over seigneurial rights through comparison with demands about other obligations of the peasantry, namely, state taxation and ecclesiastical exactions. We shall do this in three specific ways. First, we may deepen our search for what is distinctive about seigneurial rights through establishing contrasts with other burdens. Second, we may test (and refine) our hypotheses about the ways in which villagers distinguish one seigneurial rights from another by seeing if they distinguish one tax from one another (or one ecclesiastical claim from another) along the same lines. And, third, we may see grievances about the . . .

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