This is the first book in English to study the history of the Estates General of Burgundy during the classic period of absolute monarchy. Although not a representative institution in any modern sense, the Estates were constantly engaged in a process of bargaining with the French crown, and this book examines that relationship under the Ancien Regime. Julian Swann analyses the organization, membership and powers of the Estates and explores their administration, their struggles for power with rival institutions and their relationship with the crown and with the Burgundian people. The Estates proved remarkably resilient when confronted by the challenges posed by the Bourbon monarchy, and by the reign of Louis XVI they were seemingly more powerful than ever. However the desire to protect their privileges and to extend their authority had not been accompanied by an attempt to forge a meaningful relationship with the people they claimed to serve.

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