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HIST 274 (48)
Harold Mah (38)

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HIST 274
Harold Mah

Cultural history in France lead to the development of semiotics everything in culture is a symbol of some kind Symbolism behind the presentation of a product in advertising ththEnlightenment 18 c existentialism 20 c Ways of life how aristocrats interact socially middle class bourgeois representations of class and gender identityHow the French think about themselves and historyIn 1750 France was the most populace country in EuropePopulation increased explosively in the next 50 years Large population combined with its geographic location ensured France was one of the great military powers of EuropethBy the 18 century Britain and Germany Hapsburg Empire were afraid that France was going to dominate Europe politicallyParis was the largest city in FrancethFrance was very active in commerce in the 18 centuryIn 1750 France was predominantly an agricultural economyEvery 10 years massive crop failure in FranceCrop failure contributed to French Revolution of 1789In 1750 French society was no longer feudal but it was not yet industrial or capitalist It was neither medieval or modernThere was a large middle class made up of professionals and artisans in between the nobility and the peasantrythSocial classes in 18 century France were not closed social classes Wealthy members of the upper middle class could easily enter the aristocracy by buying titles or marrying into the aristocracy This was very commonNobles owned about 25 of the land peasants owned 35 of the land and the middle group owned the rest In 1750 13 of the population was literatePublic opinion emerged in this periodIn 1750 France was a well populated wealthy country that was increasing in its wealth and population Social structure was changing Hierarchies were becoming less rigidththPolitically 18 century France was a monarchy Since the reign of Louis the 14 this French monarchy was called an absolute monarch Monarch ran by divine law Political organization was decentralized regional nobility ruled in the centuries prior to the monarchy The great nobility took away from these independent towns and created one overlordshipLouis would have presented himself in an extravagant and overwhelming waythLouis the 14 was called the sun king Strategy of absolute monarchy was defeat militarily win over culturally and control with a hierarchythLouis the 15 was hailed as the well beloved 50 years later at his funeral the people yelled good riddance France during this period was referred to as the old regimeKey problem of the French monarchy was that the monarchy was not able to afford the things that made it so greatIn return for surrendering its political authority the nobility was exempt from most taxesMost of the income came from the sale of royal offices To raise money the crown would sell someone the right to collect taxes in an area That person who had that right would own that area as propertythThe debt of the monarchy rose steadily after Louis the 14The French monarchy was spending more than it could possibly afford or raise given its tax systemthOne thing that was characteristic of the 18 century economy was that the economy was decentralized so that there were trade barriers between the different regions of France Made for very inefficient trade within the countryFrance lost a lot of prestige in the 7 years war gained a lot of debtMaupeou minister tried to abolish the obstructions of the nobility He recognized that they need to reform the law courts controlled by the nobility called parliamentsThe nobility turned the public against the King ththIn 1774 with the death of Louis 15 Louis 16 fired MaupeouthLouis 16 had to compel his own reforming philosopher Turgot who was the minister of finance He set out to cut back expenditures and to modernize the economy As soon as these things were implemented every vested interest in France realized that it was being challenged and met turgots laws with resistance Constance rioting broke out turgot was fired in 1776 His failure of reform marked the end of strict absolutismThere would have to be a significant political change that would result in power sharing between monarchy and nobility Would have to give back some of the political power the monarchy took from the nobility Lecture 2The monarchy and the nobility had opposite interests politically and economically but they held common cultural beliefs Aristocratic culture believed that a person was entirely defined by their social status Character reflected social status Character and status were to be displayed and expressedStrong tendency towards display and spectacle thth17 century Louis 14 consolidated power Elaborated aristocratic cultureLouis built the Palace of Versailles with elaborate gardens and the famous hall of gold and mirrors This hall was meant to reflect his glory Louis surrounded himself with elaborate rituals that nobles had to follow One of the most important venues was the opera Not only for entertainment but also to display status We believe that concerts have an intellectual seriousness that they are important and worthy of respectthIn the 18 century until the last decades of the century opera and symphonies were different They were social occasions The most important nobles would sit in the most prominent part of the theatre They would sit on the stage in boxes People talked and visited each other throughout the performancePublic gatherings operated according to the principle of displaying social status in an extravagant fashionBelieved that nobles were devoted to the principle that one would always give others pleasure The ideal noble would always be gracious towards everyone including their servantsAristocratic culture sought to make life a gracious enjoymentAristocrats went to public venues but there were also less spectacled gatherings in aristocratic households and salons They were occasions for conversationControversial topics would be avoidedSometimes nonnobles were invited prominent professionals who mingled with aristocrats These salons served as recruiting centers for the aristocracythThis culture of aristocracy was the dominant form of culture in 18 century France Other social classes such as the middle class began to adopt aristocratic mannersThis wasnt the only significant cultural development there was also the French EnlightenmentthThe French Enlightenment got its inspiration from the developments of the 18 century John Locke Sir Isaac Newtons works considered foundation stones of the enlightenment They reoriented European philosophy and science Philosophers of the time sought to define natural laws of societyTurgot wanted to define the natural law of a wellfunctioning economy Believed in free tradeRousseau wrote Emile wondering what it would be like if a boy was raised based upon the principles of nature outside of society if he would be naturally moral and virtuousEmpirical view of nature lead to atheismJohn Stuart mill declared that we are the most progressive people that ever lived Deism philosophers believed in natural religion Orthodox Christianity challenged this because it made it seem that there was no need for ChurchesDidero philosopher was censored for irreligiosity His writings were burned and he was sent to prison for some of his writingsPhilosophs became more respected and moved from a position of being censored to those who censored and held powerful positionsPhilosoph defined as someone who is rational and scientific but never overly academic Philosophy seeks to please with his knowledge Thinking of the philosoph is similar to the world of the aristocratMost of the French Enlightenment is no longer taught except for Rousseau because it was too much revolved around entertainmentFrench Enlightenment had much in common with the aristocratic culture in FranceBelief in universal natural rights also lead to a belief in social equality and that since everyone has the same basic human nature they should have the same basic rightsBelieved that laws should apply the same to all the classesFrederick 2 of Prussia Catherin 2 of Russia Joseph 2 of Austria
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