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Money in the Western Legal TraditionMiddle Ages to Bretton Woods$
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David Fox and Wolfgang Ernst

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704744.001.0001

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Monetary and Currency Problems in the Light of Early Modern Litigation

Monetary and Currency Problems in the Light of Early Modern Litigation

(p.295) 16 Monetary and Currency Problems in the Light of Early Modern Litigation
Money in the Western Legal Tradition

Anja Amend-Traut

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses select early modern monetary economy and policy issues brought before the German Imperial Chamber Court. A survey of source material from various archives focuses on court cases challenging the consequences of currency debasement that resulted from the great inflation of the years 1620–23. The primary focus of research was on the relationships between economic activities and forensic legal practice. The court cases underscore the difficulties faced by merchants and private persons as a result of currency fluctuations over time. The chapter discusses legal, social and economic effects of the inflation: It shows, how legal practice dealt with the inflation and its consequences. While large portions of the population were reduced to subsistence by rising pricing, a small number of profiteers engaged in speculative coin trade. The practice of so-called tipping and see-sawing led to a financial crisis throughout the Holy Roman Empire.

Keywords:   Annuity, Coin Edicts, criminal prosecution supported by private persons, currency fluctuations, currency debasement, German Imperial Chamber Court, inflation, loan, legal review of sovereign orders, ‘tippers and see-sawers’

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