“What a sight is this of the royal family and a few hypocritical and grasping courtiers raising the banner of opposition to the fixed sentiments of the whole nation…”, wrote the Marquis d’Argenson in judgment of the reign of King Louis XV in mid-eighteenth century France. Argenson’s memoirs are more or less a bitter registry of complaints about not just the king and his family, but an entire political system that seemed to be suffering from…