When I teach the French Revolution, I teach about the ancien regime. Of course I do.
I spend some time on the criticisms which contemporaries made of it.
I also spend some time explaining that actually the ancien regime has its defenders. I refer to François Furet, one of French history’s greatest heavyweights. And I go off on the following tangent.
Furet says that actually absolutism wasn’t all that absolute, and that ancien regime France did have a proto-constitution, including certain elements like the Catholic faith of the monarch and the inalienability of the royal demesne.
Continue reading at: