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Chapter 15

HIST 1010 Ch. 15 Textbook Summary (F11)

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HIST 1010
Peter Goddard

HIST 1010 Chapter 15 Summary: Society and Economy Under the Old Regime in the 18 th Century o Ancien regime (Old Regime) – the life and institutions of pre-revolutionary Europe o Men and women living during the period saw themselves less as individuals than as members of distinct corporate bodies that possessed certain privileges or rights as a group o Tradition, hierarchy, a corporate feeling, and privilege were the chief social characteristics of the Old Regime Maintenance of Tradition o Except for early industrial development in Britain and the accompanying expansion of personal consumption, 18 century economy was also predominantly traditional Aristocracy o Nobility constituted approx. 1-5% of population of any given country; single wealthiest sector of population British Nobility o Smallest, wealthiest, best defined and most socially responsible aristocracy resided in Great Britain o Approx. 400 families French Nobility o France, approx. 400,000 nobles were divided between nobles “of the sword” and “of the robe” o Hobereaux – often little better off than wealthy peasants o Taille – land tax; basic tax of the Old Regime Eastern European Nobilities o Poland; thousands of nobles (szlachta) entirely exempt from taxes fter 1741; possessed right of life and death over their serfs o Peter the Great (1682-1725) established among Russian nobles a self- conscious class identity that had not previously existed o Catherine the Great (1762-1796) legally defined the rights and privileges of the nobility would serve the state voluntarily Aristocratic Resurgence o Nobility’s reaction to the threat to their social position and privileges that they felt from the expanding power of the monarchies o Tried to preserve their exclusiveness by making it more difficult to become a noble Peasant Rebellions o Peter the Great gave whole villages to favored nobles o Catherine the Great confirmed the authority of the nobles over their serfs in exchange for the landowner’s’ political cooperation o Well over 50 peasant revolts between 1762-1769 o Pugachev’s Rebellion between 1773-1775 when Emelyan Pugachev (1726- 1775) promised the serfs land of their own and freedom from their lords o Pugachev’s was the largest peasant uprising of 18 century Households o NW Europe, household consisted of married couple and children through early teens, servants (no more than 5-6 members) o High mortality and late marriage prevented a formation of families of three generations or more o Nuclear families rather than extended o Neolocalism: Moving away from home o Premarital sexual relations were common o Servant: Person (M/F) who was hired, often under a clear contract, to work for the head of the household in exchange for room, board, and wages o E Europe – both M/F usually married before age 20; children born to much younger parents o Households generally larger than those in W; more than 9 and possibly more than 20 members with 3-4 generations of the same family living together Family Economy o Farm, much of effort went directly into raising food or producing other agricultural goods that could be exchanged for food o Usually trained eldest child in trade; wives of merchants also frequently ran their husbands’ businesses; everyone in family involved o W Europe, death of father often brought disaster to household; continuing economic life of family usually depended on his land or skills Women and Family Economy o For women, marriage was economic necessity, as well as institution that fulfilled sexual and psychological needs o Outside of household, woman’s life was vulnerable and precarious o Women probably could not support herself solely by her own efforts o Age 7, help with household work o Child rearing were subordinate to economic pressures; couples tried to limit # of children they had (coitus interruptus – withdrawal of the male before ejaculation) Children and World of Family Economy o Contagious diseases endangered both mother and child o Not all midwives were skillful practitioners o Mothers gave birth in conditions of immense poverty and wrethhed housing o # of illegitimate births seems to have increased during 18 century, possibly because increased migration of pop. led to fleeting romances Revolution in Agriculture o People living in the countryside often had more difficulty finding food than city dwellers o Poor harvests played havoc with prices o 18 century bread prices slowly but steadily rose o Agricultural Revolution: Landlords in W Europe began a series of innovations in farm production New Crops and New Methods o Experimented with new crops (clover, turnip) o Increased supply of animal fodder and restore soil o Charles “Turnip” Townsend (1674-1738) – encouraged other important innovations; learned how to cultivate sandy soil with fertilizers; instituted crop rotation, using wheat, turnips, barley, and clover o In long run, both animals and human beings had more food o Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) – Pioneered new methods of animal breeding that produced more and better animals and more milk and meat o 1761-1792 – Almost 500,000 acres were enclosed through acts of Parlia
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