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French Revolution and French fertility

English translation of Etienne Van de Walle: “French fertility in the 19th century,” by Sheila Newman

Subject: The 1789 Revolution and Fertility in France. This work is of great interest because it contradicts what we are constantly told by the growth lobby, the ABC, SBS, and the Murdoch and Fairfax Press. In clear historical terms the findings in this article, long accepted in France, contradict the so-called demographic transition, which says that populations reproduce to the maximum until they have completed industrialisation. France arrived at a steady state of population subsequent to the French Revolution and industrialisation had nothing to do with it. In my opinion the author's excellent historical demography is interpreted within a flawed paradigm, which is the notion of social and material progress as a some kind of chronologically programmed biological evolution for humans. Leaving that aside, this article is a rich resource which has, as far as I can see, been neglected since its publication by mainstream Anglophone demographic ‘theory’, presumably because it undermines the notion of overpopulation being inevitable and shows that a free people can run its own affairs without some overarching authority of centralised church or government. I translated this article because I could find no previous translations, although the author went to live in the United States where he was well known and wrote the piece (in French) from there. I could see its importance because the relationship between the revolution, population dynamics and localised self-government is the subject of my upcoming third book in the Demography, Territory Law series, which will be called: Land-tenure and the origins of democracy in France.

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