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The End of an ÉliteThe French Bishops and the Coming of the Revolution 1786-1790$
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Nigel Aston

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202844

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202844.001.0001

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(p.x) (p.1) Introduction
The End of an Élite

Nigel Aston

Oxford University Press

This book examines how and where the bishops exerted their political influence between 1786 and 1790, and episcopal involvement to the National Assembly. In so doing, it concentrates particularly on the prélats politiques, a powerful minority of archbishops and bishops, reformers from conviction, and politicians before they were pastors. The rapid pace of change in the 1780s gave increased opportunities for episcopal involvement in politics, as the national financial crisis induced the creation of a constitutional monarchy, and the final collapse in 1789 of the prevailing ancien régime. This widening of the political nation and the concomitant abolition of the historic Estates quickly reduced episcopal prominence both in matters of state and in the running of the Gallican Church. The book discusses the prelates in the French Church and Louis XVI's governments, Loménie de Brienne's reforms of 1787–8, archbishop minister J.-M. Champion de Cicé of Bordeaux, and the first Assembly of Notables.

Keywords:   bishops, National Assembly, prélats politiques, ancien régime, Gallican Church, French Church, Louis XVI, Loménie de Brienne, J.-M. Champion de Cicé, Assembly of Notables

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