Reading on Lamoignon’s Speech

Lamoignon made it clear, from the beginning of his speech, that the monarch had the ultimate sovereignty over his subjects. In Lamoignon’s words

“sovereign power in his kingdom belongs to the king alone … the king is the sovereign ruler of the nation and is one with it”.

Based on Lamoignon’s speech, it is easy to deduce that the king was the supreme ruler, and the monarchy was based on Absolutism (Absolutism, as Totalitarianism, believes that the powers, be it judicial, political, or any form of power, belong to the person of the king), and the ruler alone has the ability to bestow his mercy, or afflict his vexation upon any of his subjects.

“Liberty leading the People” by Eugène Delacroix

Moreover, Lamoignon illustrated how the king’s powers also include ‘the right to convene the Estates General’ and select the representatives of the three orders. Put it simply, the jurisdictions of the king knew no limits. Lomoignon’s speech also shows that the Parlements’ role is to ‘administer justice and to maintain the edicts of the kingdom, and not to build power to rival royal authority’, and it can be deduced that the Parlements’ role is to follow the rules, and be obedient to the orders of the monarch, not to discuss and review his supreme decisions. One year after the deliverance of Lomoignon’s speech, the second Assembly of Notables sent the king a letter informing him about the deterioration of conditions which the country was suffering from. This deterioration also impacted the political scene of France; in the latter letter, the Assembly explained to Louis XVI how they were afraid of the escalation of the Third Estate’s domination of political jurisdictions. The Assembly sent the king to inform him that ‘the state is in danger’. To conclude, Lamoignon’s speech can be conceived of as an attempt to retrieve the blessings of the monarch, as his speech depicts the latter as the heroic God-like guardian of the monarchy.

Notes:

Peter McPhee, Dwyer Philip. The French Revolution and Napoleon. Hoboken, 2002.