By Allan Potofsky

Interpreting the social and political background of employees and marketers engaged in developing the French capital from 1763-1815, this publication argues that Paris building was once a middle zone within which 'archaic' and 'innovative' practices have been symbiotically utilized by guilds, the kingdom, and companies to release the economic revolution in France.

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35 The founding of a national labor market in France, side by side with consumer markets and increased state and municipal investment, was another vital component of French capitalism. And, here 14 Constructing Paris in the Age of Revolution too, the building sector was at the center of the French version of the great transformation from a feudal to a commercial capitalist economy. The attraction for the French peasantry of urban centers undergoing renewal and expansion in the eighteenth century made labor flow toward the cities, first, a seasonal and, increasingly during the Revolution and the nineteenth century, a permanent migration.

Reflects the widely shared perception that the fragile equilibrium in the social composition of Paris, with its range of characters, rich and poor alike, only coexisted on borrowed time by the second half of the eighteenth century. His starkly alarmist conclusion that more harm than good would come from extirpating the undesirable parts of Paris was a call for a resigned tolerance that the Crown and the Parisian administration might have heeded at the end of the ancien régime. Contrary to Mercier’s remark about the affinity between large cities and absolutist governments, late eighteenth-century Paris posed a number of insurmountable challenges for the monarchy at the end of the ancien régime.

As a trade corporation overseeing private construction sites, the Chambre enforced a precise system of controls, inspections, salary structures, and commercial transactions. 1 Anonymous, Construction of the Hôtel de Salm, ca. 1788, detail. The stonecutters are in the foreground while the architect, with map in hand, apparently consults with the proprietor off in the distance. Courtesy of the musée Carnavelet. assure the expansion of Paris by carving out entire quarters in what had once been the outer faubourgs to the west and northeast of Paris.

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