By Noelle Plack

Contemporary revisionist background has puzzled the measure of social and monetary switch as a result of the French Revolution. a few historians have additionally claimed that the Revolution was once essentially an city affair with little relevance to the agricultural plenty. This publication assessments those principles by way of interpreting the innovative, Napoleonic and recovery makes an attempt to rework the tenure of communal land in a single area of southern France; the dep. of the Gard. through analysing the result of the legislative makes an attempt to denationalise universal land, this learn highlights how the Revolution's agrarian coverage profoundly affected French rural society and the economic system. not just did a few participants of the agricultural group, in most cases small-holding peasants, elevate their land holdings, yet convinced sectors of agriculture have been additionally remodeled; those findings make clear the expansion in viticulture within the south of France ahead of the monocultural revolution of the 1850s. The privatization of universal land, along the abolition of feudalism and the transformation of judicial associations, have been key features of the Revolution within the nation-state. This targeted examine demonstrates that the legislative technique was once now not a top-down strategy, yet an interplay among a nation and its voters. it's an incredible contribution to the hot social heritage of the French Revolution and should attract financial and social historians, in addition to ancient geographers.

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Extra info for Common Land, Wine and the French Revolution

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However, the majority lived in the western half of the department, north-west of a line from Alès to Aigues-Mortes. This Calvinist western half of the department with its chestnut and mulberry trees contrasted sharply with the Catholic south and east which was dominated by vines, olives and grain. James N. 64 These two different ways of life met where the hills of the Cévennes tapered off into the garrigue; in the heart of that territory lay Nîmes. It was in the religious melting pot of Nîmes that two of the most violent uprisings of all of the revolutionary period occurred.

Although a variety of biens communaux existed, most of it, by far, came in the form of rough rocky hillsides covered in scrubby brush and few trees. Officially these lands were classified as vacants or terres en friche, but were known to the locals as hermes or, most commonly, garrigues. These wastelands make up the middle section of the Gard’s topography, stretching from Sommières and Quissac in the west through the arrondissements of Nîmes and Uzès to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Pont-Saint-Esprit on the Rhône River in the east.

The possibilities were endless; the piecemeal attempts at reform during the ancien régime would soon be forgotten as the Revolutionaries appeared ready to sweep through grandiose measures which would not only liberate men, but also the landed property of France. The month of August 1789 was particularly poignant.  Then at the end of August, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen appeared and proclaimed that ‘men are born and remain free’. Running concurrent to this idea about Man was the principle that the territory of France also needed to be emancipated from its old restrictions.

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