Economistes and the Reinvention of Empire: France in the Americas and Africa, C.1750-1802

Pernille Røge (Author)


Exploring the myriad efforts to strengthen colonial empire that unfolded in response to France's imperial crisis in the second half of the eighteenth century, Pernille Røge examines how political economists, colonial administrators, planters, and entrepreneurs shaped the recalibration of empire in the Americas and in Africa alongside the intensification of the French Caribbean plantation complex. Emphasising the intellectual contributions of the Economistes (also known as the Physiocrats) to formulate a new colonial doctrine, the book highlights the advent of an imperial discourse of commercial liberalisation, free labour, agricultural development, and civilisation. With her careful documentation of the reciprocal impacts of economic ideas, colonial policy and practices, Røge also details key connections between Ancien Régime colonial innovation and the French Revolution's republican imperial agenda. The result is a novel perspective on the struggles to reinvent colonial empire in the final decades of the Ancien Régime and its influences on the French Revolution and beyond.

Product Details

Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
August 20, 2020
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.66 inches | 0.93 pounds

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About the Author

Pernille Røge is Assistant Professor of History and convener of the Early Modern Worlds Initiative at the University of Pittsburgh. She is author of numerous articles and book chapters on the eighteenth-century French, Danish, and British colonial empires. She is also co-editor of The Political Economy of Empire in the Early Modern World (2013), with Sophus Reinert, and of the International Review of Social History's special issue on 'Free and Unfree Labor in Atlantic and Indian Ocean Port Cities (Seventeenth-Nineteenth Centuries)', with Pepijn Brandon and Niklas Frykman.