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Why did Chambres de Justice disappear in 18th-century France? Financial profit and institutional reforms

Felix, J. (2018) Why did Chambres de Justice disappear in 18th-century France? Financial profit and institutional reforms. In: Felix, J. and Dubet, A. (eds.) The War within: Finance and morality in early modern Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. (In Press)

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This chapter examines the vexing question of the causes behind the disappearance of Chambres de Justice, i.e. extraordinary courts set up by the French kings to try his financiers. To this effect, we analyse the system of tax farming and calculate the profits it generated for the tax farmers in the years 1688-1788. Results show that there is no clear link between return on capital invested by financiers to run their businesses, and criticisms of financial profit, and that tax farmers under Louis XV reaped higher profits than the infamous traitants under Louis XIV. Results also show that the contractual relationship between government and the financiers evolved substantially across time, as a result of financial strains, external pressures from competitors and public criticism of profit and the fiscal system. We conclude that Chambres de Justice were essentially political tools used in very specific circumstances which did not repeat in the 18th century, at least until the tax farmers were arrested and beheaded during the French Revolution.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Early Modern Research Centre (EMRC)
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:77046
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan

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