HIST 1010 Chapter Notes - Chapter 15: Yemelyan Pugachev, Coitus Interruptus, British Nobility

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8 Aug 2013
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HIST 1010
Chapter 15 Summary: Society and Economy Under the Old Regime in the 18th
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, 18th 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
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o Pugachev’s was the largest peasant uprising of 18th 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 wretched housing
o # of illegitimate births seems to have increased during 18th 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 18th 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)
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