Assembly of Notables of 1787


The Assembly of Notables of 1787 was convened by the Government of Louis XVI in France. It included representatives from various social classes, professions and religious sectors, as well as members of the royals. The assembly sought to remodel the taxation system, reduce government spending and abolish internal customs duties between provinces. Debates on controversial issues such as suffrage rights and the representation of minority groups took place. Ultimately, most proposals failed; however, certain economic reforms created by the assembly remain in French law. The Assembly of Notables of 1787 was a significant National Assembly.

Role in French History

The Assembly of Notables of 1787 was a pivotal event in French history, called by King Louis XVI to advise on taxes and the financial crisis. Members discussed taxation reform, administrative processes and land rights, sparking revolutionary ideas and debate. Despite the opinions of the assembly, the call for an Estates-General was favoured, leading to many significant changes before the French Revolution. The rise of Jacques Necker, the Controller General of Finance and the Marquis de Brienne, the Minister of Finance, were both the result of this assembly.

The Estates General

  • The Estates General was an assembly of representatives from the three Estates of the French monarchy in the late 18th century, convened in 1787 to address the financial crisis in France.

  • It was made up of delegates from the three orders of French society: the clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate), and the commoners (Third Estate).

  • The Assembly of Notables, a select group of high-ranking representatives of the three Estates, was chosen by Louis XVI to assist in finding solutions to the financial crisis.

  • All of the Assembly of Notables' proposals were rejected by the king, and the Estates General was eventually convened in 1789 to address the issue.

  • The Estates General ended up being a key event in the lead-up to the French Revolution.

A Financial Crisis

Causes of Crisis

The 1787 financial crisis was the result of a combination of domestic and international elements. Domestically, the conclusion of the Revolutionary War left the United States with a significant amount of debt and the newly-formed government unable to pay its creditors. Internationally, the government was unable to repay its war debts to foreign nations, leading to the potential for economic sanctions and military action.

Response to Crisis

In response to address the crisis facing the nation, the Continental Congress convened a group of notables in 1787. This assembly proposed several measures to address the nation’s financial troubles, such as establishing a national bank, instituting a tax system, and issuing government notes to pay off debts.

The outcome of the Crisis

The assembly of notables suggested a set of measures that ultimately resulted in the adoption of the 1788 Constitution. This document established a strong central government and fiscal policies that allowed the United States to pay down its debts and emerge from the crisis. The new government was able to address the financial woes and return economic stability to the nation.

Opposition to the Plan

The Assembly of Notables was an important group of French aristocrats and high church officials convened by King Louis XVI of France in 1787 to discuss the financial crisis facing the country. They recommended a series of reforms, including the reduction of pensions to the clergy and nobility, the introduction of a progressive tax system, and the creation of a uniform system of weights and measures. However, their proposals were rejected by the King, who instead opted to pursue a more radical solution in the form of the Estates-General, which ultimately led to the French Revolution. The Assembly of Notables was ultimately unsuccessful in its attempts to alleviate the country's financial woes.

The Assembly Convenes

The King of France convened an assembly known as the Assembly of Notables in the 18th century, which included prominent aristocrats and government officials. The Assembly's mandate was to provide the King with advice on affairs of state, taxes, and other topics. The Estates General, a more inclusive legislature, succeeded the Assembly of Notables as a predecessor.

The Rise of Brienne

The Rise of Brienne refers to the career of Jean-Baptiste de Brienne de Conflans, a French politician who served as Minister of Finance from 1787 to 1788. Brienne was appointed to the office following the Assembly of Notables, and he was crucial to the French financial system's reform. His influence and authority significantly rose as a result of his ability to reduce the deficit and strengthen the economy.


The Assembly of Notables of 1787 was an important event in French history. It resulted in the reform of taxation, the abolition of serfdom and the strengthening of local government. Louis XVI himself approved the agreed-upon reforms, marking a significant step forward in European political history. This assembly paved the way for the improvements leading up to the French Revolution and continues to shape policy today. The rise of Brienne was a significant factor in this positive change.


Q1. How did the assembly impact American history?

Ans. The assembly impacted American history by creating a sense of unity and collective action among the American people and inspiring them to work together to create a better nation.

Q2. How does the history of the assembly compare with other legislatures in early America?

Ans. The assembly was similar to other legislatures in early America in that it was a body of elected representatives who made laws and managed the affairs of the state.

Q3. What lessons can we learn from the assembly about how to run a legislature?

Ans. We can learn that a successful legislature requires effective communication, collaboration, and compromise among its members.

Updated on: 15-Mar-2023


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