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Title: Town administration in France in the eighteenth century, with special reference to a group of towns in the Departement de l'Yonne
Author: Temple, Nora Cynthia
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1959
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The administration of French towns in the eighteenth century was in the hands of two bodies, the corps de ville and the assembles generale des habitants, which were usually dominated by a close, well-to-do oligarchy. Although municipal elections were organized in a host of different ways, there were two characteristics common to many towns - indirect elections and representation based on class or profession - both of which were conducive to oligarchy. Opposition to this municipal oligarchy was led by bailliage officials, whose political importance and economic power suffered a marked decline in the eighteenth century. The essentials of municipal finance were similar in all towns. The most usual source of revenue was taxation on consumer goods, though some towns also levied personal taxation. The disbursement of this revenue was not at the municipal officials' discretion, but decided either by the royal council or by the intendant. Colbert had restricted the towns' financial independence in order to prevent misappropriation and peculation of municipal revenue. The government's less altruistic reason for controlling municipal expenditure was that in times of crisis it looked to the towns for extraordinary financial assistance. This it extorted principally by means of rachats des offices and dons gratuits. The effect of this policy on a town's finances is well illustrated by the history of Auxerre. This town's relations with the intendants of Burgundy suggest that the government's direction of municipal finance was not in practice as efficient as it was intended to be in theory. The archives of Auxerre and Avallon also contain valuable information about municipal elections in the eighteenth century, the conventions which governed them, the passions they aroused, and the part played by intrigue and influence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: European History