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Published by irregularflowers
Notes on Speilvogel Chapter 18 (Part 2: Economic Expansion and Social Change)
Notes on Speilvogel Chapter 18 (Part 2: Economic Expansion and Social Change)

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Published by: irregularflowers on Aug 28, 2008
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11/07/2014

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Sp. Prt.2 517-530
Economic Expansion and Social Change
I.
The depressed economic conditions of the 17
th
c b/g to improve in the early 18
th
c. Rapid population growth, expansion in banking and trade, an agricultural revolution, thestirrings of industrialization, and an increase in worldwide trade characterized theeconomic patterns of the 18
th
c.Growth of the European PopulationI.Europes population b/g to grow around 1750 and experienced a slow but steady rise,w/some regional variations.
A.
Perhaps the most important cause of population growth was the decline in the deathrate, thanks to more plentiful food and better transportation of food supplies, whichled to improved diets and relief from famines.B.Also of great significance was the end of the bubonic plague.C.Despite the improved transportation, famine and hunger could still be devastating.Family, Marriage, and Birthrate PatternsI.The family was still the heart of Europes social organization. People still thought of thefamily in traditional terms, as a patriarchal institution w/the husband dominating his wifeand children.A.The upper classes were still concerned for the family as a “house,” an associationwhose collective interests were more important than those of its individual members.B.Parents still selected marriage partners for their children based on interests of thefamily.Child Care
I.
The practice of wet nursing was widespread in the 18
th
c.
II.
In the 2
nd
½ of the 18
th
c, traditional attitudes b/g to alter, especially in western Europe.A.Childhood was viewed as a phase of human development thanks to Enlightenmentthinkers such as Rousseau.
B.
Children were dressed in more comfortable clothes that were more appropriate for their ages. Shops for children’s clothes appeared for the 1
st
time.
C.
Primogeniture, the practice of treating the 1
st
son as the favorite, also came under attack. All children, it was argued, deserved their parent’s attention.D.Appeals for women to breastfeed rather than use wet nurses soon followed.III.In England, games and toys for children appeared.A.These changes were aimed mostly at the upper class of western European society anddid not extend to the peasants.B.For most Europeans, children were still a source of anxiety. They were a health risk for mothers.
C.
In times of economic crisis, children proved such a burden to some families that theyresorted to infanticide or abandonment to foundling homes. Despite being punishable by death, it remained a solution to the problem of too many children.
D.
More common that infanticide was the placing of children in foundling homes or hospitals, which became a favorite charity of the rich in the 18
th
c. Severe problemsarose as the system became overburdened.E.Many children died, and the survivals were sent to miserable jobs.Marriage and BirthratesI.Most couples established their own homes independent of their parents’.A.This became a common pattern, especially in northwestern Europe.
B.
Both men and women married late in order to save money.
C.
Late marriages imposed limits on birthrates, though this might have been offset by anumber of babies born illegitimately.
II.
The 1
st
child usually appeared w/I 1 year of marriage, and additional children came every2 or 3 years, producing an average of 5 births/family.
 
A.
It would appear, then, that the birthrate had the potential of causing a significantincrease in population. This possibility was restricted, however, b/c 40-60% of allwomen of childbearing age were not married. Birth control techniques were alsoused to limit the number of children.III.Among the working classes, the contributions of women and children to the “familyeconomy” were also crucial.A.In urban areas, both male and female children either helped in the handicraftmanufacturing done in the home or were sent out to work as household servants.B.In rural areas, children worked on the land or helped in the activities of the cottageindustry.C.Bad harvests in the countryside or a downturn in employment in the cities oftenreduced people to utter poverty and a life of begging.An Agricultural Revolution?
I.
18
th
c agriculture was characterized by increases in food production that can be attributedto more farmland, increased yields per acre, healthier and more abundant livestock, andan improved climate.
A.
The amount of land under cultivation was increased by abandoning the old open-field system, in which part of the land was allowed to lie fallow to renew it. Theformerly empty fields were now planted w
 
/new crops which stored nitrogen in their roots and restored the soil’s fertility They also provided winter fodder for livestock,enabling landlords to maintain more animals.B.The more numerous livestock increased the amount of meat in the European diet andenhanced food production by making available more animal manure, which was usedto fertilize fields and produce better yields.C.Increased yields were also encouraged by landed aristocrats, who shared in thescientific experimentation of the age.
D.
Jethro Tull discovered that using a hoe to keep the soil loose allowed air andmoisture to reach plants and enabled them to grow better. He also used a drill to plantseeds in rows instead of scattering them by hand, a method that had lost much seedto the birds.
II.
The 18
th
c witnessed greater yields of vegetables, including potato and maize.III.The new agricultural techniques were considered best for large-scale farms.Consequently, a change in landholding accompanied the increase in food production.
A.
Large landowners or yeomen farmers enclosed the old open fields, combining manysmall holdings into larger units.B.The end of the open-field system led to the demise of the cooperative farming of thevillage community.
C.
Parliament enacted legislation allowing agricultural lands to be legally enclosed.
IV.
As a result of the enclosure acts, England gradually became a land of large estates, andmany small farmers were forced to become wage laborers or tenant farmers.
A.
The enclosure movement and new agricultural practices largely destroyed thetraditional patterns of English village life. New Methods of Finance
I.
A decline in the supply of gold and silver in the 17
th
c had created a chronic shortage of money that undermined the efforts of governments to meet their needs.
A.
The establishment of new public and private banks and the acceptance of paper notesmade possible an expansion of credit in the 18
th
c.
II.
The Bank of England was founded in 1694.
A.
Unlike other banks accustomed to receiving deposits and exchanging foreigncurrencies, the Bank of England also made loans. In return for lending money to thegovernment, the bank was allowed to issue paper “bank notes” backed by its credit.
B.
These soon became negotiable and provided a paper substitute for gold and silver. Inaddition, the issuance of government bonds paying regular interest, backed by the
 
Bank of England and the London financial community, created a notion of a publicor “national debt” distinct from the monarch’s personal debts.C.This process meant that capital for financing larger armies and other governmentundertakings could be raised in ever-greater quantities.
III.
These new financial institutions were not risk-free. In both Britain and France in the early18
th
c, speculators provided opportunities for people to invest in colonial tradingcompanies.
A.
The French company under John Law was also tied to his attempt to create a national bank and paper currency for France. When people went overboard and drove the price of stock to high levels, the bubble burst.
B.
Law’s company and bank went bankrupt, leading to a loss of confidence in paper money that prevented the formation of a French national bank. Consequently, French public finance developed slowly in the 18
th
c.IV.In Britain, public confidence in the new financial institutions enabled the Britishgovernment to borrow large sums of money at relatively low interest, giving it a distinctadvantage in the struggle w/France.
A.
Despite Britain’s growing importance in finance, however, the Dutch Republicremained the leader of Europe’s financial life, and Amsterdam continued to be thecenter of international finance until London replaced it in the 19
th
c.B.The decline of Dutch trade, industry, and power meant that Dutch capitalists wereinclined to lend money aboard b/c they had fewer opportunities at home.European IndustryCottage Industry
I.
Most textiles were still produced by traditional methods. By the 18
th
c, textile productionwas beginning to move to the countryside, where they were produced by the “putting-out” or “domestic” system, in which merchant-capitalist entrepreneur bought the rawmaterials, mostly wool and flax, and “put them out” to rural workers, who spun the rawmaterial into yarn and then wove it into cloth.A.Capitalist-entrepreneurs sold the finished product, made a profit, and used it tomanufacture more.
B.
This system became known as cottage industry b/c spinners and weavers did their work in their cottage. It was a family enterprise. New Methods and New Machines
I.
The cottage system employed traditional methods of manufacturing and spread to manyareas of rural Europe in the 18
th
c. But significant changes in industrial production also began to occur in the 2
nd
½ of the century, pushed along by the introduction of cotton.A.The traditional methods of cottage industry proved incapable of keeping upw/growing demand, leading English cloth entrepreneurs to develop new methods andnew machines.
B.
Richard Arkwright invented a “water frame” powered by horse or water, whichturned yarn must faster than cotton spinning wheels.
C.
This abundance of yarn led to the development of mechanized looms.
The Social Order of the Eighteenth Century
I.
The pattern of Europe’s social organization continued into the 18
th
c.A.Social status was determined by the division into the traditional “orders” or “estates”determined by heredity.
B.
This divinely sanctioned division of society into orders was supported byChristianity, which emphasized the need to fulfill the responsibilities of one’s estate.C.Different social groups remained easily distinguished everywhere in Europe by thedistinctive clothes they wore.The PeasantsI.The peasantry constituted the largest social group.

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