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592                               POLITICAL SCIENCE.
tion bequeathed to the future, while.the administration of the
provinces and towns was exceedingly wretched.* When the
government of Louis XVI., a virtuous and harmless ruler,
fell into financial difficulties, the cry was raised for the States
General, which had not been called together since 1615. On
their assembling the third estate, in number double of the two
others, induced the clergy first, then the nobles to join it, and
this body, as the National Assembly, brought on the first act
of the revolution.
The rights of Frenchmen were now established, a constitu-
tion was formed, the laws were made over again and the old
institutions of society were destroyed by inexperienced and
fanatical legislators. A natural opposition from neighbor-
ing states excited the military spirit, and the country was
financially ruined ; but the military leaders, getting the better
of fanatical reformers, brought on a reaction, and in the nat-
ural course of things from extreme democracy to the tyrannis
an empire was set up, under which order and security returned
to France. The experience of the frightful excesses of revo-
lutionary frenzy and the gratification of national pride from
the wonderful career of Napoleon kept down the revolution-
ary spirit, and at his fall the Bourbon dynasty was restored
without the free will of the nation. The revolution which put
the Orleans Bourbons on the throne was like that which put
William and Mary in the place of James II,, and it was not
until the expulsion of this dynasty in 1848, by a conspiracy
of revolutionists rather than by a national movement, that the
course of revolution from within again commenced. This
democratic overturn was soon replaced by a democratic em-
pire, chosen for the sake of national security and not for its
own sake. The false and flagitious empire fell by Its misfor-
tunes in war in 1870, since which time—after the overthrow
of the rule of the mob and the commune—a republican gov-
ernment with no definitive form and no certain future has
* Mr. Taine's new work on the ancient regime shows, by a vast
amount of details, the deplorable state of France in the last century.
Nothing could more completely justify a revolution.