Le Monde de Balzac preoccupation with ‘les notables’ is consistent, however, with the basic outlook which underlies his historical method. He is concerned to show how the socioeconomic changes which occurred under the Revolution and Empire were expressed in the shifting structure of political authority from 1815 to 1848. In his description of the electoral system of the ‘monarchie censitaire’, Balzac’s most original contribution undoubtedly consists in his treatment of the acquisition of eligibility. In Les Petits Bourgeois Balzac shows how experience of municipal elections could be made to serve as a valuable rehearsal for election as deputy. The press, Balzac demonstrates, has the power to make and to destroy political careers and reputations. Balzac views such a system of privilege as encouraging the spread of corruption. Balzac was fully alive to the connection between business interests and the world of politics, and in particular to the important role played by deputies in linking the two.