The great demarcation : the French Revolution and the invention of modern property

Blaufarb, Rafe, author

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Rafe Blaufarb
  • Format Books
  • Publication Oxford, UK ; New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2016]
  • Physical Details
    • xiv, 282 pages ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 9780199778799, 0199778795
  • OCLC ocn927192544


  • The French Revolution remade the system of property-holding that had existed in France before 1789. The revolutionary changes aimed at two fundamental goals: the removal of formal public power from the sphere of property and the excision of property from the realm of sovereignty. The revolutionaries accomplished these two aims by abolishing privately-owned forms of power, such as jurisdictional lordship and venal public office, and by dismantling the Crown domain, thus making the state purely sovereign. This brought about a Great Demarcation: a radical distinction between property and power from which flowed the critical distinctions between the political and the social, state and society, sovereignty and ownership, the public and private. It destroyed the conceptual basis of the Old Regime, laid the foundation of France's new constitutional order, and crystallized modern ways of thinking about polities and societies.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 259-270) and index.


  • Introduction -- Talking property before 1789 -- Loyseau's legacy : the night of August 4th and the first abolition of feudalism -- The death and rebirth of the direct domain : the second feudal abolition -- The invention of the national domain -- Emptying the domain : the problem of engagements -- When the nation became a lord : feudal dues as Biens Nationaux -- Epilogue
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