In the traditional historiography the end of the early modern period of economic history came very suddenly as the political and social system collapsed. Between 1780 and 1800 a whole political and social structure which had appeared rock-solid and secure collapsed into ruins. Beginning with the reforms of Joseph II in the Habsburg Empire in the 1780s, but really accelerating with the end of the Absolute Monarchy in France from the summer of 1789 onwards, the pre-modern world seemed to come to an end with startling suddenness and, it must be said, with startling ease. By 1815 there can be little doubt that the modern period had started; by that date, the political and social map of Europe had been irrevocably changed and the Age of Industry had begun.
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