This chapter considers aspects of the policing of politics in the widest sense during the period. Municipal policemen took care to make sure that crowds were not transformed into “tumults” or even, in the case of the silkworkers of Lyon, into insurrections. Markets and customs barriers (octrois) — where those bringing goods into town were assessed taxes — were particular points of police surveillance, particularly during times of grain riots in France, popular protest against the high price of grain. Commissaires de police routinely watched cafés, cabarets, and other public spaces, as well as occasions, in addition to grain riots, when ordinary people manifested support for what they considered popular justice.
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