The Coming of French Absolutism: The Struggle for Tax Reform in the Province of Dauphiné 1540-1640
The introduction of absolutism in France has conventionally been seen as a process of centralization imposed from the top down. The Crown, the chancellor, the principal ministers, and the secretaries of state are all supposed to have worked in concert to break the power of the nobles and governors, abolish local Estates, and even intervene in the selection of municipal councillors. The fiscal and institutional development of the province of Dauphiné, however, suggests a very different absolutist dynamic. While it is clear that the Crown wanted to standardize and, when possible, centralize the institutions of the province, it is equally clear that , from the 1540s on, certain groups anxious for provincial tax reform actively encouraged royal intervention.
Daniel Hickey analyses the individuals and groups that directed each stage of the struggle for tax reform: rural villagers, the élite of the ten major cities, lawyers and legal groups, and new and old nobles. Each group expressed itself through the means available to it: peasant revolt, courtroom hearings, local village meetings, or lobbying at court.
The social alliances made during the struggle were temporary in nature and often united groups that would normally have been opposed to each other. But they were effective. Hickey identifies two major results of this social movement: the Crown was able to take major steps towards integrating Dauphiné into the kingdom, and the province's fiscal structure underwent a major reform.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 286 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
Author InformationDaniel Hickey is a professor emeritus and former chairman of the Département d’histoire et de géographie de l’Université de Moncton.
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