Jean Boutier : jean.boutier[at]univ-amu.fr
Alice Fabre : alice.fabre[at]univ-amu.fr
Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa : cecilia.garcia-penalosa[at]univ-amu.fr
Alain Trannoy : alain.trannoy[at]univ-amu.fr
Arundhati Virmani : arundhati.virmani[at]ehess.fr
We analyze the conflict between King Louis XV and the venal office-holders who were members of the French Parliaments throughout the 18th century. There are contrasting views as to the nature of this confrontation. We consider that the Parliaments cooperated with the King as long as their rents were protected. On the other hand, they opposed political measures that were likely to harm them. In particular, the introduction of a competing body of civil servants, the intendants, was a major cause of conflict as they were responsible for the enforcement of reforms that reduced the privileges of office-holders. We propose an analytical narrative of the end of the French Old Regime and provide an empirical test of our predictions. The data suggest that the political opposition of the French Parliaments was primarily a response to the King's reform agenda on matters that would reduce their income and political power.
Discussion : Joël Felix, professor of history - University of Reading
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