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Feudalism, Venality, and RevolutionProvincial Assemblies in Late-Old Regime France$
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Stephen Miller

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526148377

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526148384

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Bourgeois liberalism and revolutionary politics: the provincial assembly of Lyonnais

Bourgeois liberalism and revolutionary politics: the provincial assembly of Lyonnais

Chapter:
(p.75) 3 Bourgeois liberalism and revolutionary politics: the provincial assembly of Lyonnais
Source:
Feudalism, Venality, and Revolution
Author(s):

Stephen Miller

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526148384.00007

Historians have written about the growth of manufacturing in Lyonnais but have not explored the concrete ways it affected politics in the decades before the Revolution. I demonstrate that the political culture of the province promoted free trade as the means of furthering the expansion of local workshops. Immersed in this culture, the members of the provincial assembly publicly criticized the royal monopolies and tax farms inhibiting commerce. Yet when it came to actually reforming these institutions, they recoiled before the vested interests of local investors, court nobles, and royal finances. The discrepancy between the assembly’s liberal declarations and lack of action focused the gaze of commoners on the enduring privileges which, by all accounts, restricted opportunities and perpetuated poverty. People were thus motivated to join violent and fatal revolts in the summer of 1789 against the offices and personnel of the monopoly companies and tax farmers in St.-Étienne and Lyon.

Keywords:   Assembly of Lyonnais, political culture, liberalism, bourgeoisie, popular revolts

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