chapter  3
The ancien régime
Pages 19

Ideas and institutions were just as much a part of the ‘given’ facts of European society between 1880 and 1914 as were geography, or political and economic structure, but they are much harder to measure. What has to be described is the sort of thing which Europeans took for granted as they went about their daily lives. But things taken for granted attract less attention than the striking and untypical. The early feminists make more of an impression on us than the overwhelming mass of their contemporary sisters who took it for granted that their place in society would be one of legal and social inequality to men. The mentality of the ancien régime from which twentiethcentury Europeans emerged was one of deeply entrenched attitudes which were often hardly made explicit – because they did not need to be. It was republicans who argued their case, not those who took monarchy for granted.