How did the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity evolve out of the corporate structure of the Old Regime in France? This study investigates the evolution of a new ideal in polity in 1789 and the reaction of French society to it. Concentrating especially on the restructuring of the administration and judiciary, the author argues that the new political structure created by the Constitution of 1791 was the most equitable and participatory national political system in the world and that the achievements of the National Assembly deserve greater recognition than they have traditionally received.
Table of ContentsPreface; Part I: 1. The crisis of the Old Regime; 2. The formation of the new ideal of the polity; 3. The achievement of the new ideal of the polity; 4. The new ideal of the polity reaffirmed; Part II: 5. The reception of the new ideal of the polity; 6. The realization of the new ideal of the polity; 7. Rallying to the new ideal of the polity; Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliographical note and list of manuscript sources.