Adam J. Polk

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Baker

Third Advisor

Dr. Lucius Hallet IV


Agriculture, France, historical geography, ancient religion, GIS

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The French Revolution has been studied from myriad perspectives. The majority of scholarship focuses on the political and urban chaos of the times. Agricultural conditions and the influence of onerous taxation and stagnant agricultural options are given only a cursory examination in most research. This thesis aims to investigate the relationship between agronomic and environmental conditions and the eruption of violence in urban centers during the French Revolution and the years leading up to it (1708-1768). This period prior to the French Revolution serves as a template to investigate the nature of the rural-agricultural influences, with a particular focus paid to the role of grain production and prices. Data was collected primarily from the French National Archives and from other historical documents and reports. Methods in historical GIS are employed to further the scholarship regarding this period of history. GIS allows clear illustration and analysis of the political and economic factors which impacted the agricultural practices during this period, and the subsequent extent of the rural/urban relationship and potential agronomic influences that led to the ultimate collapse of the Ancien Régime.