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Adelsgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts? Eine Skizze
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Adelsgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts? Eine Skizze

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Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
The article looks at noble elites and their interaction with the state in Western and Central... mehr
Adelsgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts? Eine Skizze
The article looks at noble elites and their interaction with the state in Western and Central Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It examines the way in which monarchs and their agents reshaped and redefined the social identity of the nobility. As public service became a decisive criterion for social status, nobilities ceased to be elites “constituted by their own social self-consciousness and by the comportments that it authorized” (H. Ellis on Boulainvilliers) and became dependent on the military and civilian offices and privileges of precedence granted by the ruler. Nevertheless the fact that social identity was increasingly defined in legal terms did not really unify the nobility as an estate but rather created new tensions and made the nobility as a social group more heterogeneous than ever. This partly explains why continental nobles saw the English peerage and gentry as models which they tried to emulate at the end of the 18th century.