France 1789-1792
the Economy
France 1795-1799
the Economy
France 1792-1795
Domestic Policy
France 1792-1795
Intellectual Life

The National Convention and the Reign of Terror, 1792-1795 : the Economy

The abolition of feudal privileges went hand in hand with the abolition of (feudal) domestic tolls. Feudal lands now were confiscated, in April 1795 a new currency, the FRANC (Germinal Franc) introduced, establishing one currency for all of France, based on a decimal footing (1 F = 100 centimes). The METRIC SYSTEM, proposed in 1790, was adopted in 1795.

The ongoing civil war (against the ROYALISTS, in the Vendee and elsewhere) and the ongoing war against the COALITION placed a heavy burden on France's treasury. The abolition of some taxes, for instance the SALT TAX, further reduced the public revenue. The sale of confiscated lands (noble lands) brought in less than it could have; many and large plots being available caused the price of land to fall. Some reforms, such as the ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN THE COLONIES temporarily paralysed the entire plantation industry, which in the past considerably had contributed to France's wealth.
The harvest of 1794 being poor only added additional pressure on the government; in April and May 1795 riots in Paris, sparkled by the famine, had to be suppressed by the army.
No wonder that when revolutionary forces 'liberated' areas outside of France - the Austrian Netherlands, the Rhineland etc. - French policy of confiscation of church and noble property was implemented there as well, much of the profit of which being funnelled off to France to relieve the French public debt. Still, the French treasury was close to bankruptcy.

Chronology of the Abolitions, from Yekrik Yekrak (of Slavery, worldwide)
The Metric System, from uffda
DOCUMENTS Jeton, insc. LUD.XVI REX GALL.DESTRUCTUS / urn with crown knocked off, REGNI ABIT, D 21 IAN 1793, from, a commercial site
Abolition of Slavery in the French Colonies, Decree 1794, from Yekrik Yekrak
The Germinal Franc, from French Numismatic - the History of the Franc
Coins of 1792, 1793, from Napoleonic Medals
VIDEOS La Marseillaise, 1937, b/w, in French with English subtitles.
REFERENCE William Doyle, The Oxford History of the French Revolution, 1989, 466 pp.

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 9th 2004

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