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THE THIRD ESTATE Included everyone who was not clergy or nobility –Dumping ground for 9/10s of European population –Embraced everyone from textile workers.

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Presentation on theme: "THE THIRD ESTATE Included everyone who was not clergy or nobility –Dumping ground for 9/10s of European population –Embraced everyone from textile workers."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE THIRD ESTATE Included everyone who was not clergy or nobility –Dumping ground for 9/10s of European population –Embraced everyone from textile workers to mountain shepherds; from prosperous merchants to beggars –Inaccurate category in a sociological sense but accurate in a political sense Included all people who were ruled Had no voice or authority

2 PEASANTRY Made up 80% of total population –100 million people Lived in tiny villages and hamlets Most immediate and important relationship was with local noble lord –Every village belonged to a lordship Feudal domaines where landowner exercised considerable political and economic rights

3 FEUDAL TENANT AND INDEPENDENT OWNER Most peasants also owned their land –Normally between 3 to 10 acres Peasant was both feudal tenant and independent owner of the same piece of land

4 PARAOXICAL SITUATION Feudalism did not disappear in Europe when Middle Ages ended –It instead was gradually modified into something else Peasants had acquired rights of private ownership –But lord still exercised extensive rights over peasant land –Peasants could only exercise rights of private ownership with lord’s permission –Peasants also owed lord numerous payments and obligations in exchange for the right to own and work land Corvée Banalité Land transaction fees Fees for use of lord’s court Annual rent –Cens or champart

5 ARISTOCRATIC REACTION Many peasant obligations had diminished during the 17 th century But inflation caused nobles to resurrect them in the 18 th century Made life of peasants in the 18 th century increasingly miserable

6 TAXES Taille –Direct property tax that all peasants had to pay –Nobles were exempt Gabelle –Most hated tax –Tax on salt –Only one of many sales taxes peasants had to pay on necessities

7 PEASANT REBELS? Heavy tax burden often provoked peasant tax riots –Some were very large but they all ultimately were mercilessly put down by the government Government’s attitude was that all riots were the same and that rioters were not only rebels against the king but also rebels against God Peasants did not want to overthrow government or to create new society –Only wanted reduction in taxes –Wanted to restore an old society where the king had been a kind and gentle father of his people

8 PEASANT SOCIETY Peasants divided by different degrees of status Determinant of status was how much land he owned, how many livestock he had, and how many implements he owned Only 10% of peasants owned enough land to provide a secure living for themselves –Most only had a few scattered strips and did odd jobs and worked as part-time laborers to make ends meet –Sharecroppers had little or no land of their own and had to rent land –At bottom were “landless men” Wandered from farm to farm in search of work Frequently turned into roving bands of beggars and vagabonds

9 TYPICAL VILLAGE SOCIETY I 1. At the top were one or two rich peasants –Owned full plow teams –Rented additional land from noble lord and worked it with agricultural laborers –Often acted as agents for the lord –Voice in village affairs carried a lot of weight

10 TYPICAL VILLAGE SOCIETY II 2. Eight or ten more-or- less independent smallholders –Did OK in normal times 3. Majority of villagers –Lived right on the edge of survival 4. The completely destitute –Generally made up 10% of the village population

11 TYPICAL VILLAGE SOCIETY III One bad harvest, a visitation by soldiers, or the unexpected death of a sheep or cow could trigger an irreversible tailspin of death and disaster Millions would become paupers –Holdings seized by creditors –They would starve to death and become vulnerable to disease –Normal for 10-20% of a village to die off in such situations

12 EASTERN EUROPE From the 1500s, peasants in Austria, Prussia, Poland, and Russia had declined into literal slavery –First peasant lost land through debt and the means to pay debt off –Lord commuted debt from cash to labor service –Lord advances peasant land, tools, and food Putting peasant deeper in debt Guaranteeing that peasant would work for lord for the rest of his life –Because of runaway problem, governments bound them to their immediate locality Peasants forbidden from moving, marrying or practicing a trade without consent of their lord Peasants could even be sold

13 TWO EUROPES WESTERN EUROPE Feudalism a lingering relic of the past EASTERN EUROPE Feudalism strong and most peasants sunk in horrible and primitive misery

14 PEASANT DEMOGRAPHY Mortality rates hideously high –In France, out of every 100 peasants born, 25 would die before first birthday, 25 more would die before they reached 20, and 25 more would die before they reach 45 Only ten would reach the age of 60 A man of 80 was extraordinarily rare Marriage age was relatively late –Around 26 years old for men; 23 years old for women –Illegitimate births relatively rare –50% of peasants never lived long enough to reproduce themselves

15 PEASANT WOMEN AND CHILDBIRTH Only way to maintain population was to keep birth rate as high as possible –Women became pregnant as soon as they married and kept having children for as long as possible –Did not result in large families Women produced five children on the average and were lucky if two or three of them survived to become adults

16 LIFE OF THE PEASANTS Little room for sentiment in a peasant’s life –Widowers remarried quickly –Death of an infant less traumatic than a bad harvest or death of a horse Only the strong and the brutal survived –Drink and violence were common and tolerated within limits

17 UNUSUAL CONTADICTIONS Unspeakably filthy Crowded and dangerous Terrible poverty Places of wealthy and magnificence Tremendous wealthy existed side-by-side with unspeakable poverty

18 LONDON ELITE 3000 aristocratic families lived most of the year in city –Along with 1000 wealthy merchants –10,000 “principal tradesmen” –30,000 well-off clergymen, artists, and professionals Entire group made up 50,000 people (about 1/8 of population) –Known as “men of property” –The ruling elite

19 REST OF THE CITY 7/8 of population made up of master craftsmen, small shopkeepers, journeymen, apprentices, laborers, and the destitute –Floating class of beggars, vagrants, indigent old people, orphans, and unemployed immigrants –Made up 1/8 of population

20 URBAN SURVIVAL Craftsmen and shopkeepers managed a certain degree of security Journeymen, apprentices, and laborers waged a bitter and continual struggle for survival Destitute were losing this struggle –Introduction of cheap gin after 1720 sent death rate skyrocketing because it became cheaper to drink gin than to eat –Even after Gin Act of 1751, 1000 people a year starved to death in London for the rest of the century

21 WORKING CONDITIONS Manufacturing done in multitude of small shops or at home Work days were long Many trades organized into guilds –Legally incorporated bodies that had a monopoly over a specific occupation Workers chronically in debt to their employers for advances of food and money Workers were harassed at work, cheated on their hours, and shortchanged in their pay More vulnerable than peasants in periods of economic crisis because they had no home of their own, no savings, few possessions, no food reserve, and no animals to slaughter

22 URBAN VOLATILITY Street violence was continuous and riots a normal part of urban life Always caused by grievances about wages and hours, rising prices, or threat of unemployment

23 RIOT TO REVOLUTION Major cause of riots in Paris was price of bread In normal times, Parisian workers spent ½ their income on bread –Any upward fluctuation in this price was bound to cause a riot In 1789, bread prices had climbed to a point where workers had to pay 5/6s of their income for bread –The usual riots erupted but this time middle class revolutionaries exploited popular rage for their own political goals –But once on the revolutionary stage, the “mob” refused to get off—forcing the French Revolution far beyond the original intentions of its initiators

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