Mastering the Market: The State and the Grain Trade in Northern France, 1700-1860

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The creation of free trade in France, and especially in the grain trade, came only through the most halting steps. In the eighteenth century, administrators crafted increasingly covert means to shape market processes even as they adopted liberal policies. In the early nineteenth century, which this book emphasizes, Napoleonic and Restoration officials and their successors developed hidden and finely-tuned strategies that allowed them to continue their intervention. By exploring those tactics, this book reveals how the state dominated the baking trades, influenced prices along supply lines, and amassed emergency stocks, thus effectively mastering this vital market.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Judith A. Miller makes excellent and provocative new arguments about French economic history in her book...The study brings a fresh perspective to the concerns of provisioning authoritites before, during, and after the French Revolution..." Kyri Watson Claflin, Gastronomica

"...Miller's work is unquestionably a major monograph. No good undergraduate library should be without it." Choice

"...Miller offers...a careful study of local and national bureaucrats who reconciled economic ideology with political practice in turbulent times. Thanks to her long-term perspective and thorough understanding of local realities, Miller demonstrates how free trade came to the French grain trade." Mark R. Finlay, History

" excellent monograph, focused on a narrow aspect of an important question and based on thorough archival research..." Reed Geiger, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"It is hard to imagine her empirical conclusions being challenged...Mastering the Market will constitute a lasting and valuable contribution to our understanding of the articulation of the pre- and postrevolutionary states with the French economy." Journal of Modern History

"Recent work has shed considerable light on the liberal economic theories that sometimes had the ear of those in high places, and even more on the popular mobilizations at the moments of scarcity. Judith A. Miller's highly original contribution to this excellent literature takes a close look at the activities of government officials, especially local officials, whose responsibility it was to oversee the trade." American Historical Review

"Although much has been written about the grain trade and the French government's gyrating policies for regulating it, the topic remains a crucial one for the proper understanding of the rise of a market economy and the fall of the old regime. Professor Judith Miller has written a book the clarity and breadth of which bring important new insights to the issues, and which should refresh the debates surrounding them...a lucid and well-written book." Journal of Economics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521621298
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2007
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures and tables; Abbreviations; Old Regime weights and measures for wheat; Acknowledgements; Introduction - two crises: 1709 and 1853; Part I. The Market of the Enlightenment, 1720–1789: 1. The structure of mill and market; 2. Simulated sales: shaping supply and demand in the Old Regime marketplace; 3. Scripting 'free' trade; 4. Narrowing the focus: bakers and bread, 1760–1789; Part II. Maximum: Feeding France in Revolution and War: 5. 1789: municipal revolutions and the origins of radicalism; 6. Unity and interests; 7. Recreating the market: Thermidor and the directory; Part III. The State Learns, 1800–1860: 8. The last maximum: 1812; 9. The routines of the restoration; 10. Relinquishing control: bakers and the end of the Paris reserve; 11. The market mastered; Archival sources; Selected bibliography; Index.
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