Privilege and the politics of taxation in eighteenth-century France

Author : Professor Michael Kwass



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  • Privilege and the Politics of Taxation in Eighteenth-Century France, first published in 2000, offers a lucid interpretation of the Ancien Regime 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. Connecting the social history of the state to the study of political culture, Michael Kwass describes how the crown refashioned its institutions and ideology to impose new forms of taxation on the privileged. Drawing on impressive primary research from national and provincial archives, 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 in the decades before the French Revolution. Privilege and the Politics of Taxation in Eighteenth-Century France sheds light on French history during this crucial period.


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