The Soul of Commerce

Credit, Property, and Politics in Leipzig, 1750-1840

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This volume provides a new interpretation of the social and cultural context that shaped German political reforms from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Focusing on Electoral Saxony, the analysis demonstrates how the commercial city of Leipzig shaped the Saxon Enlightenment and then had a powerful influence on reforming the territorial state. The study presents extensive archival research to develop a careful account of Leipzig’s social and political history and then argues persuasively that the city played a catalytic role in the introduction of a Saxon constitutional monarchy after 1830. The volume emphasizes the role of pre-modern urban political and legal norms in shaping the first liberal reforms in nineteenth-century Germany.
Robert Beachy, Ph.D. (1998) in History, University of Chicago, is Assistant Professor of History at Goucher College. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German social and cultural history and has also edited several volumes of essays.
List of Illustrations, Tables, and Figures Acknowledgements Abbreviations 1. Private Property and Burgher Reform in Central Europe 2. The Entrepôt and the Electorate: Leipzig and Saxony in 1750 3. The Seven Years’ War: Prussian Occupation and the Saxon Rétablissement 4. Urban Enlightenment and the Culture of Critique 5. The French Occupation of Saxony: War Tribute and Public Debt 6. The Council in Crisis, 1814–1830 7. Revolt and Reform: The Political Transformation of Saxony Conclusion Bibliography Index
Of interest to scholars of early modern and modern German history, as well as historians of the Napoleonic era and European urban and social history.