Robert Fulton

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Sandberg, Brian, 1968-

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of History


France--History--Louis XIV; 1643-1715; Louis XIV; King of France; 1638-1715--Influence; Civil-military relations--France--History; Public administration--France--History


This dissertation examines the operations of the civilian administration of the War Department in early modern France during the reign of Louis XIV. Specifically, it analyzes the documents that represent a wide variety of information which circulated within the War Department's administrative networks. I connect these sources to the work of a new group of civilian agents, the premier commis, and utilize them to infer in what manner they were able to effectively manage a rapidly increasing volume of information materials and to influence state development in a profound manner. This examination found all of these sources to be increasing not only in volume but in sophistication and standardization, reflecting a growing sense of professionalism and specialization within the civilian administration. In this endeavor, the premier commis in the bureaux worked to continuously manage administrative operations and workloads, progressively constructing an information state between the 1670s and the 1690s. The premier commis continually struggled with rapid and increasing information flows, while crafting regular and systematic methods of managing and ordering the massive amounts of information that circulated within War Department networks. Their efforts to manage the diverse logistical needs of French armies resulted in growing administrative power which reflected a transformation to administrative governance in France.


Advisors: Brian Sandberg.||Committee members: Aaron S. Fogleman; Ismael Montana.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


viii, 495 pages




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