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The French Revolution sought to destroy entirely the institutions of the ancien rgime Whilst its success in doing so is debatable there is little doubt that this was the aim of the revolutionaries The reasons for this goal are numerous but certainly their ambition for destruction is linked in some way to the state of feudalism immediately before the Revolution for the nobility continued to enjoy the trappings of feudalism without experiencing the responsibilities The improving conditions in France for the bourgeoisie and the peasantry also played a part in the violently destructive nature of the Revolution because they became more aware of the injustices of the system The state also had a role to play in teaching the masses just how corrupt the regime was In the old regime la fodalit tait demeure la plus grande de toutes nos institutions civiles en cessant dtre une institution politique The prerogatives of the lord remained and the peasant still felt the burden of feudal dues thus feudalism remained a civil institution However the power and authority of the lord over the peasant was curbed considerably by the growth of administrative centralisation for a central authority seriously restricted the lords jurisdictional powers Furthermore the French peasant was now a landowner with a fierce passion for his potential to expand and for his independence He saw only oppression but as the lord abandoned his traditional protectoral role he received no benefits from it Feudal dues represented a former degradation and the legitimacy of the lords power was no longer believed in Therefore feudalism did not remain a political institution Quand la noblesse possde non seulement des privileges mais des pouvoirs quand elle gouverne et administer ses droits particuliers peuvent tre tout la fois plus grands et moins apercus Tocqueville argues that when feudalism was maintained in its true form when the nobility was also an aristocracy with responsibility and power as well as privilege its special
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