Maximum, Law of The

Maximum, Law of The

 

a system of forced taxation of prices and wages, established in France in 1793-94 during the Jacobin dictatorship.

The establishment of maximum prices on foodstuffs and necessities was demanded by the poorest strata of the population because of the depreciation of money and the deterioration of the supply of food after the foreign intervention began. The fight to secure the law was led by the Enrages (“wild men”) with the support of the Jacobins. On May 4, 1793, the Convention, despite the resistance of the Girondists, adopted a law on firm prices for grain (the first Maximum). Under the pressure of the Paris plebeians, the Convention established uniform prices throughout the republic for grain, flour, and fodder on Sept. 11, 1793, and set up the general Maximum (the second Maximum) on soap, salt, tobacco, and other necessities on September 29. However, at the same time (September 29) a maximum was established on the wages of workers; this infringed on their interests. The law of the third Maximum (Mar. 20, 1794) provided for the doubling of prices while maintaining the former tax on wages. This caused dissatisfaction among the poor and the workers. After the Thermidorian Reaction (July 1794), the Maximum was virtually eliminated, and on Dec. 24, 1794, it was officially abolished.

Full browser ?