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date: 08 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

One of the most underappreciated legacies of the National Assembly is its achievement of an enduring constitutional tradition in France. In 1766, in the famous Session of the Scourging, Louis XV had quashed implicit constitutional arguments of the parlements and asserted that sovereignty belonged to him alone and that he did not owe any explanation for his exercise of it. Only a quarter-century later, however, his successor lost sovereign power and became a constitutional monarch. This chapter examines the sudden rise of the demand for a more than customary constitution and traces the manner in which the National Assembly ultimately attained this goal—an accomplishment so momentous that every subsequent regime in France has believed it necessary to legitimize its authority with a constitution.

Keywords: Louis XVI, Constitution of 1791, sovereignty, Pact of Association, National Assembly, 4 August

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