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Peasants, Lords, and Leviathan: Winners and Losers from the Abolition of French Feudalism, 1780-1820

D. M. G. Sutherland
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 62, No. 1 (Mar., 2002), pp. 1-24
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2697970
Page Count: 24
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Peasants, Lords, and Leviathan: Winners and Losers from the Abolition of French Feudalism, 1780-1820
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Abstract

This article investigates the distributional impact of the abolition of "feudalism" during the French Revolution. Landlords ostensibly benefitted from laws permitting them to raise rents by the equivalent of the former tithe. Increasingly, however, the state appropriated this windfall by raising land taxes. Tenants ultimately shouldered a double burden of higher rents and heavier taxes, and they often responded with acts of evasion. But the new financial pressures on tenants and landlords were often offset-and occasionally overbalanced-by substantial productivity gains, which cushioned their disposable incomes in the face of these new obligations.

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