Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

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In 1713, the Pope had issued a bull entitled Unigenitus, condemning as heretical 101 beliefs held by some French Catholic priests who were known as "Jansenists." To Jansenists, this bull, or "constitution," was the religious equivalent of…

In June 1749, the priest of the St.–Etienne–du–Mont parish in Paris, acting on instructions from the Archbishop of Paris, refused the Eucharist and last rites to one of his parishioners who could not produce a "certificate of confession"…

As the controversy over the refusal of sacraments came to dominate political and religious discussions in Paris, Versailles, and across the kingdom, the magistrates argued all the more strenuously that the King should compel the Archbishop to drop…

Louis–Adrien Le Paige was the leading theoretician of Parlementary claims against the crown in the 1750s. His Historical Letters on the Essential Functions of the Parlement (1753) traced the history of the parlements from what he claimed to be…

In these remonstrances, the magistrates of the Parlement of Paris,recently restored to their position by Louis XVI after having been "exiled" from office by Louis XV in 1771, voice their opposition to reforms proposed by the finance minister,…

Particularly vocal in its resistance to the financial edicts of 1763 was the Parlement of Rennes, which had jurisdiction in the province of Brittany. A series of "remonstrances," issued by this court between 1763 and 1765, reveal the conflict between…

In 1774, the newly ascendant Louis XVI appointed as his minister of finance a pro–Enlightenment economist and administrator named Anne–Robert–Jacques Turgot, a baron from a noble family with many generations of service to the kings of France.…

François–Marie Arouet, who wrote under the name Voltaire, was both the best–known and most tireless advocate of the Enlightenment and also a close associate of several European kings and many French aristocrats. In his widely read history, The…

Jacob–Nicolas Moreau wrote his "lessons of morality, politics and law" for the instruction of the Dauphin. Throughout the 200–page book, Moreau defends the power of the King to rule France without opposition. In this passage, he emphasized that…

In 1774, on the accession of Louis XVI, Anne–Robert–Jacques Turgot was named Controller–General of Finances. In this position, he also became responsible for administrative policies relating to taxation, the economy, and local government. With…
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