5 Pages


The state of the Old Regime and its legacy
WithSverre Håkon Bagge

The concept of rights was an important fact during the Old Regime. The aim of the French Revolution and other reactions against it were therefore largely to extend these rights to the whole population. The state had to appeal to the population, admittedly mostly its leading members, and it had to make itself useful by conflict solution and protecting trade and communication within the country. The French Revolution introduced a period of terror, violence and war, a civil war in France as well as a general European war that lasted almost continuously from 1792 until 1815. A number of constitutions, modelled on the American and French ones, came into being during this period but most of them were abolished by its end. Charles V’s limited success against one of his European competitors, France, as well as his problems in getting any real control of the petty principalities in Germany, enable people to dismiss this idea in his case.