Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226770468 Published April 2021
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226770321 Published May 2021
E-book $10.00 to $34.99 About E-books ISBN: 9780226770635 Published April 2021 Also Available From
E-book Retailers: B&N Nook Google Play Kobo Library Vendors: EBSCO

Capitalism and the Emergence of Civic Equality in Eighteenth-Century France

William H. Sewell Jr.

Capitalism and the Emergence of Civic Equality in Eighteenth-Century France

William H. Sewell Jr.

416 pages | 4 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2021
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226770468 Published April 2021
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226770321 Published May 2021
E-book $10.00 to $34.99 About E-books ISBN: 9780226770635 Published April 2021
There is little doubt that the French Revolution of 1789 changed the course of Western history. But why did the idea of civic equality—a distinctive signature of that revolution—find such fertile ground in France? How might changing economic and social realities have affected political opinions?
 
William H. Sewell Jr. argues that the flourishing of commercial capitalism in eighteenth-century France introduced a new independence, flexibility, and anonymity to French social life. By entering the interstices of this otherwise rigidly hierarchical society, expanded commodity exchange colored everyday experience in ways that made civic equality thinkable, possible, even desirable, when the crisis of the French Revolution arrived. Sewell ties together masterful analyses of a multitude of interrelated topics: the rise of commerce, the emergence of urban publics, the careers of the philosophes, commercial publishing, patronage, political economy, trade, and state finance. Capitalism and the Emergence of Civic Equality in Eighteenth-Century France offers an original interpretation of one of history’s pivotal moments.
Contents
Introduction: The French Revolution and the Shock of Civic Equality

Chapter 1: Old Regime State and Society

Chapter 2: The Eighteenth-Century Economy: Commerce and Capitalism

Part 1: The Emergence of an Urban Public

Chapter 3: The Commercial Public Sphere

Chapter 4: The Empire of Fashion

Chapter 5: The Parisian Promenade

Part 2: The Philosophes and the Career Open to Talent

Chapter 6: The Philosophe Career and the Impossible Example of Voltaire

Chapter 7: Denis Diderot: Living by the Pen

Chapter 8: The Abbé Morellet: Between Publishing and Patronage

Chapter 9: Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Self-Deceived Clientage

Part 3: Royal Administration and the Promise of Political Economy

Chapter 10: Tocqueville’s Challenge: Royal Administration and the Rise of Civic Equality

Chapter 11: Warfare, Taxes, and Administrative Centralization: The Double Bind of Royal Finance

Chapter 12: Political Economy: A Solution to the Double Bind?

Chapter 13: Navigating the Double Bind: Efforts at Reform

Conclusion: The Revolution and the Advent of Civic Equality

Epilogue: Civic Equality and the Continuing History of Capitalism

Acknowledgments

References

Index
Review Quotes
Keith Michael Baker, Stanford University
“This superb book will be recognized immediately as a classic in the rich historiography of the French Revolution. It is the first major rethinking of the relationship of the old regime to the Revolution since Furet’s Interpreting the French Revolution was published four decades ago. Sewell’s book is elegantly and lucidly written, persuasively argued, and of fundamental importance for scholars in the broad spectrum of humanistic and social scientific disciplines who seek to understand the major transformation that gave birth to modern political culture.”
Rebecca L. Spang, Indiana University
“Sewell offers a detailed history of how our world, through the proliferation of physical objects, came to be experienced as less concrete and more abstract. Ranging from promenades to taxation by way of fashion, philosophes, and political economy, this magisterial synthesis shows that eighteenth-century capitalism both profoundly challenged existing regimes of privilege and, eventually, created entire new ones.”
Michael Kwass, Johns Hopkins University
“In his bold rethinking of Marx, Sewell restores capitalism to the debate on the origins of the French Revolution. With his signature clarity, he offers us a novel interpretive framework for understanding how subversive notions of equality upended a traditional society to ignite the Revolution. This book is essential reading for all French historians, social theorists, and students of capitalism.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

Chicago Blog: Sociology

Events in Sociology

Keep Informed

JOURNALs