Joachim Descartes, his father, having purchased a commission as counsellor in the parlement of Rennes, introduced the family into that demi-noblesse of the robe which, between the bourgeoisie and the high nobility, maintained a lofty rank in French society.
We should have to tell of the great and rapid increase of the Church; of its powerful influence among the nobles and the bourgeoisie; of its direful persecutions; of its St Bartholomew massacre with 70,000 victims; of its regrettable though perhaps inevitable entanglements in politics and war; and finally of its attaining not only tolerance but also honourable recognition and protection when Henry IV.
The lesser people tolerated him because he extended the power of their city and made it beautiful with public buildings., The bourgeoisie, protected in their trade, found it convenient to support him.
In order to take possession of his new see, he had to brave the wrath of the duke of Burgundy, override the resistance of the clergy and bourgeoisie, and even withstand an armed attack on the part of several lords; but his protector, the duke of Orleans, had his investiture performed by Wenceslaus, king of the Romans.
There were some thirty-seven cours de bourgeoisie (several of the fiefs having more than one), each of which was under the presidency of a vicomte, while all were independent of the court of burgesses at Jerusalem.
Midway between the seignorial cours de bourgeoisie and the privileged jurisdictions of the Italian quarter, there were two kinds of courts of a commercial character - the cours de la fonde in towns where trade was busy, and the cours de la chaine in the sea-ports.
But the monarchy was stronger in Cyprus than in Jerusalem: the fiefs were distributed by the monarch, and were smaller in extent; while the feudatories had neither the collective powers of the haute cour of Jerusalem, nor the individual privileges (such as jurisdiction over the bourgeoisie), which had been enjoyed by the feudatories of the old kingdom.
Of the two parties who joined in it Retz could only depend on the bourgeoisie of Paris.
The Italian bourgeoisie of the towns, thanks to the force of attraction exercised by Italy, was all the more conspicuously irredentist, since the country population maintained an attitude of comparative opposition to this movement.
In spite of this, the calculation was defeated; for in Europe every true democracy at once becomes national, and hence the national problem infected the working-classes so soon as they won parliamentary power; the " International " split up into national groups, just as the bourgeoisie had done before it.
The bourgeoisie sought the support of the clergy, and irreligion became as unfashionable among them as it had been among the nobility after 1793.
The development of the last decade of the 19th century had clearly shown that the educated bourgeoisie, the tiers Nat, in whose hands the supreme power had since 1848 become vested throughout Europe, was either entirely lost to the Church or, at all events, indifferent to what were called Ultramontane tendencies.
The educated bourgeoisie, which controls the fields of politics, science, finance, administration, art and literature, does not trouble itself about that great spiritual universal monarchy which Rome, as heir of the Caesars, claimed for the Vatican, and to which the Curia of to-day still clings.
This bourgeoisie and the modern state that it upholds stand and fall with the motion of a constitutional state, whose magna carta is municipal and spiritual liberty, institutions with which the ideas of the Curia are in direct conflict.
Down to 1848, and even still later, " Democracy " was used to cover the whole mass of the people, pre-eminently represented by the broad strata of the bourgeoisie; in 1900 the Democratic party itself meant by this term the rule of the labouring class organized as a nation, which, by its numerical superiority, thrust aside all other classes, including the bourgeoisie, -and excluded them from participation in its rule.
The old municipal patriciate, which used to form the connecting link between the bourgeoisie and the nobility, had disappeared, and a feeling of common civic fellowship had taken its place.
Was the first king of France to take the bourgeoisie into partnership. He favoured the great merchants, granting them trade privileges and monopolies.
As opposed to these stand the villes franches, also called villes prevotales after the chief officer, villes de bourgeoisie or villes soumises.
Although the leaders on both sides were of the middle class, the Girondins represented the bourgeoisie, the Jacobins represented the populace.
"Prince, altesse, monsieur, monseigneur, citoyen" (he was called by all these names indifferently at the Elysee), he appeared as the candidate of the most incompatible interests, flattering the clergy by his compliments and formal visits, distributing cigars and sausages to the soldiers, promising the prosperous bourgeoisie "order in the street" and business, while he posed as the "father of the workers," and won the hearts of the peasants.