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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The diplomatic origins of the French Revolution remain controversial. Just as foreign and military factors imposed heavy burdens on the French budget before 1789, so did constraints on the French budget severely limit the options of French foreign/military policy makers. The contradictions already present in the policies of the foreign minister Vergennes were realized in 1787, and later under his successor Montmorin. The price of Montmorin’s peace was not only a further decline in France’s prestige abroad, but also a sense of imminent vulnerability to foreign invasion at a time when it was believed that the French government was being subverted from within by unfriendly foreign powers, and that the most immediate problem of the Old Regime—state bankruptcy—was a product of that subversion. Only by examining the interface between foreign and domestic developments can the diplomatic origins of the French Revolution can be fully appreciated.

Keywords: Comte de Montmorin, Comte de Vergennes, Dutch Crisis of 1787, Franco-Austrian Alliance, Marie-Antoinette, Pacte de famille, Quadruple Alliance, Russo-Turkish war of 1787, Triple Alliance

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