The Great Demarcation: The French Revolution and the Invention of Modern Property by Rafe BlaufarbThe Great Demarcation: The French Revolution and the Invention of Modern Property by Rafe Blaufarb

The Great Demarcation: The French Revolution and the Invention of Modern Property

byRafe Blaufarb

Hardcover | June 8, 2016

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What does it mean to own something? What sorts of things can be owned, and what cannot? How does one relinquish ownership? What are the boundaries between private and public property? Over the course of a decade, the French Revolution grappled with these questions. Punctuated by false starts,contingencies, and unexpected results, this process laid the foundations of the Napoleonic Code and modern notions of property.As Rafe Blaufarb demonstrates in this ambitious work, the French Revolution remade the system of property-holding that had existed in France before 1789. The revolutionary changes aimed at two fundamental goals: the removal of formal public power from the sphere of property and the excision ofproperty from the realm of sovereignty. The revolutionaries accomplished these two aims by abolishing privately-owned forms of power, such as jurisdictional lordship and venal public office, and by dismantling the Crown domain, thus making the state purely sovereign. This brought about a GreatDemarcation: a radical distinction between property and power from which flowed the critical distinctions between the political and the social, state and society, sovereignty and ownership, the public and private. It destroyed the conceptual basis of the Old Regime, laid the foundation of France'snew constitutional order, and crystallized modern ways of thinking about polities and societies. By tracing how the French Revolution created a new legal and institutional reality, The Great Demarcation shows how the revolutionary transformation of Old Regime property helped inaugurate political modernity.
Rafe Blaufarb is the Ben Weider Eminent Scholar Chair and Director of the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at the Florida State University. He is the author of numerous works, including The Politics of Fiscal Privilege in Provence, 1530s-1830s and Inhuman Traffick: The International Struggle against the Transatlantic Sla...
Title:The Great Demarcation: The French Revolution and the Invention of Modern PropertyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:June 8, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199778795

ISBN - 13:9780199778799

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Editorial Reviews

"When the French revolutionaries abolished 'feudal' property, they thought they had cut a gordian knot. Rafe Blaufarb shows, in convincing detail, how in practice they were forced to unpick it strand by strand. Establishing property rights on a fresh basis proved hideously complex. It tookmany years to complete, and even the Napoleonic Code did not tie up all the loose ends. The Great Demarcation is a cool and masterly account of how one of the greatest changes undertaken by the French Revolution was painstakingly brought about." --William Doyle, author of The Oxford History of the French Revolution