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Wednesday, November 18, 2009



The Ancien Regime (the old Regime)
Term for Europe before the French Revolution and Industrial Revolution.
The Old Regime was a world in which hierarchy, and communal interests dominated.
It is associated with
- Politically: Absolute rule and aristocratically controlled armies/culture
- Economically: Agricultural dominance / Scarcity of food
- Socially: Group mentality / Rights as groups /

Sumptuary Laws
Laws governing the clothes that one is allowed to wear. Only nobles were permitted to wear certain fabrics. These laws were becoming increasingly annoying to the rising bourgeoisie (who increasingly had more cash than nobles)

Land tax in France. Most French nobles were exempt from this tax. Came to symbolize the unfair position/rights of nobles in the old regime.

System of forced labor for public works in France. (i.e. get ‘drafted’ to build a road)
Nobles were exempt from this. Another source of anger/resentment in the old regime

Mandatory service that serfs owed to the landlords in Austria. Source of anger/resentment

Game Laws
Laws granting nobles the exclusive right to hunt game for sport. These laws forbid all other people from hunting for food. Poaching (illegal hunting) was a capital offense.
In Times of famine, peasants could not kill wild animals for food no matter how plentiful they may be. One of the clearest examples of aristocratic dominance and manipulation of laws of the old regime.

Emelyan Pugachev (Pugachev Rebellion)
Leader of the largest peasant revolt in Europe. He promised Russian peasants land and freedom. Catherine the great brutally suppressed this revolt. Thereafter, any thoughts of improving the lives of peasants was set aside for a generation. Example of Catherine’s willingness to be brutal and an example of how attempts to improve conditions can unwittingly cause a backlash.

Bodies of nobles in France
Often used by nobles to gas up urban unrest among the masses of paris against the Monarchy.

Servant (p 486)
Person hired to work for the head of the household in exchange for room, board, and wages. Usually young people trying to get enough money to create their own household.

Illegitimate children
Children born out of wedlock. Their numbers increased in the 1700s.
Often led to infanticide or abandonment.

The killing of unwanted infants usually by smothering or exposure to the elements.
One of the many unfortunate consequences of the population explosion of the 1700s

“Foundling” Hospitals
Created to deal with the increase in abandoned children. Massive increases in the numbers caused a strain on this system. Only about 10% of the “foundlings” of Paris survived to 10 years old.

Agricultural Revolution (1700s)
A series of innovations that greatly increased food production in Europe, and led to a growth in population. These innovations included New Crops (turnips/potatos), new methods (fertilizers), and new land methods (enclosure). It began in the low countries and quickly spread to Britain.

Jethro Tull
Innovator in Agriculture. Created the seed drill. Just recognize his name as associated with the Ag Rev and not crappy 70s music (Aqualung!)

Charles “Turnip” Townsend
Innovator in the Ag Rev. Advocated crop rotation using nitrogen replacing plants (turnips/clover)

Open Field System
The traditional way European agriculture was organized. Traditionally, farmers cultivated unconnected strips of land held “in common”. This common land was controlled/owned by the community. This system was not the most efficient BUT was designed to favor poorer farmers.
This system was designed to guarantee a steady food supply, and was not designed to promote innovation and increase the amount of food.

The Enclosure Movement (replaced the open field system)
Movement in the 1700s by landowners to enclose (fence off) their land. The goal of landowners was to increase production to achieve greater commercial profits. This change of culture brought about a lot of turmoil and the poor often rioted against it. Parliament approved this historic change because the large landowners controlled parliament.
Importance: agriculture became more about profits, and the traditional protections for the poor decreased.

Fallow Fields
Fields left unused in the belief that they will “regenerate” It’s part of the medieval 3 field system.
The practice doesn’t work. The abandonment of this practice is part of the Agricultural Revolution

The middle class (of the 1700s)
The new urban group that is not as ‘high’ as the nobility but not as ‘low’ as the peasants. They are a new force in Europe and the traditional institutions are not equipped to deal with them . . .yet.

The Bourgeoisie
The French term for the middle class. The new professional urban class of merchants/lawyers/etc.
They fed the consumer culture with their large incomes. They had $ but no respect / rights.
They were despised from above and envied from below. They will “overthrow” the nobility.
Important: the industrial revolution is treating these people right. They are the primary beneficiaries of the profits and the primary consumers of the new products.

Petty Bourgeoisie (Petite Bourgeoisie) - (Kagan will refer to them as “artisans”)
Urban Shopkeepers class. They are the skilled artisans / craftsmen who own their own business, control their life and make just enough to do well in good times but struggle in bad ones. Sometimes classified as a lower tier of the middle class, and sometimes as the top tier of the lower class. I think Kagan places them at the top of the lower class.
Important: the industrial revolution is slowing squeezing them out of existence. Old social safety nets (family, community, guilds) cannot keep up with the disruptions.

Nuclear families:
- households of Parents and children. It is the opposite of the Extended family in which multiple generations live together.

Population trends of 1700+ (p 497)
Population has steadily increased since the 1700s.
Causes: Death rate declined due to fewer wars, epidemics, and better hygiene/sanitation.
(medicine is NOT a factor in the 1700s). Food production is THE reason however. The agricultural revolution increased the yield dramatically.
Impacts: created new demand for consumer goods. Provided new pool of labor. Major contributor to the decline of the Old Regime (since traditional institutions/cultures could not cope)

Guild (CW):
kinda like a combination Labor Union and Business Association. Craftsmen (blacksmiths, brewers, etc) would combine into a guild and determine such issues as prices, product quality, training, etc. A Guild was also like a Brentwood Mega-Church in that it was the social center for that particular group AND would take care of members who needed help (provided a social safety net in bad times). Guilds were THE basic structure of the economy in europe from the middle ages to about 1800.

- any distinct district of a city into which a minority is segregated and treated as a distinct group. Ghettos historically refer to Jewish sectors of a city.

Alex Dostaler

1789-Does that have anything to do with the fact that's when we gained our independence from England?


Uh, I don't know who your teachers have been for the past several years, but America declared its independence in 1776 (even though technically we didn't gain our independence untill 1783 when the war was over)...


P.S. I appologize for the tone of that last post...it wasn't meant to be so aggressive.

Sheepie the Hippie


Alex Dostaler

1789 is when Washington was elected President. We fixed up our government by then. You know what I mean.


what acoounted for the late marriages?


what were the "chief social characteristics" of the Old Regime?


could anybody explain a little clearer then the book on enclosures and how it was related with the poorer rural folks

and libby late marriages were due to the fact that people were servants before getting married to acquire the skill and money needed to build thier own marriage.



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