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Alexis de Tocqueville

The Old Regime and the French Revolution

One of the most important books ever written about the French Revolution, this treatise is the work of a celebrated political thinker and historian. Alexis de Tocqueville reveals the rebellion's origins and consequences by examining France's political and cultural environment during the late eighteenth century. His view of the revolution as part of a gradual and ongoing social process, rather than a sudden occurrence, offers timeless insights into the pursuit of individual and political freedom. Originally published in 1856, the survey begins with a consideration of the contradictory opinions surrounding the revolution's outbreak. It takes an in-depth look at the old regime, including its administration, tribunals, official manners and customs, internecine quarrels, and class divisions. Tocqueville explores a range of influences on the rebellion's development, including the political rise of the nation's literary figures, the growth of antireligious attitudes, and the widespread desire for reform and liberty. This modestly priced edition of his scholarly study is essential reading for anyone with an interest in political philosophy, Enlightenment history, and the French Revolution.
376 printed pages
Original publication
2012

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Quotes

    Artem Ablenkohas quoted2 years ago
    Despots acknowledge that liberty is an excellent thing; but they want it all for themselves, and maintain that the rest of the world is unworthy of it. Thus there is no difference of opinion in reference to liberty; we differ only in our appreciation of men; and thus it may be strictly said that one’s love for despotism is in exact proportion to one’s contempt for one’s country.
    Artem Ablenkohas quoted2 years ago
    When men are no longer bound together by caste, class, corporate or family ties, they are only too prone to give their whole thoughts to their private interest, and to wrap themselves up in a narrow individuality in which public virtue is stifled.

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