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"Y être, c’est (encore) en être" : déclassement social et aspirations nobiliaires parmi les familles maintenues en noblesse en France sous la Restauration

Abstract : During the French Restoration, 111 families which were on the edge of the “Second State” at the end of the Ancien Regime succeeded in having their nobility officially confirmed, whereas 34 lineages were anoblished after asking for letters of confirmation of nobility. However, some twenty of these applicants were already engaged in a process of social decline which sometimes took roots in the last decades of the 18th century. This article focuses on the mechanism, forms and stakes of the socioeconomic downgrading of these peripheral members of the nobiliary world, who did not hesitate to spotlight their fragile situation as a consequence of their loyalty to the Bourbon dynasty and to use it as an argument to ask the royal administration for financial assistance, positions and honours as compensations for what they had endured during and since the French Revolution. It also stresses on the persistence of a strong desire for aristocracy among the French post-revolutionary elites: even if being noble was then a symbolic distinction above all, the applicants for such letter patents and their descendants still hoped that they could get more or less longterm profits if they legally reintegrated the nobility – whereas it obviously depended mostly on their ability to seize the financial, matrimonial, professional, public and mundane opportunities which were (unequally) presented to them in the 19th-century society.
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https://hal.univ-reims.fr/hal-02964709
Contributor : Bertrand Goujon <>
Submitted on : Monday, October 12, 2020 - 4:18:13 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 4:25:25 AM

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Bertrand Goujon. "Y être, c’est (encore) en être" : déclassement social et aspirations nobiliaires parmi les familles maintenues en noblesse en France sous la Restauration. Revue historique, Presses Universitaires de France, 2017, 4 (n°684), p. 819-842. ⟨hal-02964709⟩

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