chapter  7
17 Pages


The Revolution’s institutional changes had durable consequences for economic development. The intention of the legislators of the revolutionary and Napoleonic periods, influenced by Enlightenment ideas, had been to sweep away archaic relics of ‘feudalism’ and rationalize and liberate economic activity. This meant uniformity in law, markets, money, taxation and measurement; freedom to work and trade; and the recognition of property, on the Roman Law model, as an ‘inviolable and sacred right’, unencumbered by ancient regulations and communal customs. Corporations, collective action and restrictive trade practices were forbidden, and workers’ combinations criminalized. These principles were formulated in the d’Allarde and Le Chapelier laws (1791), the Code Civil (or Code Napoleon) of 1804 and the Code de Commerce of 1807.