‘The essential cause of the Revolution’, wrote Albert Soboul, ‘was the power of a bourgeoisie arrived at its maturity and confronted by a decadent aristocracy holding tenaciously to its privileges’ . Born in the first stirrings of a market economy in the middle ages, passing through a troubled adolescence with the overseas discoveries and colonial expansion of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the French bourgeoisie certainly grew in numbers and in wealth in the course of the eighteenth century. The interrelated phenomena of more favourable meteorological conditions, increasing agricultural production and population growth created the necessary conditions for sustained economic expansion.
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- Origins: the Old Regime
T. C. W. Blanning
- Macmillan Education UK
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