(image source: OUP)
Professor Rafe Blaufarb (Florida State University) published a new work on the history of property and the French Revolution's impact.
The Great Demarcation explores how the French Revolution transformed the system of property-holding that had existed in France before 1789, thus creating the framework for modern definitions of property and political forms. This book examines the Revolution not from an economic or social perspective, but through the lens of the laws and institutions of property. The Revolution's dramatic legal restructuring aimed at two fundamental goals: removing formal public power from the sphere of private property, and excising property rights from the realm of the new sovereign, the nation. The revolutionaries accomplished these two aims by abolishing privately-owned forms of public power—such as jurisdictional lordship and venal public office—and by dismantling the Crown domain to construct a purely sovereign State.
Table of contents:
These efforts brought about a Great Demarcation: a radical distinction between property and power from which flowed critical distinctions between the political and the social, state and society, sovereignty and ownership, the public and private. These distinctions destroyed the conceptual basis of the Old Regime, laid the foundation of France's new constitutional order, and crystallized modern ways of thinking about polities and societies. This, Blaufarb claims, was the Revolution's fundamental act, the stake in the Old Regime's heart, and the basis of all of its other reforms.
Tracing how the French Revolution sought to remake the country's legal and institutional reality, The Great Demarcation shows how the revolutionary transformation of Old Regime property helped to inaugurate political modernity.
AcknowledgmentsOn the author:
Note on the Use of French Technical Vocabulary
Chapter 1 Talking Property before 1789
Chapter 2 Loyseau's Legacy: The Night of August 4th and the First Abolition of Feudalism
Chapter 3 The Death and Rebirth of the Direct Domain: The Second Feudal Abolition
Chapter 4 The Invention of the National Domain
Chapter 5 Emptying the Domain: The Problem of Engagements
Chapter 6 When the Nation Became a Lord: Feudal Dues as Biens Nationaux
Rafe Blaufarb is the Ben Weider Eminent Scholar Chair and Director of the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at Florida State University. He is the author of The French Army, 1750-1820: Careers, Talent, Merit, Bonapartists in the Borderlands: French Refugees and Exiles on the Gulf Coast, 1815-1835, and Inhuman TraffickThe International Struggle against the Transatlantic Slave Trade: A Graphic History, among other titles.More information with Oxford University Press.