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The Old Regime and the Revolution

The controversial bestselling guide to the origins of the French Revolution

By Alexis de Tocqueville

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About the Author

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) was a French political thinker and historian, best remembered for his books Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution.

Contents Listing

Preface

Book First
Chapter I. Contradictory opinions formed upon the Revolution when it broke out
Chapter II. That the fundamental and final object of the Revolution was not, as some have supposed, to destroy religious and to weaken political authority
Chapter III. That the French Revolution, though political, pursued the same course as a religious revolution, and why
Chapter IV. How the same institutions had been established over nearly all Europe, and were everywhere falling into pieces
Chapter V. What did the French Revolution really achieve?

Book Second
Chapter I. Why the feudal rights were more odious to the people in France than anywhere else
Chapter II. That we owe â??administrative centralizationâ? not to the Revolution or the Empire, as some say, but to the Old Regime
Chapter III. That what is now called â??the guardianship of the stateâ? (tutelle administrative) was an institution of the Old Regime
Chapter IV. That administrative tribunals (la justice administrative) and official irresponsibility (garantis des fonctionnaires) were institutions of the Old Regime
Chapter V. How centralization crept in among the old authorities, and supplanted without destroying them
Chapter VI. Of official manners and customs under the old regime
Chapter VII. How the capital of France had acquired more preponderance over the provinces, and usurped more control over the nation, than any other capital in Europe
Chapter VIII. That Frenchmen had grown more like each other than any other people
Chapter IX. That these men, who were so alike, were more divided than they had ever been into petty groups, each independent of and indifferent to the others
Chapter X. How the destruction of political liberty and class divisions were the causes of all the diseases of which the Old Regime died
Chapter XI. Of the kind of liberty enjoyed under the Old Regime, and of its influence upon the Revolution
Chapter XII. How the condition of the French peasantry was worse in some respects in the eighteenth century than it had been in the thirteenth, notwithstanding the progress of civilization
Chapter XIII. How, toward the middle of the eighteenth century, literary men became the leading politicians of the country, and of the effects thereof
Chapter XIV. How irreligion became a general ruling passion among Frenchmen in the eighteenth century, and of the influence it exercised over the character of the Revolution
Chapter XV. How the French sought reforms before liberties
Chapter XVI. That the reign of Louis XVI was the most prosperous era of the old monarchy, and how that prosperity really hastened the Revolution
Chapter XVII. How attempts to relieve the people provoked rebellion
Chapter XVIII. Of certain practices by means of which the government completed the revolutionary education of the people
Chapter XIX. How great administrative changes had preceded the political revolution, and the consequences thereof
Chapter XX. How the Revolution sprang spontaneously out of the preceding facts

Appendix
Of the pays d'etats, and the Languedoc in particular

Notes
Feudal rights existing at the time of the Revolution, according to the feudal lawyers of the day
Preface

Book First
Chapter I. Contradictory opinions formed upon the Revolution when it broke out
Chapter II. That the fundamental and final object of the Revolution was not, as some have supposed, to destroy religious and to weaken political authority
Chapter III. That the French Revolution, though political, pursued the same course as a religious revolution, and why
Chapter IV. How the same ins ...

Jacket Text

A profound and elegantly written investigation into the true causes of the French Revolution, this masterpiece by Alexis de Tocqueville remains as lively, counter-intuitive and memorable as on its first publication.

Originally a bestseller simultaneously in France and Britain, today it sits at the top of book charts in China, and is beloved by historians and journalists as one of the most penetrating and creative analyses of an event that changed the face of the world.

Professional Reviews

"A sensation, rising to the top of bestseller lists and lighting up discussions on China's social networking website, Weibo.' - France24


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