France under Louis XV - Vol. 1

France under Louis XV - Vol. 1

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France under Louis XV - Vol. 1

France under Louis XV - Vol. 1

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Excerpt

At the close of the regency of the Duke of Orleans the old régime in France was still in full vigor: the government of the country, the general social and intellectual condition of the people, were such as they long had been. Fifty-one years later, Louis XV. ended his inglorious reign; the old régime was then on the verge of dissolution, the beliefs and hopes of the French people had suffered more change than in the century preceding, the economical condition of the country had been greatly modified; a new literature had arisen, new ideas were found in books, were discussed in the salons, and were debated on the streets; the demand was widespread for new social conditions, for laws which should improve the lot of the poor, and should allow to all a greater freedom of thought and action. In this altered society the government still preserved the same outward form, but it needed no prophet to discern that institutions, which seemed as firmly rooted as those of the Medes and Persians when Louis XIV. was proclaimed the Great, were nearing their end when Louis XV. lay on his death-bed. The French Rev-

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