The revolutionary heritage of egalitarianism prevented any re- establishment of hereditary social status. Noble titles still commanded social prestige, but they no longer carried any legal privileges or tax exemptions. The revolutionaries of 1789 had proclaimed that individual rights could be protected only by a written constitution and a representative government. The revolutionary principle of national sovereignty has thus come to be a fundamental feature of the country’s political culture. Modern scientific scholarship on the French Revolution began with the appointment of Alphonse Aulard to the first university chair of revolutionary history in the early 1880s. By the early 1960s, academic historians throughout the world seemed in agreement on the basic issues involved in understanding the French Revolution. The understanding that historians have of the French Revolution is thus more nuanced and harder to sum up than it was a generation ago.