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Jeff Horn

Jeff Horn is Professor of History at Manhattan College and the author of three books, including The Path Not Taken: French Industrialization in the Age of Revolution, 1750-1839 (MIT Press, 2006).

Titles by This Author

French Industrialization in the Age of Revolution, 1750-1830

In The Path Not Taken, Jeff Horn argues that--contrary to standard, Anglocentric accounts--French industrialization was not a failed imitation of the laissez-faire British model but the product of a distinctive industrial policy that led, over the long term, to prosperity comparable to Britain's. Despite the upheavals of the Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, France developed and maintained its own industrial strengths. France was then able to take full advantage of the new technologies and industries that emerged in the "second industrial revolution," and by the end of the nineteenth century some of France's industries were outperforming Britain's handily. The Path Not Taken shows that the foundations of this success were laid during the first industrial revolution.Horn posits that the French state's early attempt to emulate Britain's style of industrial development foundered because of revolutionary politics. The "threat from below" made it impossible for the state or entrepreneurs to control and exploit laborers in the British manner. The French used different means to manage labor unruliness and encourage innovation and entrepreneurialism. Technology is at the heart of Horn's analysis, and he shows that France, unlike England, often preferred still-profitable older methods of production in order to maintain employment and forestall revolution. Horn examines the institutional framework established by Napoleon's most important Minister of the Interior, Jean-Antoine Chaptal. He focuses on textiles, chemicals, and steel, looks at how these new institutions created a new industrial environment. Horn's illuminating comparison of French and British industrialization should stir debate among historians, economists, and political scientists.

Titles by This Editor

This collection of essays offers new perspectives on the Industrial Revolution as a global phenomenon. The fifteen contributors go beyond the longstanding view of industrialization as a linear process marked by discrete stages. Instead, they examine a lengthy and creative period in the history of industrialization, 1750 to 1914, reassessing the nature of and explanations for England’s industrial primacy, and comparing significant industrial developments in countries ranging from China to Brazil. Each chapter explores a distinctive national production ecology, a complex blend of natural resources, demographic pressures, cultural impulses, technological assets, and commercial practices. At the same time, the chapters also reveal the portability of skilled workers and the permeability of political borders. The Industrial Revolution comes to life in discussions of British eagerness for stylish, middle-class products; the Enlightenment’s contribution to European industrial growth; early America’s incremental (rather than revolutionary) industrialization; the complex connections between Czarist and Stalinist periods of industrial change in Russia; Japan’s late and rapid turn to mechanized production; and Brazil’s industrial-financial boom. By exploring unique national patterns of industrialization as well as reciprocal exchanges and furtive borrowing among these states, the book refreshes the discussion of early industrial transformations and raises issues still relevant in today’s era of globalization.