Professor Publishes Book on Economic Development in Early Modern France

Historian Jeff Horn releases fifth book, Economic Development in Early Modern France: The Privilege of Liberty, 1650-1820.

Historian and author Jeff Horn, Ph.D., professor of history at Manhattan College, released his fifth book, Economic Development in Early Modern France: The Privilege of Liberty, 1650-1820 this month. Published by Cambridge University Press, Horn’s book focuses on the relationship between privilege and liberty and its impacts on early industrialization, comparative economic development and the outbreak of the French Revolution.

“Guilds, privileges, monopoly and the French monarchy: these features are usually evoked to explain France’s distinctive path and its slow growth compared to Britain,” said Alessandro Stanziani, Ph.D., professor of global history at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences). “In this provocative and innovative study, Jeff Horn subverts these common views and discloses the real possibilities and dynamics of French economy and institutions by waging the privilege of liberty. A must read.”

Horn’s book discovers the innovations of entrepreneurs, workers, inventors and customers and government policies from the Fronde, a series of civil wars from 1648-1653, and the French Restoration after Napoleon Bonaparte was ousted in 1814.

“Spanning the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, Economic Development in Early Modern France sheds new light on Old Regime reforms, the Revolution’s economic impact and the survival of privileges into the 1800s,” said Philip T. Hoffman, Ph.D., Rea A. and Lela G. Axline Professor of Business Economics and Professor of History at California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Prior to this publication, Horn served as author or editor of four other books including: Reconceptualizing the Industrial Revolution (2010), edited with Leonard N. Rosenband and Merritt Roe Smith; The Industrial Revolution: Milestones in Business History (2007); The Path Not Taken: French Industrialization in the Age of Revolution, 1750-1830 (2006); and Qui parle pour la nation? Les élections et les élus de la Champagne méridionale, 1765-1830 (2004). He also published several articles and book chapters predominately on subjects related to the Industrial and French Revolutions. In addition, 50 of his book reviews have appeared in the following publications: American Historical Review; Social History; Metascience, History and Technology; English Historical Review; French History; Physics World; Journal of Interdisciplinary History; Journal of Modern History; International Labor and Working-Class History; The Historian; The Canadian Journal of History; History of European Ideas; European Legacy; Business History Review; H-France, H-Genocide; and EH-Net.

As a history professor, Horn’s teaching interests include global terrorism, the rise of European empires, and genocide, particularly the Holocaust. In the past, he served as director of Manhattan College’s Holocaust Resource Center (now called the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Center) from 2007-2011. He also was president of the Western Society for French History from 2013-2014.

Horn has received research grants from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, New York University’s Faculty Research Network, Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Manhattan College and Stetson University.

In March 2016, Horn plans to release his sixth book, The Industrial Revolution: History, Documents, and Key Questions.

For more information about Economic Development in Early Modern France: The Privilege of Liberty, 1650-1820, visit

MC Staff