The Night the Old Regime Ended
August 4, 1789 and the French Revolution
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: Penn State University Press
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Of the major turning points of the French Revolution universally recognized by day and month alone, few have a more indeterminate legacy than the night of August 4. Although the question of their relative significance might occasionally be debated, July 14, August 10, 9 Thermidor, and others...
1 The National Assembly and the Night of August 4
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The change in this country, since you left it, is such as you can form no idea of. The frivolities of conversation have given way entirely to politicks—men, women, and children talk nothing else: and all you know talk. When deputies of the three estates of the kingdom entered the Salle des Menus Plaisirs at Versailles on May 4, 1789, most of them must have felt as...
2 The Impact on the Church
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As the First Estate of the kingdom during the Old Regime, the church was profoundly affected by the meeting of the night of August 4, 1789. Its position under the Old Regime had been not merely preeminent, but unique, and, as a result, the changes in the polity brought about by the National...
3 The Abolition of Nobility
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As great an impact as the renunciations of the meeting of the night of August 4 had on the church, their effect on the nobility was even greater. Although it was substantially modified and transformed, the church as an institution survived. The nobility did not. The National Assembly abolished nobility on June 19, 1790, an action that emanated from the implementa-...
4 The Ramifications in the Countryside
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Adrien Duport felt that it was the very principle of the existence of the feudal regime that should be struck dead. ...He therefore proposed the most laconic decree, yet one that was, at the same time, the most comprehensive in its consequences that has ever been enacted concerning human, More than anything else, the meeting of the night of August 4, 1789, is asso-...
5 The Reverberation in the Cities
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All is political at Strasbourg. The corner of every street is covered with Programmas, and the walls of every church decorated with Proclamations and Decrees. ...One scarcely walks twenty yards now, without meeting in places of public observation—a declaration of civil rights; and all the shops of music and prints, are hung with national ballads and...
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Their grievances will appear by the following resolutions, which on the 4th of August 1789, the National Assembly unanimously agreed to, as a proof of their great patriotism to the people, as their affectionate and disinterested representatives, devoid of every motive but the common good; and, to give a great example to nations and ages, in the sacrifice of every...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2003