The economic history of revolutionary France is still a neglected area in studies of the Revolution of 1789. Whilst some attention has been given to the condition of the peasants, the urban working classes and the financial crisis of the Ancient Regime, there has been a general tendency to regard economic factors as external and somewhat peripheral to the truly political nature of the Revolution. This book is designed to redress the balance, providing a clear, accessible, and thought-provoking guide to the economic background to the French Revolution. Professor Aftalion analyses the policies followed by successive revolutionary assemblies, examining in detail taxation, the confiscation of church property, the assignats, and the siege economy of the Terror. He shows how decisions taken in 1789 by the Constituent Assembly inevitably led to a deepening financial and economic crisis, and to increasingly radical and disastrous policies. The study is important also for its exposure of many of the economic fallacies propounded both at the time by many Frenchmen and later by many modern historians.
Table of Contents
List of figures
1. The fiscal crisis
2. The French economy at the end of the 'Ancien
4. The 'assignats'
5. The finances of the Constituent Assembly
6. The rising cost of living, anarchy and war
7. The seizure of power by the Mountain
8. Economic dictatorship
9. 'Dirigisme' in retreat
10. The French Revolution: economic