chapter  5
57 Pages

THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF FRANCE 1815-70

With the ending of the long and expensive period of warfare in 1815 the economic situation of France was quite transformed from what it had been. The essential change to a different mode of production and therefore to a different society had taken place. But it had taken place partly because of easy access to markets which were by no means so available after 1815. For one thing, after an early experiment with low tariffs immediately after the peace settlement most states quickly found that the survival of their small industrial sectors depended on tariff protection. France herself followed the same pattern and the Restoration government became one of the most protectionist in Europe. The protection was weakened before the 1850s only by the effect of falling prices for manufactured goods and where tariffs were fixed on weight and number rather than on the value of goods falling prices could often increase the tariff's impact. For another thing, although the long period of warfare had furthered these important changes in the French economy it had done so much more in Britain. The cardinal fact for most French producers after 1815 was the existence of an overwhelmingly dominant and powerful industrial producer not only as their nearest neighbour but as a mighty force in all foreign

markets and sometimes even in their own heavily-protected domestic market.