ISBN-10:
0674025342
ISBN-13:
9780674025349
Pub. Date:
01/31/2008
Publisher:
Harvard
The Notables and the Nation: The Political Schooling of the French, 1787-1788

The Notables and the Nation: The Political Schooling of the French, 1787-1788

by Vivian R. GruderVivian R. Gruder

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Overview

The ending of absolute, centralized monarchy and the beginning of political combat between nobles and commoners make the years 1787 to 1788 the first stage of the French Revolution. In a detailed examination of this critical transition, Vivian Gruder examines how the French people became engaged in a movement of opposition that culminated in demands for the public's role in government.

Gruder traces the growing involvement of the French people in the public issues of the day, leading to increased politicization. The debates of the Assembly of Notables in early 1787 aroused public support against the monarchy and in late 1788 confirmed public opposition to the nobility. The media—including newspapers and newsletters, pamphlets, literary societies, songs, iconography, and festive activities—disseminated messages of opposition and gave voice to popular aspirations for change. At hundreds of community assemblies throughout France in late 1788, people showed remarkable astuteness about such political issues as voting and representation and demonstrated a capacity for mobilization.

The Notables and the Nation contributes to a renewed interest in the political origins of the French Revolution. It argues that a "bourgeois" revolution did take place as a movement for political aspirations, and invites us to witness the birth of popular representative government.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674025349
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 01/31/2008
Series: Harvard Historical Studies , #157
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 518
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Vivian R. Gruder is Professor of History Emerita, Queens College, City University of New York.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Map of France, 1786     xii
Introduction     1
The Assembly of Notables: February-May 1787, November-December 1788
Paths to Political Consciousness: The Notables in the First Assembly, February-May 1787     11
Privilege, Property, and Participation: A Mutation in Elite Political Culture     34
The Society of Orders at Its Demise: The Vision of the Elite at the End of the Ancien Regime     61
The Media and the Public: Networks of Information, Opinion, Instruction
Political News as Coded Messages: The Parisian and Provincial Press, 1787-1788     91
The Foreign French-Language Press: Gazettes     112
The Foreign French-Language Press: Journals of Opinion     125
Manuscript Newsletters-Nouvelles a la Main     136
Pamphlets and Other Writings: A Network of Political Education and Polemics     167
Readers and Reading Sites: The Public and the Network of the Printed and Written Media     194
The Verbal, the Visual, and the Festive     208
At the Grass Roots
"Popular" Pamphlets: Political Messages to the Public     253
Can We Hear the Voices of Peasants?     292
The Grass Roots: Local Judges and Community Assemblies Speak Out     324
Conclusion     365
Chronology     373
Contemporary Accounts of Fetes, 1787-1788     377
Notes     383
Index     471

What People are Saying About This

This excellent work retraces the pre-revolutionary political events of 1787-1788. Particularly interesting is Gruder's convincing evidence--in the form of newspapers, pamphlets, and nouvelles à la main--showing that the debates of the notables, and after them the Paris Parlementaires, were widely discussed by an involved and informed French reading public. Combining a lively awareness of recent scholarship on the formation of public opinion and the nature of the reading public with a well-written, accessible text, The Notables and the Nation offers much to be admired.

Patrice Higonnet

This excellent work retraces the pre-revolutionary political events of 1787-1788. Particularly interesting is Gruder's convincing evidence--in the form of newspapers, pamphlets, and nouvelles à la main--showing that the debates of the notables, and after them the Paris Parlementaires, were widely discussed by an involved and informed French reading public. Combining a lively awareness of recent scholarship on the formation of public opinion and the nature of the reading public with a well-written, accessible text, The Notables and the Nation offers much to be admired.
Patrice Higonnet, author of Paris: Capital of the World

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