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Free Trade and its Enemies in France, 1814–1851


Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108741842

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About the Authors
  • In the aftermath of the French Revolution, advocates of protection against foreign competition prevailed in a fierce controversy over international trade. This groundbreaking study is the first to examine this 'protectionist turn' in full. Faced with a reaffirmation of mercantile jealousy under the Bourbon Restoration, Benjamin Constant, Jean-Baptiste Say and regional publicists advocated the adoption of the liberty of commerce in order to consolidate the new liberal order. But after the Revolution of 1830 a new generation of liberal thinkers endeavoured to reconcile the jealousy of trade with the discourse of commercial society and political liberty. New justifications for protection oscillated between an industrialist reinvention of jealousy and an aspiration to self-sufficiency as a means of attenuating the rise of urban pauperism. A strident denunciation of British power and social imbalances served to defuse the internal tensions of the protectionist discourse and facilitated its dissemination across the French political spectrum.

    • Expounds a new and original approach to the history of political economy, exploring the role of mediation and reception in the dissemination of ideas
    • Contributes to the international turn in intellectual history, highlighting the part played by transnational interactions in forming modern political and economic ideologies
    • Analyses the origins for the ideological divergence between Britain and France on free trade
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Reading David Todd's excellent well-researched monograph, I found it simply impossible not to think of the astonishing parallels between Anglo-French debates on free trade in the early decades of the nineteenth century and today's increasingly pressing arguments about possible British exit from the EU and France's parlous recent economic performance … Todd's concluding remarks give us much to think about. Protectionism after 1870, he suggests, contributed to the enduring stability of the Third Republic and arguably remained a force of stability in French society until its abandonment in the 1980s. Todd's contribution to the 'intellectual history of globalization' makes us realize that these issues are not about to go away.' Jeremy Jennings, H-France Forum

    'This is not a book of economic history but rather a history of economic ideas and political economy, namely, the debates that took place in France on international trade between 1814 and 1851 … This book is important insofar it shows a return to political economy in historical context without the abstractions and a-historical analyses of mainstream economic history.' Alessandro Stanziani, H-France Forum

    'Using a wide range of archival and printed primary sources in English, French and German, Todd provides the reader with an exhaustive analysis of the economic debates within France and stresses their connection with the globalizing economy of the nineteenth century.' Christopher Guyver, European History Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108741842
    • length: 298 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The reactionary political economy of the Bourbon Restoration
    2. Economists, winegrowers and the dissemination of commercial liberalism
    3. Completing the revolution: political and commercial liberty after 1830
    4. Inventing economic nationalism
    5. The contours of the national economy
    6. The Englishness of free trade and the consolidation of protectionist dominance

  • Author

    David Todd, King's College London
    David Todd is a Lecturer in World History in the Department of History at King's College London.

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