A new edition of James Collins's acclaimed synthesis that challenged longstanding views of the origins of modern states and absolute monarchy through an analysis of early modern Europe's most important continental state. Incorporating recent scholarship on the French state and his own research, James Collins has revised the text throughout. He examines recent debates on 'absolutism'; presents a fresh interpretation of the Fronde and of French society in the eighteenth century; includes additional material on French colonies and overseas trade; and ties recent theoretical work into a new chapter on Louis XIV. He argues that the monarchical state came into being around 1630, matured between 1690 and 1730 and, in a new final chapter, shows that the period May 1787 to June 1789 was an interregnum, with the end of the Ancien Régime coming not in 1789 but with the dissolution of the Assembly of Notables on 25 May 1787.
'The reader who savours the full pleasures of this book will be able to feel that he or she, at the end of it all, has a real grasp of both what happened in the old Bourbon state and how it functioned, changed and came apart. One could scarcely ask more of an introductory work; and one can only regret that more supposedly 'introductory' textbooks do not come up to Professor Collins's exacting standards.' French History
James B. Collins is Professor of History at Georgetown University. His previous publications include From Tribes to Nation: The Making of France, c. 500–1799 (2002), The Ancien Régime and the French Revolution (2002) and Classes, Estates and Order in Early Modern Brittany (1994).
Preface to the second edition; Chronology of events; Genealogy; Glossary; Historical background: the growth of the French state to 1627; 1. The crucible, 1620s–1630s; 2. The twenty years' crisis, 1635–1654; 3. Louis XIV: laying the foundation, 1654–1683; 4. The debacle; 5. The mature monarchical state; 6. A new France takes shape; 7. Reform, renewal, collapse; 8. The interregnum, 1787–1789.