What Do You Mean by Old Regime?

By Mandeep Kumar|Updated : January 4th, 2023

The Old Regime refers to France's social, political, and institutional systems before 1789. Under the old regime, cultural activities and all written material, such as newspapers, books, and plays, could only be published or performed if they were approved by the king's censors. Read ahead to learn more facts about the old regime in France.

Meaning of Old Regime

The administrative and social structures of France's Old Regime evolved over years of state formation, legislative acts, and internal conflicts. By the end of 1789, journalists and legislators in France were using the term ancien régime to refer to the institutions of French life prior to the French Revolution.

  • According to Simon Schama, "almost as soon as" the term was coined, 'old regime' was unavoidably freighted with associations of both traditionalism and senescence.
  • It conjured up a society so riddled with anachronisms that only a massive shock of violence could liberate the live organism within.
  • The monarch did not have the authority to levy taxes solely on the basis of his will in the previous regime.
  • A meeting of the Estates General was called, and his proposals for new taxes were approved.
  • The Estate General was a political body to which the three estates sent representatives.
  • The monarch had the authority to convene this body.

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FAQs on Meaning of Old Regime

  • According to Simon Schama, the term ancien régime or 'old regime' was coined to describe the social system, political system, and institutions of France before 1789 or the French revolution.

  • The three pillars of the Old Regime are clergy, nobility, and the third estate. The other traditional representative bodies were Estate General and Provincial Estates. However, after the historical french revolution, France's social and political scenario changed completely.

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