Mercantilism, Corporate Organization and the Guilds in the Later Reign of Louis XIV

Clare Haru Crowston

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Historical debate on Louis XIV’s economic and commercial policies has focussed almost exclusively on the ministry of Jean-Baptiste Colbert and his putatively ‘mercantilist’ doctrines. Historians remain divided on the economic efficacy and historical legacy of the series of royal edicts issued by Colbert regulating commerce and industry. Much current debate, for example, centres on the long-term economic impact of the growth in guilds across France catalysed by his 1673 edict requiring all artisans to form guilds in cities and towns with an existing guild system.1 By contrast, historians have devoted very little attention to the activities of Colbert’s successors in the economic (rather than fiscal) realm, the assumption being that central efforts to plan and regulate the economy broke down after Colbert’s death in 1683 as the monarchy resorted to a series of increasingly desperate and cynical attempts to extract revenue from the corporate system to meet mounting debts caused by Louis XIV’s foreign wars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Third Reign of Louis XIV, c.1682-1715
EditorsJulia Prest, Guy Rowlands
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781317014119
ISBN (Print)9781472475008
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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