Joël Félix

in The Oxford Handbook of the Ancien Régime

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199291205
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History


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The structural role of war on Ancien Régime finances can be seen in the overwhelming burden military and military-related expenses placed upon them. To be sure, this phenomenon would last well beyond the storming of the Bastille: the cost of funding revolutionary wars would leave a deep scar on European peacetime budgets well into the nineteenth century. Only in the aftermath of the revolutions of 1848 would the old expenditure structure start evolving from the typical fiscal-military state, spending between 70 and 80 percent of its expenses on the armed forces, to a modern social state where civil investment would grow steadily. The financial impact of war is also reflected in many attempts to assess the relative military capabilities of European states.

Keywords: Ancien Régime; military expenses; revolutionary wars; war funding; fiscal-military state; armed forces; civil investment; social state

Article.  9140 words. 

Subjects: History

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