Louis XIV, Colbert and the Ordonnance du commerce of 1673

Status: This talk is in preparation - details may change
Status: This talk has been cancelled

To be rescheduled in 2023

The Ordonnance du commerce of 1673 is considered as the dies a quo of the royal normative discipline of business law in France; however the Ordonnance has important precedents. Since the second half of the 16th century, the King of France intervened often in business law. The frequency and extent of these interventions by the King, hitherto non-existent, are obviously not fortuitous: it concerns not only the development of the absolute state under the impetus of Louis XIV, but also the integration of the existence of the monarchical state into the mentality of the merchants. The demands of the Estates General and other assemblies of merchants and notables, show that trade had taken the measure of the state power and appeals widely for its intervention. In this context, one most important figure is doubtless the one of Colbert, Louis XIV’s Controller General of Finances (1665-1683), Secretary of State for the King’s Household and Secretary of State for the Navy (1669-1683).

He inspired and promoted an interventionist and mercantilist economic policy, later known as “Colbertism”, and encouraged the development of trade and industry in France by setting up factories, establishing royal monopolies and creating commercial companies with royal privileges.