The hypothesis that animates this paper is that French society had already integrated universal objects, such as facts, ideas and money into social practice. This paper interrogates the genealogy of universal objects in France in the eighteenth century. In particular it establishes the democratization of debt. Using material from the Languedoc to illustrates how debt and credit became ubiquitous features of local contexts. Money operated as a object that allowed communication across boundaries and opened up the possibility of universal judgment. The Declaration leveraged this kind of social innovation into a credible vision of a renewed basis for political community. The paper concludes with some observations on how these two aspects of universalistic politics continued to interact across the revolutionary decade.
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