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Patrons Brokers and Clients in Seventeenth Century France Patrons, Brokers, and Clients in Seventeenth-Century France Editorial Review: A bold new study of politics and power in 17th-century France, this book argues that the French Crown centralized its power nationally by changing the way it delegated its royal patronage in the provinces. During this period, the royal government of Paris gradually extended its sphere of control by taking power away from the powerful and potentially disloyal provincial governors and nobility and instead putting it in the hands of provincial power brokers--regional notables who cooperated with the Paris ministers in exchange for their patronage. The new alliances between the Crown's ministers and loyal provincial elites functioned as political machines on behalf of the Crown, leading to smoother regional-national cooperation and foreshadowing the bureaucratic state that was to follow.