State Finance and Sovereign Power from the Old Regime to the French Revolution

Peter Gelling Room 315 - Arts
Wednesday 26 April 2023 (16:00-17:00)

Free to attend, no sign-up required


Birmingham Eighteenth Century Centre (BECC)

As part of BECC's annual exchange series with Warwick University, Ronan Love (fourth-year PhD candidate) will present his research on government finance from the Old Regime to the French Revolution.


Whilst most historical work emphasises how the state’s ailing finances were a constant impediment to the proper functioning of the French state in the eighteenth century, this talk will take a different approach. Whilst always harbouring the potential for crisis, the nation’s finances were also, under both the Old Regime and the Revolution, a key field for the deployment and exercise of power. As a key tenet of sovereignty both in the modern and early modern worlds, the talk will argue in its broadest sense that if we are to properly explain the fall of the monarchy, the coming of the Revolution, and then how successive revolutionary governments tried (and ultimately failed) to legitimise themselves, we must attend to the particular nexus between sovereign power and the state’s financial obligations in each of these transitions.