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Tocqueville's Other Book: The Old Regime Before the French Revolution

I finally got to the end of Deirdre McCloskey's overmannered Bourgeois Equality, and then lightning struck. I just happened to stumble over a copy of Alexis de Tocqueville's The Old Regime and the French Revolution in the remainder stacks at HalfPriceBooks. For $1.00. Plus tax.

OMG.

Tocqueville argues that the French Revolution changed nothing in France.

Really. The most famous event in European history and it changed nothing? Surely you are joking, Mr. T.

Here is his argument in two lines:

1. Before the Revolution, France was a centralized top-down administrative monarchy. 
2. After the Revolution, France was a centralized top-down administrative monarchy/republic, whatever.
Yes, but what about them aristos, the nasty chaps that got sliced up by Madame Guillotine unless they were saved by Baroness Orczy's Scarlet Pumpernickel?

Good point. But the nobility under the ancien rĂ©gime was no longer a feudal aristocracy. Its power had been sapping away for centuries. In the years before the Revolution France was governed by the Royal Council,

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Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

Christopher Chantrill is a writer and conservative, and author of Road to the Middle Class. He runs usgovernmentspending.com, the go-to resource for government finance data, is a frequent contributor to the American Thinker. He lives in Seattle, Washington. Click for more.


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