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I have always fancied that they were less successful in this enterprise than has been generally believed abroad, or even supposed at home.

I have always suspected that they unconsciously retained most of the sentiments, habits, and ideas which the old regime had taught them, and by whose aid they achieved the Revolution; and that, without intending it, they used its ruins as materials for the construction of their new society.

My design is to pursue the work beyond these limits.

I intend, if I have time and my strength does not fail me, to follow through the vicissitudes of their long revolution these Frenchmen with whom I have lived on such familiar terms under the old regime; to see them throwing off the shape they had borrowed from this old regime, and assuming new shapes to suit events, yet never changing their nature, or wholly disguising the old familiar features by changes of expression.

This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc.

Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. book I now publish is not a history of the Revolution.

I have devoted much time to the study of its remains at Paris and in the provinces.* I have found in them, as I anticipated, the actual life of the old regime, its ideas, its passions, its prejudices, its practices.

I have found men speaking freely their inmost thoughts in their own language.

I have thus obtained much information upon the old regime which was unknown even to the men who lived under it, for I had access to sources which were closed to them.

In the eighteenth century, as a perusal of this work will show, the government was already highly centralized, very powerful, prodigiously active.

It was constantly at work aiding, prohibiting, permitting this or that. It exercised paramount influence not only over the transaction of business, but over the prospects of families and the private life of individuals.

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