HIST 1010 Chapter Notes - Chapter Entire: Human Capital, Levée En Masse, Continental System

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HIST1010: Textbook Readings
Chapter 14: Europe at War 1555-1648: Realities of Warfare, Religious Conflicts, and State-Formation
(Chapter 14)
Chapter 15: The Experiences of life in Early Modern Europe: the Witch-Hunts
Chapter 16: The Royal State in the 17 th
Century: Absolute and Constitutional Monarchy
Chapter 17: Science and Commerce in Early Modern Europe: Scientific Discoveries and Changing
World Views
Chapter 18: The Balance of Power in 18 th
Century: Russia, Prussia, and England
The map of Europe was re-made by two major treaties in the 18th century which created serious shifts in
power across the continent:
1. Treaty of Utecht (1713-14)  ending the War of Spanish Succession
-Impact: England gained vital control of commercial interests and Austria became a major
empire in central Europe
2. Treaty of Nystad (1721)  ending the Great Northern War between Russia and Sweden over Baltic
-Impact: Sweden fell from power; Russia, Prussia, and Ottoman power was rising as they
challenged Poland
Chapter 19: Culture and Society in 18 th
Century Europe: The Enlightenment
The Enlightenment was a phenomenon in the 18th century where scholars began to use reason and
scientific method. Principles of Enlightened Thought included reason, nature, happiness, progress, and
liberty. The Enlightenment involved France, Scotland, Germany, Prussia, Austria, and Russia.
One great thinker of the Enlightenment was Immanuel Kant who believed in the freedom to use one’s
mind. Enlightenment began with the confluence of the English empirical – analytical movement
(Newton/Locke) and the French rationalist movement (Descartes). Voltaire brought these two movements
together and challenged authority figures. He presented the English system as superior to the French in
terms of religious tolerance, political constitution, and empirical expression of thought in Philosophical
Letters Concerning the English Nation, 1734. Another important thinker was David Hume, an 18th century
Scottish philosopher who believed all knowledge was dependent upon sensory input, meaning no
knowledge was absolute. Montesquieu was another thinker who question French society and examined
the decline and fall of societies to understand natural laws of government. He believed that Rome fell due
to grandeur and decadence which destroyed virtues. He believed that the British system was superior and
established the “travel” genre of enlightenment literature (i.e. Persian Letters). He established a pattern of
historical study and an examination of the fall of Rome. The idea of government acting without arbitrary
patterns was established in the Spirit of Laws and Montesquieu categorizes government into republics,
monarchies, and despots. Another thinker was Rousseau, who argued that man’s existence in nature was
essentially good and that society corrupted man. He was interested in philosophy described as romantic
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empiricism and established the ‘Social Contract’, arguing that man entered society of their own accord
and retained their sovereignty. He did not believe the state should be controlled by a separation of powers,
but by the law, representing the general will and desires of the people. This could be done through
democracy or abstract moral justice. Cesare Beccaria is another thinker who believed that enlightenment
was developed in Western Europe, but had greater impact on Eastern Europe (i.e. Prussia, Austria, and
Russia). He presented a new education model seeking social reform through education and attacking the
Jesuit stronghold on education.
The Enlightenment philosophers believed that is was possible to improve society through social reform on
different levels. The impact of reorganizing legal systems in Eastern Europe was to increase the
centralization of government administration which led to legislative reforms. Religious toleration increased,
impacting all of Europe and beginning the breaking with Rome and expelling of Jesuits (i.e. Spain and
France). Individuals saw the purpose of life to increase their happiness through social change and self-
interests (i.e. Adam Smith – ladder theory).
Chapter 20: The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era, 1789-1815
The Enlightenment led to the spread of new ideas at the upper levels of French society, which created
new expectations and possibilities. France was a nation of great divide – wealth and poverty living side by
side, causing financial problems. France also lacked a sufficient bureaucratic infrastructure in order to
implement royal policies, causing political problems. Conflict between the social classes – the
aristocracy (first & second estates), bourgeoisie (wealthy), sans-culottes (urban working class), and
peasants (poverty-stricken, rural working class). Increased urbanization and mercantilist behaviour led to
higher literacy rates due to the interest in publication. Printed materials offered a platform for public
opinion to be used as an effective revolutionary tool.
The French government was a combination of a feudal system and centralized government under the
leadership of the king and the Estates General (legislative body). The Estates General was made up of
the First Estate (clergy, wealthy aristocracy), Second Estate (nobles), and Third Estate (everyone else).
The courts were made up of 13 regional courts (parliaments) and was extremely powerful (i.e. prestigious
Parisian parliament). The regional government was guided by the feudal system and viewed as
repressive by the peasantry, but essential by the nobility.
Louis XIV was known to be an indecisive leader who inherited many fiscal problems of indebtedness,
made worse through financing the American Revolution. Half of France’s national budget in 1780 served
the debt and, due to tradition, most everyone who could afford French taxation was exempt. The first
attempt at reform looked for new revenue, which created greater resentment towards the monarchy. The
conflict developed after the Parisian parliament refused any new tax or loan for the king; therefore, Louis
disbanded the parliament and called a meeting of the Estates General – an event that had not happened
since 1614 (178 years prior). Louis XIV could have compromised with the Parisian parliament; however, he
chose to maintain his claim to absolute authority, missing his opportunity.
The first stage of the French Revolution began in April 1798 after Louis XIV called a meeting of the
Estates General. The operation of the legislative body had no precedence, but the national election held
revealed that lower nobility, wealthy bourgeois, and lower clergy dominated the Third state – this gave hope
for reform. The three Estates had different agendas, noted by the King in the Cahiers de Doleances (lists
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