Roland Mousnier


Roland Mousnier

Roland Émile Mousnier (September 7, 1907–February 8, 1993) was a French historian of the early modern period in France and of the comparative studies of different civilizations. Mousnier was born in Paris and received his education at the "Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes". Between 1932 and 1947, Mousnier worked as a school teacher in Rouen and Paris. During the Second World War, Mousnier was a member of the French Resistance. After 1945, Mousnier served as a professor at Strasbourg University (1947–1955) and at the Sorbonne (1955–1977). Keenly interested in social history, Mousnier went to the United States to learn sociology and anthropology. In 1934, Mousnier married Jeanne Lecacheur [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 844] .

Mousnier was one of the few post-war French historians who was a detractor of both the Annales School and Marxist views of history [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] . A right-wing Roman Catholic, Mousnier had a famous feud with the Soviet Marxist historian Boris Porchnev over whatever peasant revolts in 17th century France reflected class warfare or not [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] . Mousnier denied there was much of idea of class in France during that period, which thus meant that there could have been no class war in 17th century France as Porchnev maintained [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] In Mousnier's view, social classes did not emerge as an important factor in French society until the 18th century with the coming of a more market-oriented economy [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] . Mousnier's most notable claim to fame was his argument that early modern France was an "society of orders" [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] .In Mousnier's view, people in the period from the 15th century to the 18th century regarded honor, status and social prestige as far more important than wealth [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] . As such, society was split vertically via social ranks rather than being split horizontally via class [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] . Mousnier made it his life work to study how the relationships between different orders operated through networks of patronage [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] . Mousnier referred to these relationships as "maître-fidèle" relations between those in the socially superior and those in the socially inferior orders [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] . In general, Mousnier focused on elites in French society. In his view, differences between such orders as the nobility of the sword vs the nobility of the robe were more important than differences between the nobility and the peasantry [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] . One of Mousnier's best known books, "L'Assassinat d'Henri IV" (The "assassination of Henry IV") examined the climate of opinion and social context in 1610 France, in which a Catholic fanatic named François Ravaillac assassinated King Henry IV [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] . Mousnier's conclusion was that there were numerous "potential Ravaillacs" in France who were looking for a chance to kill the King [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 page 843] .

Mousnier also produced the 1969 book "Les Hiérachies sociales " (Social Hierarchies) that looked at how different civilizations such as Tibet, China, Germany, Russia and France were organized across time [Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999 pages 843-844] ."Les Hiérachies sociales " was very critical of communist societies and those based on "technocratic orders", and many have denounced the book as a right-wing rant against Communism.

Work

*"La Vénalité des offices sous Henri IV et Louis XIII", 1945.
*"Les Règlements du Conseil du Roi sous Louis XIII", 1949.
*"Les XVIe et XVIIe siècles : la grande mutation intellectuelle de l'humanité : l'avènement de la science moderne et l'expansion de l'Europe", 1953.
*"L'Assassinat d'Henri IV", 1964.
*"Lettres et mémoires adressées au chancelier Séguier (1633–1649)", 1964.
*"Fureurs paysannes: les paysans dans les révoltes du XVIIe siècle (France, Russie, Chine)", 1968.
*"Les Hiérarchies sociales de 1450 à nos jours", 1969.
*"French Institutions and Society, 1610-1661" from "The New Cambridge Modern History", Volume 4: "The Decline of Spain and the Thirty Year's War" edited by J.P. Cooper, 1970.
*"La Plume, la faucille et le marteau : institutions et société en France du Moyen âge à la Révolution", 1970.
*"Les Institutions de la France sous la monarchie absolue, 1598-1789", 2 volumes, 1974-1980.
*"Paris capitale au temps de Richelieu et de Mazarin", 1978.
*"Les Fidélités et les clientèles en France aux XVIe, XVIIe, et XVIIIe siècles" pages 35-46 from "Histoire sociale", Volume 15, 1982.
*"L'Homme rouge, ou la vie du cardinal de Richelieu", 1582-1642, 1992.

Notes

References

*"Hommage à Roland Mousnier: clientèles et fidélités en Europe à l'époque moderne", edited by Yves Durand, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1981.
*Finley-Croswhite, Annette "Mousnier, Roland" pages 843-844 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing", Volume 2, edited by Kelly Boyd, Fitzroy Publishers, London, Chicago, 1999.
*Hayden, J. Michael "Models, Mousnier, and "Qualité": The Social Structure of Early Modern France" pages 375-398 from "French History", Volume 10, 1996.


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