Emergence of a Bureaucracy: The Florentine Patricians, 1530-1790

Emergence of a Bureaucracy: The Florentine Patricians, 1530-1790

R. BURR LITCHFIELD
Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 424
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7ztxf8
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  • Book Info
    Emergence of a Bureaucracy: The Florentine Patricians, 1530-1790
    Book Description:

    Burr Litchfield traces the development of the patrician elite of Florence from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, the growth of a bureaucratic state in Tuscany during this period, and the changing relationship of the patricians to the state apparatus. His discussion of this largely neglected period of Italian history shows that the elite of the Florentine Renaissance Republic continued as the main component of the urban office-holding aristocracy under the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, and that they had an important role in the transition from Renaissance communal institutions to those of a regional state.

    Originally published in 1987.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5826-2
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. LISTS OF FIGURES AND ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. ABBREVIATIONS AND UNITS OF MEASUREMENT
    (pp. xiii-2)
  7. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-10)

    In the eighteenth century, Florence still looked much as it did during the Renaissance, appearing immobile through the vicissitudes of time. Yet as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries it had undergone an important evolution in government. The end of the Republic in 1530 marked the beginning of a new stage in Florentine history. The Medici dukes preserved the independence of the Florentine state and extended the territory of the Republic to include the state of Siena to the south. They also adapted the institutions of the Republic to the government of...

  8. PART I: THE PATRICIANS AS A SOCIAL GROUP FROM THE REPUBLIC TO THE HAPSBURG-LORRAINE
    • 1 THE LEGACY OF THE RENAISSANCE REPUBLIC
      (pp. 13-23)

      To see the development and particular character of the Florentine elite through time, one must consider its medieval and Renaissance origins and the changes that affected it under the sixteenth- to eighteenth-century dukes. Although never a legally closed body like the nobles of Venice or Genova, and still less a feudal class like the magnates of Sicily or the Kingdom of Naples, the Florentine patricians were nonetheless similar to urban nobles elsewhere in Italy.¹ The term “patrician” is what the Florentines ultimately adopted to evoke their own particular character. The feudal nobility of Tuscany had lost most of its importance...

    • 2 ADAPTATION TO THE SIXTEENTH- AND SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY MEDICI COURT
      (pp. 24-51)

      Some fifteenth-century houses disappeared from Florence in the crisis that marked the end of the Republic. The fortunes of others were reversed in the establishment of the Duchy, and many died out or disappeared from the city. Also, newcomers rose to prominence at the ducal Court in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and feudal nobles and houses branded asmagnati, which the Republic had kept at a distance, returned to influence. Yet many houses of the fifteenth-century elite endured through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and transformed themselves into nobles of the Medici Court. Their survival owed much to the...

    • 3 THE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY LIBRI DI ORO OF THE HAPSBURG-LORRAINE
      (pp. 52-62)

      The outcome of the patricians’ transformation into nobles emerges clearly through a 1750 law that required the registration of patricians and nobles after extinction of the Medici, under the new dynasty of the Hapsburg-Lorraine. The dukes had recognized as nobles Florentinepopolaniof old establishment,magnati, feudal nobles, Knights of St. Stephen, patricians of provincial towns, and new nobles of their own creation. These groups overlapped to a large extent, but they never recognized the nobles of Tuscany as a single order or estate, as one would anticipate in northern Europe. To be sure, nobles were identifiable. They could be...

  9. PART II: THE NEW BUREAUCRACY OF THE MEDICI DUKES IN THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES
    • 4 FROM MAGISTRATES TO FUNCTIONARIES
      (pp. 65-83)

      The law of 1750 had defined the legal status of the patricians still largely in terms of the regulations that had once determined the admission of citizens to offices in the magistracies of the Florentine Republic. Officeholding had always been a chief privilege of the elite, and admission to the borse from which magistrates were selected was a difficult and complicated process. Under the Duchy, descendants of the fifteenth-century officeholding group continued to be selected for the Senate, the Council of 200, and the rotating magistracies and provincial judgeships. But there was a fundamental change in the system of officeholding...

    • 5 THE EXPANSION OF THE CENTRAL BUREAUCRACY
      (pp. 84-109)

      The general trend in the increase in number of functionaries can be followed through lists of offices and officeholders that were drawn up at different times by the officials of the Tratte. The amount of paper that remains from the ducal bureaucracy is enormous, and through two and a half centuries the secretaries of the Tratte created a large archive concerning appointments. From time to time they also prepared general surveys of the bureaucracy for internal use, as a record of the means by which offices were filled. These lists are revealing documents because they describe offices in the central...

    • 6 CENTRAL AND PROVINCIAL OFFICES
      (pp. 110-126)

      The offices in the central bureaucracy were situated in Florence, but their jurisdiction extended well beyond the walls of the capital. In the sixteenth century their jurisdiction was exercised most effectively in the Contado, nearest to the city, where Florentine rule was longest and most completely established. At a greater distance was the territorial state, the Distretto, which completed the Florentine Dominion with its privileged towns and feudal jurisdictions, and after 1557, the State of Siena. Siena continued to be governed separately from Florence into the eighteenth century with its own administration. The dukes also acquired a number of small,...

  10. PART III: THE PATRICIANS IN THE BUREAUCRACY
    • 7 THEORY AND PRACTICE OF THE MIXED STATE
      (pp. 129-140)

      The changing relationship between magistrates and functionaries was reflected unclearly in the native political thought of Tuscany in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a result partly of the political calm that descended onto Florence under Cosimo I. The period of the Medici dukes was not a bright one for Tuscan political theory. By the time of Ferdinando I in the 1590s and the publication of works such as Scipione Ammirato’sDiscorsi sopra Cornelio Tacitoin 1594, there was no longer the conflict and uncertainty, nor were there the dissident groups of politically involved intellectuals who had helped to generate the...

    • 8 THE RELOCATION OF THE PATRICIANS BY TYPE OF OFFICE
      (pp. 141-154)

      The relocation of the patricians can best be followed through different types of offices and in different sectors of the bureaucracy, for the elite settled more easily into some areas than into others. The whole period was one in which rotating magistrates were declining in relative importance, and thus it does not seem surprising that the rotating offices became progressively of less interest to patrician office seekers. In addition, the social distance between “nobles” and “citizens” in the scrutinies for the magistracies widened, an anomaly between patrician senators and lesser citizens that evoked comment at the time of the creation...

  11. PART IV: THE PATRIMONIALISM OF PATRICIAN FUNCTIONARIES
    • 9 TRAINING AND APPOINTMENT
      (pp. 157-181)

      The influx of patricians into the permanent offices clearly affected the quality of administration, which did not develop in a strictly linear way in early modern states, so that the aims of one period were always realized directly in the mode of operation of the immediately succeeding one. Indeed, in some ways the ducal administration of the sixteenth century was more modern than it was in the seventeenth century, when there was growth of abuses of types that Tuscany shared with other states during this period. Historians generally identify a transitional phase in the development of bureaucracies, which Weber described...

    • ILLUSTRATIONS
      (pp. None)
    • 10 CAREERS AND SALARIES
      (pp. 182-200)

      Considering the influence that could be exercised over appointments, one wonders what kind of men from the elite acquired offices, and what patterns their careers assumed. The abuses of patrimonialism increased during the seventeenth century and grew partly out of a laxity of rules for appointment and advancement, which led to subentry into office and to the large increase in plural officeholding. Abuses also grew out of the collection of salaries and other opportunities that developed for personal gain. These problems undoubtedly reflected the persistence of communal habits of participation in government that the elite had inherited from the Republic,...

  12. PART V: PATRICIAN WEALTH AND DUCAL POLICY IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
    • 11 THE CHANGING FORTUNES OF THE PATRICIANS
      (pp. 203-232)

      It is significant that the movement of patricians into the permanent offices coincided with the general economic crisis of the seventeenth century that contributed to what has sometimes been called the economic “decline of Italy.” This was partly because the dukes, in the distribution of offices, assisted patrician houses in a period of adversity. But the relationship of the patricians to the Medici bureaucracy was not merely passive. They had deeply established interests in traditional industries and commerce of Florence, and despite an increasing reinvestment of wealth in landed estates, they preserved a mercantilistic view of policy, which favored protection...

    • 12 THE ECONOMIC POLICY OF PATRIMONIALISM
      (pp. 233-262)

      Ducal legislation of the seventeenth century reflects the mercantile policy that protected the patricians’ interests in the capital. Here it is difficult to distinguish clearly between policy of the dukes and of the elite, because the aims of the patricians and dukes coincided in many respects. The dukes consistently protected traditional interests of the capital, but there was a shift in emphasis between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The policy of the first dukes was more favorable to the Duchy as a whole, with new privileges granted to Pisa, the establishment of Livorno as a free port, and efforts to...

  13. PART VI: THE REMAKING OF THE BUREAUCRACY IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY BY THE HAPSBURG-LORRAINE
    • 13 THE REGENCY FOR FRANCIS STEPHEN, 1737–65
      (pp. 265-282)

      Thus far we have followed the patricians from the fifteenth-century Republic into the offices of the Medici bureaucracy of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It remains to trace their progress through the Hapsburg reforms of the eighteenth century when the Tuscan state acquired the form it preserved until it was absorbed by the unified Italian monarchy in 1860. We must also begin to assess what officeholding meant to the patricians, something difficult to do in terms of theories of the state that were current at the time, partly because Florentines wrote little about politics. In contemporary political thought, when an...

    • 14 THE LEOPOLDINE REFORMS, 1765–90
      (pp. 283-312)

      The reforms tentatively foreseen by the Regency in the 1740s were carried out by Archduke Peter Leopold between 1765 and 1790. The Leopoldine reforms went far beyond what had been envisioned under Francis Stephen and Richecourt, and they also defined the Duchy’s system of administration until 1860. The new duke was the second surviving son of Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen. His elder brother Joseph ultimately succeeded as emperor, and Peter Leopold was intended at first to be governor of Tuscany. But the death of Francis Stephen in August of 1765 brought about Peter Leopold’s full succession as Grand Duke.¹...

    • 15 THE EXIT OF THE PATRICIANS FROM OFFICE
      (pp. 313-335)

      Institutional aspects of the Leopoldine reforms have long been of interest to Tuscan historians, as have the chief functionaries, Giulio Rucellai, Pompeo Neri, Angelo Tavanti, and Francesco Maria Gianni, who were the duke’s collaborators. But little attention has been given to the effect of the reforms on the lesser personnel of the bureaucracy, and in fact there was a revolution in the social identity of officeholders. The reforms also introduced changes in procedures of administration and were accompanied by a new orientation of local politics. Between the 1730s and 1780s the patricians practically disappeared, not only from the places they...

  14. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 336-338)

    The preceding pages have set forth contours of the long-term development of the Florentine and Tuscan state in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, a period largely neglected in the annals of Italian statecraft. Regional developments are the components of national ones, and judging from the Florentine bureaucracy under the Medici and Hapsburg-Lorraine, this period was an important one in the formation of Italian regional states, although it saw neither the beginning nor the end of the state-building process. Medieval and Renaissance developments set the basic communal character of the city-state in Tuscany, and defined the elaboration of administrative techniques that...

  15. APPENDIX A TABLES ON OFFICES, OFFICEHOLDERS, AND SALARIES, 1551–1784
    (pp. 339-361)
  16. APPENDIX B SUMMARY INFORMATION ABOUT PATRICIAN HOUSES
    (pp. 362-382)
  17. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 383-396)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 397-407)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 408-408)