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


  • Date Published: October 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521628891

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About the Authors
  • The grain trade, a crucial sector of the French economy, caused enormous concern throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Bread was the staple of French diets, so harvest shortfalls triggered unrest. The royal government had only the most scattershot and ineffective means to draw foodstuffs into restless cities. Successive regimes developed strategies to dominate the baking trades, influence prices along vital supply lines, and amass emergency stocks of grain that could meet months-long demand. As free trade ideologies developed, French administrators at both the national and local levels sought to reconcile these ideologies with the perceived need to control the market. They created increasingly hidden, and effective, means to shape the grain trade. Thus, the French state played an instrumental role in establishing a viable form of free trade.

    • Traces development of French grain policy from early eighteenth century through to the nineteenth century
    • Based on extensive archival research in Paris, Rouen, Le Havre, Caen, Amiens and Versailles
    • Miller makes highly technical matters, such as methods used by authorities to set bread prices, comprehensible
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521628891
    • length: 356 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.534kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures and tables
    Old Regime weights and measures for wheat
    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:
    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

  • Author

    Judith A. Miller, Emory University, Atlanta

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