Recent scholarship on the parlements has minimized their differences with royal administrations. According to the current view, any disputes involving the parlements were less than fundamental, involving no vital interest, an artificial or ritual ballet in which both sides accepted unwritten rules and kept inside invisible boundaries. Thus the basic issue of royal sovereignty could never come into play, by mutual consent. This view is only partially correct. It is true that the parlements did not openly challenge sovereignty or the nature of the monarchy. They looked for no Bastille to storm. But it is not true that they posed no fundamental obstacle to royal government, merely that their behaviour was insidious, marked by stealth.
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