At either end of this century-long period, France stood in European affairs as a dangerous, and defeated, titan. In between, it spent decades wrestling with the internal contradictions of “absolutism” as continuing struggle for global imperial dominance forced the state to spend beyond its means and social privilege prevented the expansion of those means. Collapse into revolution brought the aspiration to rationalize everything, but that unleashed confrontation with irreconcilable ideological opposition. Napoleonic dictatorship was the eventual outcome, but the gains of submission to a new kind of monarch were ultimately outweighed by the terrible costs of his ambition.
|Title of host publication
|The Routledge Handbook of French History
|Number of pages
|Published - 23 Dec 2023