The Ancien Regime and Struggles of the 18th Century

The Ancien Regime – Ch 15 The structure of life in Europe from M.A. to the French Revolution, most people are born into their role Political Structure: * N-S or small principality * monarchy vs. nobility The Nobility (1-5% of pop.): * inherited privileges & legal status * wealth from land * above manual labor * vary from country to country Bourgeoisie: Increasingly complex: 2 basic types: * C=trade, banking, insurance, investments * P=lawyer, doctor, gov’t official * some very wealthy, resent nobility Urban Workers: * Guild members to street thugs * Guilds remain influential (reduce competition, training, marketing) & slowed progress * Political force Peasants (75-90%): * heavily taxed, tithed and fee’d, forced labor * village was center of social life Families: * NW Europe: "Nuclear", older marriage after training * SE Europe: Extended, early marriage, family laws focused on production * Everyone works, ex.: if Dad makes it Mom sells it & kids help * death of Father disastrous * role of women is to establish & maintain household (parents then own) * leave home - collect dowry - get married * wet nurse when necessary * many occupations closed to women * child = blessing/curse * foundlings in times of crisis The Agricultural Revolution Pre-Enclosure * Peasants work their land + lord’s * goal: stable food supply * 1 of 3 fields left fallow * Crops: wheat, barley, beans, oats * diet of bread and soup, famine & disease * worse in E. Europe (serfs in Russia) * Set apart by diet, clothes, etc. * aristocratic resurgence * Country House-Hunting Rights * religion * rising pressure from Bourgeoisie

Ancien Regime & Struggles


Impetus for change * pop. jumps * bread prices up * trad. production slows growth * landlords see benefits, gov’t wants taxes * peasants resist Enclosure Movement * landlords fence common lands * Par. passes laws backing them (squirearchy) * Prod. needed to support growing urban population * more food made by fewer workers New Crops & Methods * corn & potatoes * clover & turnips renew land & feed livestock * reclaimed land (Dutch) * Tull’s iron plow & seed drill * Townshend’s new rotation Population Explosion * 3/4 of billion in 1750, 5 bil now * plague gone, less war (1st 1/2 18thC), better health * Explosion forces change in way we live (migration, etc.) Increased Consumption * more disposable income * more people * improved marketing * goods = prosperity Growth of "New" Cities * 1500-1700 growth in established cities, after 1750 it’s new cities * enclosure, growth of industry lead to migration * around factories, mines, road hubs, sea ports Poverty * infrastructure not ready * crowding, disease, slums, etc. * prostitution, crime, begging * coal soot Wealth * entertainment, opportunity, new inventions, etc. * new houses & shops for nouveaux riche * new gov’t buildings, museums, cathedrals, etc. * wealthy control city gov’t Caught in the Middle (bourg.) * income not from land * force behind consumption & industry
Ancien Regime & Struggles 2

* new sources wealth = social mobility * resent nobles, fear poor * want reform for own benefit Artisans * stable upper lower class, single largest group in any city * grocers, carpenters, wage earners * try to advanced through guilds * guilds = protections, benefits * conservative, yet sense of social/economic justice * Bread riots & selling at comunity’s “just” price = a check on merchant greed * MC might support vs. nobility Life for European Jews * most in Eastern Eur. * legally excluded, deprived of rights, separate group * villages (rural) or ghettos (urban) * fate at whim of ruler On to Colonies – CH 16 * ability to dominate comes from superior technology, not culture 4 stages of European involvement: 1) "Discovery" (1450-1600) 2) Trade Rivalry (this one) 3) Africa/Asia (1875-1940) 4) Decolonization (post WWII) Mercantile Empires * desire for influence --> intense rivalries * time of great trade expansion * sugar, cotton, tobacco, spices Britain: N. Atlantic Seaboard France: St. Lawrence, Ohio & Mississippi River Valleys Spain: S. America & Southern N. Amer. Dutch: Surinam & trade stations in Asia Relationship with Colonies * supply markets & materials to home country * get protection & "gov’t" * strict regulation of trade (only with home country) * national economy = ruling principle * home economy grows at colonies’ expense Colonial Problems * Home falls short in providing goods * golden age of smugglers * French & English Colonists clash in NA * French & English Trading companies clash in India Spanish Colonial System * monarch appt Council of Indies appt viceroys * viceroyalties  audencias  corregidores
Ancien Regime & Struggles 3

* trade monopoly controlled by Casa de Contatacion (Sevilla) * all authorization from the Casa (i.e. flota system) * Bourbon reforms stimulate decaying imperial trade sys * but creoles’ resentment of peninsulares and total benefit to Spain leads to later wars of independence Plantation System & Slavery * 16th & 17th C’s = native American labor wiped out * Brazil, Carribbean, & N. America = sugar, rice, tobacco, coffee, &cotton plantations (small landowners could not afford major investments) *  large, integrated trans-Atlantic economy * Sp, Port., Dutch, Eng., & Fr. Forcibly transp. 9 mill+ slaves - more than free European settlers * Slave conditions varied colony to colony * slave revolts feared – all laws favored slave owners * most = hard agric labor, poor diet, inadequate housing * non-Euro cultural values separated, transformed, crushed * race = powerful element in keeping black slaves in subserience, it fit Euro prejudices & negative connotations “The plantations that strectched middle Atlantic colonies of N. America through the W. Indies and into Brazil constituted a vast corridor of slave societies in which social and economic subordination was based on both involuntary servitude and race.” Mid-18th Century Wars * trade & territory (colonial & in Cent. Europe) * Reshape traditional alliances * Lead to new power structure War of Jenkins’ Ear * British abuse asiento - Spain fights back * Jenkins’ ear used to inflame Par. (trade interests want war) * War between GB & Spain is first in a series of conflicts War of Austrian Succession * Frederick II takes Silesia, M-T maintains kingdom vs. threat * France + Prussia vs. GB + Austria, France helps Spain abroad Treaty of Aix-La-Chappelle * Silesia (rich in resources) to Prussia * asiento for GB * M-T Keeps throne (Bohe. & Hungary) Major Outcomes * Prussia recognized power * Austria solidifies claims * France falls behind GB * Spain continues to fade Diplomatic Revolution-1756 * Prussia & GB form an alliance * Kaunitz (Aus.) negotiates with France (Frenchy + Hapsy) * New alliances Seven Years’ War (1756-63) On the Continent: * Frederick II launches pre-emptive strike vs. Saxony * Sweden & Russia join Aus. & Fr. --> Freddy’s surrounded but fights brilliantly with aid from GB * 1762- Russia drops out
Ancien Regime & Struggles 4

Overseas: * Pitt’s goal: All of NA east of Miss. * big resources to NA, colonists help * GB defeats French in NA & India * 1755-1760: French col. trade drops 80% Treaty of 1763 * GB gets NA, true world power * Prussia holds Silesia, HRE’s done * France needs reform * Lots of war debt for all Meanwhile in GB * George III turns to Tories * Wilkes challenges George, accuses of tyranny, supported by Whigs * Wilkes exiled, returns & gets elected to commons (4X) * Not seated --> demonstrations * Calls for reform of Par. * Tory Par. decides to tax colonies Back in the Colonies * question tyranny & tax authority of GB * Appeal beyond political body to public opinion * assemblies’ power from consent of governed (you can revolt against the Ancien Regime) * defend "rights of Englishmen", wind up with… Brand new government * No King necessary * No nobility or classes by birth * Equality for white males * Gov’t based on liberty can work

Ancien Regime & Struggles


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