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From Old Regime to Industrial State

A History of German Industrialization from the Eighteenth Century to World War I

In From Old Regime to Industrial State, Richard H. Tilly and Michael Kopsidis question established thinking about Germany’s industrialization. While some hold that Germany experienced a sudden breakthrough to industrialization, the authors instead consider a long view, incorporating market demand, agricultural advances, and regional variations in industrial innovativeness, customs, and governance.  They begin their assessment earlier than previous studies to show how the 18th-century emergence of international trade and the accumulation of capital by merchants fed commercial expansion and innovation. This book provides the history behind the modern German economic juggernaut.

312 pages | 3 maps, 23 line drawings, 66 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2020

Markets and Governments in Economic History

Economics and Business: Economics--History

History: European History


“Tilly and Kopsidis have not only read a prodigious range of secondary sources on the diverse regional economies that evolved into modern Germany, but configured that literature into a narrative that connects its industrialization to geopolitics, state formation, public policy, and institutional development that goes back through heuristically demarcated stages of time into the eighteenth century. This book should be listed first on every bibliography in economic history.”

Patrick Karl O'Brien, London School of Economics

“During the nineteenth century the German economy developed into one of the most advanced in the world. Tilly and Kopsidis masterfully explain this rise to economic and technological leadership, starting with agricultural and institutional transformation in the eighteenth century and following the story through to the development, by the end of the nineteenth century, of distinctive financial institutions that supported an advanced industrial economy. Their account is lucid, creative, and well-grounded in both the research literatures and the broader sources. This volume provides an excellent entrée into the specialist literatures (in both German and English) and will serve as the standard English-language reference.”—

Timothy W. Guinnane, Yale University

"This book describes the fascinating transformation of a backward inland area into a leading industrial economy. In their authoritative synthesis, Tilly and Kopsidis shed new light on subjects that form the staple of the economic history of industrialization—including unbalanced growth, railway construction and financing, and the modernization of agriculture—drawing on recent research to which both authors have made significant contributions."

Ulrich Pfister, University of Münster

Table of Contents

Introduction, with Reflections on the Role of Institutional Change

Part One: Old Regime and Eighteenth-Century Origins of German Industrialization

One / Population and the Economy
Two / German Regions and the Beginnings of Early Industrialization
Three / Agricultural Change from the 1760s to the Early Nineteenth Century
Four / Institutional Change and the Role of Early Nineteenth-Century Prussian-German Reforms

Part Two: Early Industrialization, 1815–1848/49

Five / Early Industrialization, Government Policies, and the German Zollverein
Six / The Crises of the 1840s

Part Three: The Growth of Industrial Capitalism up to the 1870s

Seven / “Industrial Breakthrough” and Its Leading Sectors
Eight / Labor and Capital in the Industrial Breakthrough Period
Nine / Agriculture in the Period of Take-Off and Beyond
Ten / Money and Banking in the Railway Age

Part Four: Germany’s Emergence as an Industrial Power, 1871–1914

Eleven / Growth Trends and Cycles
Twelve / The Growth of Industrial Enterprise, Large and Small
Thirteen / Industrial Finance, Money, and Banking
Fourteen / Germany in the World Economy, 1870s to 1914
Fifteen / Urban Growth, 1871–1914: Economic and Social Dimensions
Epilogue: German Industrialization from a Twentieth-Century Perspective

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