Gepubliceerd op 30-07-2019

Call for Papers international conference Fiscal Crises, Revolution, Fiscal Reform, War: The Fiscal State in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era, 1770-1820

Call for Papers for an international conference to be held in Rotterdam, 25-27 June 2020.

Deadline CfP: 31 October 2019.


There is a broad consensus that fiscal affairs had a significant impact on the political turmoil that swept Europe at the dawn of the modern era. After all, it was the flawed attempts at introducing much-needed fiscal reform in ancien régime France that sparked off the French Revolution. It is also well known that it was the ability to achieve resource superiority, in part through raising fiscal revenue, that determined which states could weather the political storms and conflict unleashed by revolution. Britain’s success in achieving resource superiority in the Napoleonic Wars is seen as key to the defeat of Revolutionary-Napoleonic France. Likewise, the inability of the Dutch Republic to raise the fiscal revenue required to maintain its position in the international order is acknowledged to have made it an easy prey for French Revolutionary armies in 1794.

However, whilst fiscal history has attracted much scholarly attention, the broader field of European fiscal history remains fragmented along national lines. This conference aims to draw together recent research to reflect on whether common trends and developments can be identified in European fiscal history. A secondary aim of the conference is to explore the impact of the key international actor of the age, Napoleon Bonaparte, on European fiscal history, both those states that were integrated into the Napoleonic Empire and the Napoleonic fiscal-military state and those that were forced to respond to the emergence of a unipolar international order dominated by the Napoleonic Empire.

To facilitate transnational comparison, the conference would ask papers to address the following questions:

  • What fiscal challenges did (European) states face in the late eighteenth century?
  • What ideas and efforts were developed to overcome the fiscal challenges?
  • What were the endogenous and/or exogenous drivers of fiscal reform?
  • Reflecting back from the early nineteenth century, was fiscal reform successful, measured quantitatively as well as against set goals?

The conference aims to include a broad variety of states, to include but not limited to:

  • The Great Powers: France, Britain, the Habsburg Monarchy, Russia, Prussia;
  • The Lesser Powers, such the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal;
  • The Italian states;
  • The states of the Third Germany;
  • Provinces or regions of composite states, such as Hungary, the Illyrian Provinces, post-partition Poland;
  • Free cities and city states.

Confirmed keynote speakers: Prof. Dr Michael Broers, Prof. Dr Marjolein ‘t Hart.

The proceedings of the conference will be published. To ensure a coherence of the publication, contributors will be asked to submit a definitive manuscript that adheres to a loose template, which shall be communicated in due course.

The conference may include a registration fee of up to €50,-

Abstracts of circa 250 words are invited for papers of 20 minutes to be delivered at the conference in Rotterdam, 25-28 June 2020. Panel proposals of 3-4 papers are welcomed. Abstracts (and questions) to be sent to Dr Mark Edward Hay: WarAndTaxation@gmail.com by 31 October 2019.



Dr Mark Edward Hay

Lecturer in History                                             Economic History Society Power Research Fellow

Erasmus University Rotterdam                      University of London

Department of History                                               Institute of Historical Research





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Hadewijch Zwart studeerde (cultuur)geschiedenis aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen een de Universiteit Utrecht en is communicatiemedewerker bij het KNHG en webredacteur van Historici.nl.
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