Alexis de Tocqueville would have agreed with the foregoing argument, that the monarchy, in the form it took since the Middle Ages, did not prepare the upper classes to think practically about the problems facing the country. The central administration, run by bureaucratic intendants, took local governance over the peasants from the noble lords. The crown made royal subjects similar to one another in their subjection to the state and thereby instilled a culture equality. The nobles’ privileges stood out as a galling inequality, which the nation proved eager to destroy in 1789....
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