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Published 1994 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Early Modern France: 1450-1700


[Introduction] It is always said," observed Richelieu in his Testament politique, "that money forms the sinews of the state." Most historians of early modern France would agree. "Absolutism was, in large part, the child of the fisc," notes one influential essay on early modern France, and a chorus of recent works repeats the same refrain. Fiscal crises, it seems, provoked nearly every change in the French political system from the Hundred Years War to the Revolution; and the tax system brings into sharper focus than any other facet of the French state both the limits of absolutism and the peculiar nature of liberty in France.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023