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Economistes and the Reinvention of Empire
France in the Americas and Africa, c.1750–1802

$99.99 (C)

Part of New Studies in European History

  • Publication planned for: November 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108483131

$ 99.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Exploring the myriad efforts to strengthen colonial empire that unfolded in response to France's imperial crisis in the second half of the eighteenth century, Pernille Røge examines how political economists, colonial administrators, planters, and entrepreneurs shaped the recalibration of empire in the Americas and in Africa alongside the intensification of the French Caribbean plantation complex. Emphasising the intellectual contributions of the Economistes (also known as the Physiocrats) to formulate a new colonial doctrine, the book highlights the advent of an imperial discourse of commercial liberalisation, free labour, agricultural development, and civilisation. With her careful documentation of the reciprocal impacts of economic ideas, colonial policy and practices, Røge also details key connections between Ancien Régime colonial innovation and the French Revolution's republican imperial agenda. The result is a novel perspective on the struggles to reinvent colonial empire in the final decades of the Ancien Régime and its influences on the French Revolution and beyond.

    • Offers a fresh interpretation of the French colonial empire in the late eighteenth century
    • Explores continuities between France's first and second colonial empires
    • Will appeal broadly to historians of economic thought, colonial policy and practice, and the Age of Revolutions
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'For some time, historians have been searching for the links between the first and second French colonial Empires. Røge finds a compelling set of answers in the critique of plantation slavery and empire developed by the Physiocrats beginning in the mid eighteenth century.' Paul Cheney, University of Chicago

    'This ambitious and original book illuminates the emergence of a new vision of empire in eighteenth-century France, explaining how physiocratic ideas informed colonial policy during and after the French Revolution. Røge’s rigorous analysis makes important contributions to the history of political economy as she traces the transition of empire from the Caribbean to Africa.' Michael Kwass, The Johns Hopkins University

    'A complete reinterpretation of the dynamics of the French colonial empire. Delving into abundant first-hand material, Røge reveals the true importance of West Africa in rethinking French imperial expansion after the Seven Years' War. She brilliantly bridges the colonial orientations of the Ancien Regime and of the First Republic, revealing the enduring influence of the Physiocrats. A fascinating and successful historical enquiry.' François-Joseph Ruggiu, Sorbonne Université, France

    'An elegant and subtle re-interpretation of the ideological origins of modern French imperialism: rather than a product of nineteenth-century republicanism, the book shows France’s new imperial project had its roots in Old Regime ideas and practices. The balance between change and continuity and the appreciation of interactions between the imperial centre and the colonial peripheries are remarkable.' David Todd, King’s College London

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: November 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108483131
    • length: 310 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 5 maps
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. A colonial empire in crisis
    2. Empire beyond the mercantile system
    3. Between enslaved territories and overseas provinces
    4. Supplying or supplanting the Americas
    5. A revolutionary crescendo
    Conclusion: Ancien Régime legacies.

  • Author

    Pernille Røge, University of Pittsburgh
    Pernille Røge is Assistant Professor of History and convener of the Early Modern Worlds Initiative at the University of Pittsburgh. She is author of numerous articles and book chapters on the eighteenth-century French, Danish, and British colonial empires. She is also co-editor of The Political Economy of Empire in the Early Modern World (2013), with Sophus Reinert, and of the International Review of Social History's special issue on 'Free and Unfree Labor in Atlantic and Indian Ocean Port Cities (Seventeenth–Nineteenth Centuries)', with Pepijn Brandon and Niklas Frykman.

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