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Society and Economy Under the Old Regime in the 18 th Century Chapter 16.

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Presentation on theme: "Society and Economy Under the Old Regime in the 18 th Century Chapter 16."— Presentation transcript:

1 Society and Economy Under the Old Regime in the 18 th Century Chapter 16

2 Major Features of Life in the Old Regime Aristocratic elites with wide variety of inherited legal privileges Established church intimately related to state and aristocracy Urban labor force usually organized in guilds Rural peasantry subject to high taxes and feudal dues

3 Aristocracy Nobility constituted approx. 1% to 5% of population in any given country Single wealthiest sector of population, widest degree of social, political, economic power, and set tone for the society 1%….sound familiar? Land, largest source of income

4 Varieties of Aristocratic Privilege British nobility: smallest, wealthiest, best defined, and most socially responsible aristocracy. Consisted of 400 families, eldest male member sat in H of Lords. Owned one-fourth of arable land French nobility: approx. 400,000 nobles divided between nobles of the sword whose nobility was derived from military, and those of the robe who acquired their titles by serving in bureaucracy or having bought them.

5 Varieties of Aristocratic Privilege Eastern Europe: Character of the nobility became even more complicated and repressive. More east, more control over Serfs. Enjoyed degrees of exemption from taxes. Military traditions remained important. Most Polish nobility relatively poor, but until 1768 right of life and death over serfs. Austria and Hungary, broad judicial power over peasants. Wealthiest owned 10 million acres. Prussia, Junker noble class, provided officer corps for Frederick the Great wars. Authority over serfs.

6 Aristocracy in Russia 18 th century saw creation of nobility Rights included right to transfer noble status to wife and children, judicial protection for rights and property, considerable power over serfs, exemption from personal taxes.

7 The Land and Its Tillers Land was Economic basis of life and foundation of status and power of nobility Peasants, mostly free in England & France Serfs, legally bound to specific plot of land and owner in Germany, Austria, Russia Russian monarchy helped put peasants down, ex. Pete & Cath. the Greats gave whole villages to favored nobles. 50 revolts between , largest was Pugachevs Rebellion – put down.

8 English Game Laws Example of Aristocratic domination of the Countryside Between , English landowners had exclusive legal right to hunt game animals Only persons owning particular amount of landed property could hunt animals. Led to poaching Superior status of Aristocracy 1831 landowners retained ownership of game, but could permit others to hunt on land

9 Family Structure NW Europe: Married couple, children through early teen years and servants Except for few wealthy – households were small, usually consisting of 5 to 6 members High mortality and late marriage prevented formation of families of 3 generations Different than previous assumption Children left home in early teens

10 Family Structure E. Europe: Pattern changed. Both men and women usually married before age 20. Children born to much younger parents Usually larger families than W. Europe and more generations living together

11 Revolution in Agriculture Main goal of traditional peasant society was local food supply During 18 th century, bread prices rose steadily Bread was main food supply, inflation put pressure on all of the poor Rising grain prices helped landowners and wealthier peasants who could sell surplus Rising income allowed landowners to improve agriculture production Leader was Dutch who devised was to build dikes and drain land so they could farm larger area, new crops that helped restore the soil

12 A Revolution in Consumption New Machinery, factories, new kind of work force Also, demand side increased New/improved consumer goods toys, buttons, china, furniture, rugs, etc. Disposable income rose, demand for new consumer products grew which sparked new products, new designs Great Britain was home of Industrial Revolution, London by far largest city, center of world fashion, taste, style, advertising

13 Textile Production Textile industry pioneered Industrial Revolution to meet growing consumer demand for clothing Peasant families sometimes worked agriculture and in winter spun thread or wove textiles in winter New inventions led to increased production Spinning Jenny: allowed 16 spindles of thread to spin, eventually up to 120 Water Frame: water powered device to permit production of pure cotton. Steam Engine moved production to urban centers, move from one area to another…

14 Growth of Cities 1500 were 156 cities with populations >10k 1800 were 363 cities with population >10k and 17 of them had pop. Larger than 100k Percentage of population living in urban areas rose from 5 to 9%. Not simply big city growth, during this time growth of new cities and small towns.

15 Urban Classes Upper Class: Small group of nobles, large merchants, bankers/financiers, clergy and govt officials. Controlled political and economic affairs of the town. Middle Class: Prosperous, but not always super wealthy merchants, tradespeople, bankers and professional people. Diverse and divided class. Artisans: Shopkeepers, artisans and wager earners were single largest group in cities.

16 Jewish Population Small Jewish communities in W. Europe, but vast majority lived in E. Europe. Concentrated in Poland, Lithuania and the Ukraine Jews usually did not enjoy full rights and privileges of other subjects Typically lived in separate communities or distinct districts called ghettos

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