France 1792-1795
the Economy
France 1799-1804
the Economy
France 1795-1799
Domestic Policy
France 1795-1799
Intellectual Life

France :
The Directory, 1795-1799 : the Economy

In 1795 the DIRECTORY assumed the administration of France, facing the problem of rising prices, a phenomenon spiralled by the poor harvest of 1795 and the continued, even intensified practise of continued issuance of ASSIGNATS - coins were practically not used. Many people suffered from hunger, a factor behind occasional political unrest or protest. In an economy where money lost worth, people began to accept or demand payment in kind; even the director's salaries were partly paid in grain.
In 1796 the issuance of Assignats was stoppe; however another form of paper money intended to replace them, notes on the credit of still unsold land, lost value even faster than the assignats. In the winter of 1796 to 1797, paper money was withdrawn from circulation.
In order to raise revenue, the newly annexed territories (Belgium, the Rhineland), satellite republics (Batavian Republic; Italian satellite republics) were literally plundered; state assets were sold off below value. In 1797, the Directory declared it would not repay two thirds of its debts - practically declaring state bankruptcy. Only now could the consolidation of state finances begin. In 1798 indirect taxes, abolished early in the revolution, were reintroduced.

Timetable : France during the French Revolution and under Napoleon Bonaparte. An annotated Chronology of Civil and Military Events, by Richard Orsinger, 1997
DOCUMENTS List of Presidents of the Executive Directory, Nov. 1795 - Dec. 1799, from World Statesmen : France by Ben Cahoon, scroll down
French coins from 1796, 1797, 1798, 1799
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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