chapter  14
Pages 23

This final chapter will address some of the more general issues raised by the detailed analysis of political conduct in the time of Fleury. In the first of three sections, we shall return to questions of historical approaches to the study of politics. Administrative history, traditional narrative history and more recent theoretical perspectives all require further discussion. Second, it is apposite to formulate some wider views on the principal characteristics of the regime. The implications of the earlier chapters can now be developed in the context of wider reflections on the characteristics of the socio-political system, in order to arrive at a model of eighteenth-century political management and crisis more in keeping with the evidence. The third and final section sets out the argument that the collapse of the regime resulted more from a traditional crisis ‘of ancien régime type’, displaying traditional forms of political conduct, than from pressures created by those newer elements that were to come to the fore in 1789, and which led to the development of a new regime. I shall argue that we need to take seriously the proposition that the dissolution of the old regime stemmed from its long-term structural features, and that the collapse began at the centre-at court.