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The Crisis of the Absolute MonarchyFrance from Old Regime to Revolution$
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Julian Swann and Joël Félix

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265383

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265383.001.0001

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Franco-British Naval Rivalry and the Crisis of the Monarchy, 1759–1789*

Franco-British Naval Rivalry and the Crisis of the Monarchy, 1759–1789*

(p.205) 11 Franco-British Naval Rivalry and the Crisis of the Monarchy, 1759–1789*
The Crisis of the Absolute Monarchy

Olivier Chaline

British Academy

Did the immense investment in the French Navy in the context of the crisis of the monarchy outstrip the financial resources of the État royal, thus being a major cause or even the principal cause of the Revolution? Financially the critical period was not the War of American Independence but the years following the return of peace. The decisions made by those in charge of the French navy to maintain its expansion, while the costs of construction were doubling and while the state-funded budget was shrinking, were heavy with troublesome consequences as the monarchy was plunged into political crisis after the summoning of the Assembly of Notables.

Keywords:   French Navy, armaments race, financing, bankruptcy, naval bases, Royal Navy

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