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Mastering the Market The State and the Grain Trade in Northern France, 1700-1860 by Judith A. (Emory University, Atlanta) Miller

Mastering the Market The State and the Grain Trade in Northern France, 1700-1860



Mastering the Market The State and the Grain Trade in Northern France, 1700-1860 by Judith A. (Emory University, Atlanta) Miller

The grain trade, a crucial sector of the French economy, caused enormous concern throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Bread was the staple of French diets, so harvest shortfalls triggered unrest. The royal government had only the most scattershot and ineffective means to draw foodstuffs into restless cities. Successive regimes developed strategies to dominate the baking trades, influence prices along vital supply lines, and amass emergency stocks of grain that could meet months-long demand. As free trade ideologies developed, French administrators at both the national and local levels sought to reconcile these ideologies with the perceived need to control the market. They created increasingly hidden, and effective, means to shape the grain trade. Thus, the French state played an instrumental role in establishing a viable form of free trade.


Judith A. Miller makes excellent and provocative new arguments about French economic history in her book...The study brings a fresh perspective to the concerns of provisioning authoritites before, during, and after the French Revolution...

Kyri Watson Claflin, Gastronomica ...Miller's work is unquestionably a major monograph. No good undergraduate library should be without it.

Choice ...Miller offers...a careful study of local and national bureaucrats who reconciled economic ideology with political practice in turbulent times. Thanks to her long-term perspective and thorough understanding of local realities, Miller demonstrates how free trade came to the French grain trade.

Mark R. Finlay, History excellent monograph, focused on a narrow aspect of an important question and based on thorough archival research...

Reed Geiger, Journal of Interdisciplinary History It is hard to imagine her empirical conclusions being challenged...Mastering the Market will constitute a lasting and valuable contribution to our understanding of the articulation of the pre- and postrevolutionary states with the French economy.

Journal of Modern History Recent work has shed considerable light on the liberal economic theories that sometimes had the ear of those in high places, and even more on the popular mobilizations at the moments of scarcity. Judith A. Miller's highly original contribution to this excellent literature takes a close look at the activities of government officials, especially local officials, whose responsibility it was to oversee the trade.

American Historical Review Although much has been written about the grain trade and the French government's gyrating policies for regulating it, the topic remains a crucial one for the proper understanding of the rise of a market economy and the fall of the old regime. Professor Judith Miller has written a book the clarity and breadth of which bring important new insights to the issues, and which should refresh the debates surrounding them...a lucid and well-written book.

Journal of Economics

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

18th July 2007


Judith A. (Emory University, Atlanta) Miller

More books by Judith A. (Emory University, Atlanta) Miller
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Cambridge University Press


356 pages


European history
Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700



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