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Economies and Political Economies

Marx and many of his followers rooted revolutionary activity in the realm of economics. Both the French and Russian revolutionary leaders had new notions of economic order. What were they and what part did they play in the revolutions? To what extent did new forms of economic organisation emerge from the two revolutions?


  1. To what extent were the French and Russian revolutions driven by economic forces?
  2. What role did economics play in the strategies and policies of the revolutionary leaders?
  3. What economic impact did the revolutions have?

Core Reading


  • Jean-Pierre Hirsch, ‘Revolutionary France: Cradle of Free Enterprise’, American Historical Review, 94: 5 (1989), 1281-1289.
  • Charles Walton, ‘The Fall from Eden: The Free-Trade Origins of the French Revolution’, in Desan, Hunt and Nelson (eds.), The French Revolution in Global Perspective (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2013), 44-56.
  • Richard Whatmore, ‘Adam Smith's Role in the French Revolution’, Past and Present, no. 175, 65-89.


  • Stone, N The Eastern Front 1914-17 (Hodder and Stoughton London 1975; Penguin ed Harmondsworth 1998) ch 13 ‘War and Revolution’
  • Gattrell, P Russia’s First World War: A Social and Economic History (Pearson/Longman London 2005) chs 5, 6, 7, 10
  • Markevich Andrei and Harrison Mark (2011). Great War, Civil War, and Recovery: Russia's National Income, 1913 to 1928 The Journal of Economic History 71 pp 672-703
  • Bukharin, N and Preobrazhensky, E The ABC of Communism ch 3 para 19 and 20

Further Reading


  • Allan Potofsky, Constructing Paris in the Age of Revolution (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009).
  • Paul Cheney, Revolutionary Commerce: Globalization and the French Monarchy (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2010).
  • John Shovlin, The political economy of virtue : luxury, patriotism, and the origins of the French Revolution (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2006).
  • James Livesey, Making Democracy in the French Revolution (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2001).
  • Florin Aftalion, The French Revolution, an Economic Interpretation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
  • Jeff Horn, The Path Not Taken: French Industrialization in the Age of Revolution (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2006).
  • Steven L. Kaplan, La fin des corporations (Paris: Fayard, 2001).
  • Philippe Minard, La fortune du colbertisme: État et industrie dans la France des Lumières (Paris: Fayard, 1998).
  • Emma Rothschild, Economic sentiments : Adam Smith, Condorcet, and the Enlightenment (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2001).
  • Michael Sonenscher, Before the Deluge: Public Debt, Inequality, and the Intellectual Origins of the French Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007) and his Sans-Culottes: An Eighteenth-Century Emblem in the French Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).
  • William Sewell, The Rhetoric of a Bourgeois Revolution: The Abbé Sieyès and What is the Third Estate? (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 1994), esp. chp 2.


  • Barnett, Vincent The Revolutionary Russian Economy 1890-1941 (Routledge, London 2004)
  • Gatrell, Peter, The Tsarist Economy 1850-1914 (Batsford 1986)
  • Malle S. The Economic Organization of War Communism, 1918--21, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1985)
  • Carr, E.H. The Bolshevik Revolution vol 2 The Economic Order (Macmillan, London 1978) esp chs on ‘Theories’ and ‘War Communism’
  • Dobb, Maurice Russian Economic development since the Revolution (reprint Routledge, London 2012 original ed. 1948; revised ed 1966) chs 2-5