Presentation on theme: "Peasants into Frenchmen The Modernization of Rural France,"— Presentation transcript:
1Peasants into Frenchmen The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914 Interpretations of Eugen Weber’s Work
2Weber’s ThesisDuring the Belle Epoch/Fin de Siecle –so during the 3rd Republic- …
3Pre-Modernization France-Mentalite “Most of France was isolated & impoverished peasant communities where urban-based French culture, French language, and national consciousness had made few inroads- despite 1789 and 1848”Underdeveloped France “1789 & 1848 were not trivial, just incomplete.” Politics remained local and personal until those interests became linked to national ones and understood as such.
4Traditional Culture of France Oral CultureIlliterate Majority of rural France was; oral tradition KEYVeillees Village goes to one person’s house at night to tell stories AND save fuel; creates a sense of communitySubsistence farming NOT part of the market econMarkets & fairs Local events that create a sense of communityPeddlers Itinerate travelers who carried songs & storiesNo concept of being part of the nation
5Pre-Modernization Statistics 1810- Agriculture accounted for 66% of the national product; ¾ of citizens were ruralFrench bell ringers killed during storms to ward away evil hail-bringing spiritsin 5 citizens of France didn’t speak French- French was a foreign language!Basque, Breton, Flemish, German, Gascon, Italian, Corsican, Catalan, & Bearnais1906- only 1 in 4 draftees could explain why July 14th was a national holiday
6Peasants resistant to Change NOT just mindless devotion to the old ways….Peasants resistant to ChangeTradition Plot size too small to modernizePervasive insecurity can’t take risks on new techniquesPrayer over fertilizerResistant to education Distrust of the government France ONLY administratively unified 1 government, 1 tax code, 1 army, but many nations
7Agencies of Change Transportation Educational Reforms Universal Military Conscription
8Transportation Rail Road Bikes & roads Centralization Results “Greatly undermined theisolation of separate communities”Bikes & roadsCentralization ResultsCulture connectedTrade GREATLY increased1850186018901870314969,16723,08938,109Kilometers of RR in…
9Education Reforms Jules Ferry led reforms (1881-1886) Free & compulsory education Centralized curriculum New buildings & books Trained teachers
10Centralization Results of Education Reform Taught French language Taught urban values Created shared experience Taught nationalism Progress = good
11Teaching Nationalism & Lying with Maps Map French texts books are usingACTUAL map of Europe- note the Rhine RiverThe magic “moving” border between France & Germany!
12Universal Military Conscription Continued the process schools beganOrders and signs…Patriotism & nationalismshared experience Made the gov’t more acceptableagent of emigration Illiterate soldiers had to serve one more year
13ResultsModernity brought “unexpected hope and comfort to the peasants” “Many grieved over the loss of yesterday, but few who grieved were peasants… Thatched cottages…are picturesque on the outside, [but] living in them is another matter.”When modern farming techniques proved useful…Attitudes toward education changed Parents WANTED their kids to go to school Civil Servant jobs Jobs in gov’t & military More good feelings about the gov’t
14More ResultsTechnology changed customs RR- no more peddlers, so songs & stories die out; better heat, so veillees die outPrinting killed oral culture Development of a national consciousness French unity now more than just administrative unity-->Altered mentalite France “becomes” L’hexagone nickname- ONE nation (state?)
15AnalysisShows how small communities are absorbed into a nation and a nation-stateReminds us how recent present levels of integration really are