Privilege and the Politics of Taxation in Eighteenth-Century France: Liberté, Egalité, Fiscalitéby Michael Kwass
Pub. Date: 08/28/2012
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This book offers a lucid new interpretation of the Ancien Régime and the origins of the French Revolution. It examines what was arguably the most ambitious project of the eighteenth-century French monarchy: the attempt to impose direct taxes on formerly tax-exempt privileged elites. Drawing on impressive archival research, Michael Kwass demonstrates that the levy of these taxes, which struck elites with some force, not only altered the relationship between monarchy and social hierarchy, but also transformed political language and attitudes; attitudes that ultimately led to revolution.
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Table of ContentsList of illustrations; List of figures; List of tables; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction: why taxes?; Part I. Reassessing Privilege: 1. The economy of privilege and the challenge of universal taxation; 2. A kingdom of taxpayers; Part II. The Politics of Taxation and the Language of Dispute: 3. Petitioning for 'justice': tax disputes in the administrative sphere; 4. Taking 'liberty' to the public: tax disputes in the institutional sphere; 5. Taxation, Enlightenment and the printed word: debate in the literary sphere; Part III. From Resistance to Revolution: 6. Turning taxpayers into citizens: reform, revolution and the birth of modern political representation; Conclusion: liberté, égalité, fiscalité; Select bibliography; Index.
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