In pre-Revolutionary 18th century France, the Corvée was an obligation imposed on the peasantry to do unpaid labour on the roads.

The Corvée was imposed during the 1730s, and was supposed to have been carried out during times of the year when agricultural labour was not in high demand - thus (in the official reasoning) avoiding the need of imposing yet another tax on the already-burdened peasantry (as if the Corvée wasn't a burden).

In 1787, the Corvée was substantially reduced, and again in 1790. On July 17, 1792, the Convention abolished the Corvée entirely.

Cor`vee" (k?r`v" ∨ -v?"), n. [F. corv'ee, fr. LL. corvada, corrogata, fr. L. corrogare to entreat togetther; cor- + rogare to ask.] FeudalLaw

An obligation to perform certain services, as the repair of roads, for the lord or sovereign.

 

© Webster 1913.

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