Full Text

Ancien Regime

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


French term (with ancien here meaning “former” rather than “old”) employed to denote the governmental, social, and political structures of France and, by extension, the rest of Europe, before 1789. The expression became common in the debates surrounding the establishment of a new constitution in the summer of 1790 (see also french revolution of 1789). Particularly after the fall of the French monarchy, it was used derogatively to refer to the existence of privilege, the sale of office, a despotic monarchy, an unequal corporate society with rankings based on “estates” and “orders,” and a backward “feudal” economy, all of which had been swept away by the revolutionaries in their attempt to inaugurate an entirely new era. (See also aristocracy ; august decrees ; enlightenment ; louis xvi ; and Map 1 ) ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top