The French Nobility and Absolute Monarchy in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century

  • Pierre Deyon


In opposition to traditional accounts which complacently describe Richelieu’s struggle with the Grands, and the endeavours of the nobility to resist the development of French absolutism, Boris Porshnev sought to establish, more than ten years ago, the idea of a common front uniting the monarchy, the seigneurs and the urban bourgeoisie against the lower classes in the towns and countryside. This thesis, which was without doubt too bold in its scope, has had the great merit of attracting renewed attention to the significance and frequency of the popular uprisings before the Fronde.


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  1. 6.
    E. Esmonin, La taille en Normandie (Paris, 1913) p. 549; also, Beaurepaire, Cahiers des Etats de Normandie, III p. 106.Google Scholar
  2. 22.
    Richelieu, Testament Politique, ed. L. André (1947) pp. 218–23.Google Scholar
  3. 50.
    See in this context the numerous letters published by P. Clément, Lettres Instructions et Mémoires de Colbert (Paris, 1861) 1.Google Scholar
  4. 58.
    The royal authority will show great severity toward the popular uprisings of 1675 and allow attempts at seigneurial reorganisation to take their course in several provinces, although they were seriously detrimental to the interests of the peasants. See especially, in this respect, G. Livet, L’Intendance d’Alsace sous Louis XIV, III Chapter IV; also, P. de Saint-Jacob, Les paysans de la Bourgogne du Nord au dernier siècle de l’Ancien Régime (Paris, 1960) I Chapters II, III. and V, ‘Les modes de possession du sol. la seigneurie, les charges paysannes’.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1977

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  • Pierre Deyon

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