Finance and Government under Maria Theresia 1740-1780

Volume I: Society and Government
Author(s): 
Dickson, P.G.M.
ISBN: 
0198225709
Date published: 
January 1987
Hardback
Price: 
£52.50
Pages: 
510

This large-scale study provides a new and comprehensive picture of finance, government, and society in the Habsburg lands in the reign of the great reforming Empress Maria Theresia of Austria (1740-1780). Despite extensive work on the subject in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many aspects of Maria Theresia's reign have remained obscure, and historians have been uncertain whether to place her in the same tradition of Enlightened Despotism as her son Joseph II (1780-1790). By drawing together present historical concerns with the structure of society, government, and p ublic finance, this two-volume work makes the most thorough reassessment of the reign yet published. The author argues that the leading features of the Empress's domestic policy were financial and institutional reforms aimed at developing greater military power. Hence, although in principle favouring economic and social progress, she was compelled to increase tax burdens and extend the liability to military service, thus arousing popular discontent. Making extensive use of original sources, the book places royal finance firmly in its social and administrative context, and reveals many of the practical constraints on reforming policies. The conclusions throw new light on Austrian society and government in the eighteenth century, and make an important contribution to the little-studied history of central and eastern Europe in the Age of Enlightenment.

 

This large-scale study provides a new and comprehensive picture of finance, government, and society in the Habsburg lands in the reign of the great reforming Empress Maria Theresia. Using original sources, the book throws new light on Austrian society and government in the 18th century.