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The French Revolution and the Attack on the Privilege
It is significant that it was Sieyes who at the beginning of the revolution gave the concept of the nation its modern meaning. In his essay, What Is the Third Estate? he raised and answered three questions of paramount importance: "What is the third estate? Everything. What has it been up to now in the political order of things?Nothing. What will it become? Something." But in order that the third estate might become something entirely new, suitable political conditions had first to be created in France. The bourgeoisie could become dominant only if the socalled "Estates General" was replaced by a national assembly based on a constitution. Hence the political unification of the nation was the first demand of the beginning revolution looking toward the dissolution of the Estates. The third estate felt itself ready, and Laclos declared in the Deliberations, to which the Duke of Orleans had only lent his name: "The Third Estate; that is the nation!"
The third estate was the most influential pamphlet of the 1789. It did much to set the French Revolution on a radically democratic course.
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