Assignats: currency from the French Revolution

Discussion in 'Economics and Finance' started by Aptrgangr, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. Aptrgangr nulla crux, nulla corona

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    Assignats: currency from the French Revolution

    It’s written in the history book: printing more money has never solved an economic crisis. The assignats that were in circulation in France and the territories occupied by the French Revolutionaries between 1789 and 1796 are a golden example. Several exhibits of assignats can be found in Room 4 of the Museum, including a 10 000-franc assignat dating back to 1795. This paper money that was initially intended to be used to buy church property given over to the nation had been diverted from its original objective and turned into an unlimited currency, issued without control, which led to a major inflation crisis.
    At the end of the Ancien Régime, France was in the grips of a major financial crisis. The people were starving, the public deficit was enormous and the kingdom was virtually bankrupt. The Revolution did not help. It was in this dire economic context that the assignat was created. In 1789, the French King Louis XVI convened the Estates-General with a view to finding a way out of the crisis. This meeting of the French estates of the realm produced a National Constituent Assembly, a body tasked with finding a way to relieve the public debt burden. This Assembly decided to abolish the Ancien Régime’s tax system, regarded as the people’s oppressor. At the time, there were many different taxes levied very unequally, leading to general unrest and eventually revolt. (...)
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