The French Revolution continues to fascinate historians. The political culture which it is said to have spawned has become a particularly salient feature in its recent historiography. Many have argued that the discrepancy between the hopes that the Revolution initially generated and the destruction, war, and terror that followed was the inevitable result of this culture. Within this framework, the defeat of the constitutional proposals of the group of moderate politicians known as the Monarchiens has been portrayed as the Revolution's missed opportunity to avoid the violence of the Terror. Their most important proposals were for a bicameral legislature and strong royal authority. This work questions assumptions about the ideological coherence of the five most influential proponents of this model and the inevitability of their defeat. To do this, the pre-revolutionary political careers of these men will be analyzed up to the defeat of their proposals in the summer of 1789. It will be argued that their political proposals were contingent on the political context, often changing drastically to fit the demands of circumstance.
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