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HIS244H1 - Lecture 2.docx

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University of Toronto St. George

th HIS244H1: Lecture 2 Wednesday, May 16 /2012 Early Modern Society Pt. 1: Life in the towns and in the Countryside Social Order:  Jean Domat: Everyone has their own place in society, they have their specific role to play for the good of everyone, and that is what God willed.  Molière (French playwright): much social commentary in his plays, in 1668 he creates “George Dandin (The Deceived Husband)” about a wealthy peasant who marries a poor girl from a noble family. Though he wants the noble title, the girl has no intention of consummating the marriage. The family takes advantage of his money, abuses him publically, and drives him to his own suicide.  Social order is not something that one can rise above, money does not equal an upper class title, because you cannot rise above your social station  Status is not acquired, rather birth determines your station in life  This is the natural and static social order given by God, self-made man is against the Christian cosmology of the day – there is a great chain of being from God to everything else in the land (saints, humans, animals, and plants) o If there is a hierarchy in heaven, there needs to be one on earth o Earthly hierarchy: King on top, because he derives his authority from God, and is not subject to any other authority  Lots of conflicts that challenge the idea of static social order throughout the long th 18 century  Hobbes: no doubt that a strong central authority is necessary to maintain the peace, and security necessary for human activity to flourish. If power is shared it will just lead to chaos and anarchy.  Early modern society was a society of orders, mostly based on 3 early medieval orders o Those who pray, those who fight, and those who work NOBILITY:  Has the right to carry a sword, can wear silver and gold, silk and velvet, reserved for the nobility  Different legal penalties when accused of a crime – noble death (beheading), no whipping, exempt from certain taxes  England – Political rights – sit in the house of Lords and be apart of it The Second Order: Nobility  Order or lots of influence and power, (Law of Derogation) cannot take up manual trade or commerce, so they are courtiers they can have a position in the royal household, officers in the Army, civil service administration or in the kingdom  Influence through patronage, position at court means they have access to influence and they can control appointments – place men who are loyal to you in key positions (extend networks)  Nobility own large portions of land, a lot of the income comes from the rent they collect on that land  For Nobles honour is paramount, honour is an important concept that is fairly complex with multiple components, reputation and dignity is very important, including reputation and dignity of their ancestors and his house  Nobles should be fruitful, and generous towards their social inferior  WOMEN: sexual honour is the most important, the line must be kept pure to ensure that the heirs are legitimate  Nobles often resort to dueling to defend their honour, lying is the worst offence  Multiple variations of nobility both in countries, and within countries  Impoverished provincial nobility – most reactionary – resent high nobility and the fact that they are not rich, old nobility, nobility of the sword, and the new nobility of the robe (parliament – officials and magistrates)  Saint-Simon: calls the nobility of the robe the vile bourgeoisie, distinction th between sword and the robe, pen-pushers… 18 distinction is becoming more blurry as noble families marry The First Order: The Church  Division between parish priests/ministers and the hierarchy (Bishops), bishops are signs of common noble families  17 cent. : ¼ bishops have common origins, few of them left by 1760  Bishops show little devotion, piety or virtue, live great lives and usual reside in Paris (French Bishops)  The Church is an outlet for surplus sons, as well as extra daughters  Dowry to be a socially acceptable match vs. joining a covenant is cheaper (Abbath or nun or spinster)  Very popular until mid. 18 century, offered great opportunities for women, one of the few spheres where they could lead an active life: be engaged in social work, picking up work as educators, involved in health care and charity (specific religious orders engaged in social work) can also take up missionary work  Mid 18 century: covenants and monasteries facing mounting pressures and criticism  waste of time if they are just leading a life of fasting and prayer, should be doing social work  Joseph I of Austria goes on a mission to destroy these types of monasteries and reduces the number of nuns/monks The Third Estate (or Third Order):  Commoners, everything  Consists of the vast majority of the population, usually around 90% of the population, shopkeepers, lawyers, doctors, surgeons, midwifes, teachers  Middle Class is also apart of the third class (merchants, artisans)  In England they cannot buy a title, but an estate and be apart of the landed gentry (Middle Class)  In the West – the wealth of the upper aristocracy, who take up the same education, take up the same manners, dress the same way, build houses that look exactly like nobility, emulate the aristocracy – wealth can help blur the lines between social classes  Visual markers of status (Appearences) - *see slideshow for portraits.  Ceremony example of a means to celebrate or show the social order in society  Nobles (some rights): coat of arms displayed, right to wear sword LIVING IN TOWNS  10-30% of European population lives in towns  Corporate autonomy from local landlords (sovereign powers)  Legal, fiscal, administrative responsibility  Not subjected to landlords justice  Bourgeous (or Burgers)  Resident and Taxpayer  Not completely independent from state control  Trading grain within limits of the town, without going through market controls  Very few large cities at the time o 2 dozen cities with no more than 60,000 inhabitants  Livestock and gardens in towns  Very different environments, suffered from national demographic deficit o Cities can only grow through constant emigration  Dangers: sickness (epidemics – plague and other diseases), sanitations (none, persistent smell, no sewers or garbage disposal system), disasters (f
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