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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 344
Jason Scott Ferrell

January 22, 2013 Lecture 6 Modern State Formation France • No real national assembly in France • Peasants are disperse but do have certain political privileges regarding their ability to sit on Royal courts • Downing  How does the argument about structural considerations relate to France? o State arises as a result of the need to fight a war – results in an absolutist government • Initial similarity between France and Prussia  Similar geostrategic situation o Navy to protect commerce  Naval conscription (100,000 sailors) • Monarchy puts in place an administrative apparatus to impose and raise taxes o Within a 6 year period, tax revenues double o Monarchy makes use of military forces to raise there revenues • Local courts are responsible for deciding if someone had conducted treason – the monarchy’s apparatus begins to take on these responsibilities o Instill some sort of loyalty upon the nobility • Reason of state – need to raise an army and fund an army • Monarchy begins to issue royal edicts without consulting Parliament  Royal decree bcomes law • 1655 – series of uprisings (provincial nobility and groups of peasants) revolt is crushed o Consolidation of military power into the hands of the states Economically in France • Articulation of mercantilism (John Baptiste Colbert) o Designed to justify what the monarchy is doing • 1661 – state takes on the responsibility of stimulating the economy to build up the military (army and navy) • Infrastructure of the state are meant to compliment this process • 1701 (War over Spanish succession) – French army numbers just less that 300,000 soldiers • Restructure civil law  Articulate a series of national laws to provide some sort of state regulation • Infrastructure (roads, bridges, canals, Academies to train engineers) to enhance military strategy • Unlike England the economic development is not being driven by a middle class or commercial interest  Being driven by the state for purposes of the state • Colbert  “Trade is the source of finance, and finance is the vital nerve of war” The Path of Absolutism? • Centralization of authority – state needs more money o Pattern of industrialization in France – despite the fact the state is taxing people, there are still problems • Great deal of monetary and military irresponsibility – Monarchy had dramatically bankrupted the state • Small land holdings – as a result there is a great deal of inefficiency in agrarian production  Attempts to introduce new methods of production don’t work o Political – who owns the land?  Peasants retain their rights to the land – peasantry is able to oppose the consolidation of land (unlike in England) o What is being produced?  Wine  Labour intensive products that do not require a lot of capital and the consolidation of land  Less pressure on the peasantry to urbanize • La
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