Courts and the Funding of Business in Nineteenth-Century France
19th-century France, commercial courts, partnerships, bankruptcies, credit
This paper aims at inserting courts, their archives, and conflict resolution more generally in debates on the funding of preindustrial business. Part I sums up findings in French judicial sources from the literature. Those sources depict an economy where corporations, the stock exchange, and banks played a marginal role; where many goods were produced by sub-sub-contractors ultimately working for wholesale merchants; where supplier credit and commercial paper, along with family loans, were the main sources of credit; and yet an economy that was in many ways modern and growing, even if it was based on institutions deemed more or less archaic after the 1870s. Courts, of course, were part of these institutions. Part II discusses whether and how they mattered for the funding of business.