The Age of Crisis

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The Age of Crisis
1550-1650
Social Issues
 Rising
and then declining
population
 Rise of new classes (e.g., gentry
and nobles of robe)
 Rising crime rate
 Witchcraft Scare (100,000 killed)
Economic Changes
Enclosure movement
 Commercial Revolution and
Commercial Agriculture
 Serfdom in E. Europe increases
 Nobles revive feudal obligations—
leads to widespread peasant revolts
 Price Revolution

Intellectual Changes
 Scientific
Revolution
 Belief in supernatural still strong
 Rise of national cultures
(Shakespeare, Cervantes, etc.)
 Decline of Church’s influence over
education
“X” Factor--Nature
 Sunspots
cease—coincidence?
 “Little Ice Age”—rainy and cooler
 Famine and plague
 Lack of scientific explanations for
these phenomena—attributed to
devils, witches, the “enemy”
Political Factors
Religious Wars
 Rebellions over centralization, taxes,
war (Catalonia/Portugal—1640s,
Fronde, etc.)
 First theories justifying rebellion
against monarchs and justifying
absolute rule

Results
 Desire
for order
 Justification for absolutism
 Needs of warfare and
international competition
 Drive for resources, trade,
colonies
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