The Fiscal-Military Constitution of Bourbon France in Comparative Perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This essay provides comparative international context on the French and British fiscal-military systems in a volume primarily dedicated to the Austrian Habsburg lands in the 17th and 18th centuries. It takes issue with the notion of a 'fiscal-military state', arguing that historians should instead think in terms of the 'fiscal-military constitution' of a state in this period, not least as this throws into much sharper relief the question of comparative advantage of states on the international stage. It also posits a model for understanding the developmental fiscal-military conditions of early modern states, and then examines in depth the fiscal-military constitution of France under Louis XIV and Louis XV. After examining the military and financial development of France from the early 17th century it concludes that France had a highly developed fiscal-military constitution by the 18th century, but especially in comparison to Britain it was a second-rate one.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Habsburg Monarchy as a Fiscal-Military State: Contours and Perspectives 1648-1815
EditorsWilliam D. Godsey, Petr Mat'a
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOUP/British Academy
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780197267349
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • France - History
  • Finances
  • War
  • Fiscal-Military
  • 17th century
  • 18th century


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