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Economic Development in Early Modern France
The Privilege of Liberty, 1650–1820

$26.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies in Economic History - Second Series

  • Author: Jeff Horn, Manhattan College, New York
  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316236413

$ 26.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • Privilege has long been understood as the constitutional basis of Ancien Régime France, legalizing the provision of a variety of rights, powers and exemptions to some, whilst denying them to others. In this fascinating new study however, Jeff Horn reveals that Bourbon officials utilized privilege as an instrument of economic development, freeing some sectors of the economy from pre-existing privileges and regulations, while protecting others. He explores both government policies and the innovations of entrepreneurs, workers, inventors and customers to uncover the lived experience of economic development from the Fronde to the Restoration. He shows how, influenced by Enlightenment thought, the regime increasingly resorted to concepts of liberty to defend privilege as a policy tool. The book offers important new insights into debates about the impact of privilege on early industrialization, comparative economic development and the outbreak of the French Revolution.

    • Explores how the institution of privilege and liberty shaped early modern economic development in France between 1650 and 1820
    • Uncovers the lived experience of economic development through an emphasis on both government policies and the innovations of entrepreneurs, workers, inventors and customers
    • An important contribution to broader debates about the nature of early industrialisation, comparative economic development and the origins of the French Revolution
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Horn's book is probably the fullest examination of eighteenth-century French trade and industry available in English … [it is] an impressive book.' Michael Sonenscher, The American Historical Review

    'In this challenging book, Jeff Horn argues for a broader and more positive understanding of privilege. He views it as an institutional arrangement that early modern states resorted to in the furtherance of their economic goals. Privilege formed part and parcel of the policy known to researchers as mercantilism, which, in France, was espoused by Bourbon rulers and their advisers from the time of Colbert (1664–83) and was only dispensed with completely under Calonne in the 1780s.' P. M. Jones, European History Quarterly

    'Economic Development in Early Modern France is an intrepid and thought-provoking intervention into scholarly debates about European economic history from the era of Louis XIV through the French Revolution. Today, most scholars agree that France's economy grew significantly, if unevenly, during the eighteenth century. Debates focus largely on questions of how economic development took place, in which sectors, and why. During this heyday of mercantilism, the royal government's intensive oversight of manufacturing and trade has often been represented as hindering innovation, discouraging entrepreneurialism, and undermining competitiveness. This study by Jeff Horn turns this conventional wisdom on its head by casting the state as the engine behind French economic development through its strategic application of privilege.' Lauren R. Clay, Enterprise and Society

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316236413
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    List of abbreviations
    1. Introduction: profits and economic development during the Old Régime
    2. Privileged enclaves and the guilds: liberty and regulation
    3. The privilege of liberty put to the test: industrial development in Normandy
    4. Companies, colonies, and contraband: commercial privileges under the Old Régime
    5. Privilege, liberty, and managing the market: trading with the Levant
    6. Outside the body politic, essential to the body economic: the privileges of Jews, Protestants and foreign residents
    7. Privilege, innovation, and the state: entrepreneurialism and the lessons of the Old Régime
    8. The reign of liberty? Privilege after 1789

  • Author

    Jeff Horn, Manhattan College, New York
    Jeff Horn is Professor of History at Manhattan College, New York. He is the author or editor of The Industrial Revolution: History, Documents, and Key Questions (2016), Reconceptualizing the Industrial Revolution (with Leonard N. Rosenband and Merritt Roe Smith, 2010), The Industrial Revolution: Milestones in Business History (2007), The Path Not Taken: French Industrialization in the Age of Revolution, 1750–1830 (2006), and Qui parle pour la nation? Les élections et les élus de la Champagne méridionale, 1765–1830 (2004). Horn was president of the Western Society for French History in 2013–14. His research has been supported by the US National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, New York University's Faculty Research Network, Manhattan College, and Stetson University, Florida.

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