The Struggle for Wealth & Empire

The Struggle for
Wealth & Empire
Social Structure
of the
Old Regime
Demographic Changes
Growth resulted from:
• Diet - Agricultural & Industrial Revolution meant
more food & a wider variety
– Malnutrition & famine became rarer
• Transportation Improvements – building roads &
canals made it easier for gov’t to address local
food shortages
• Decline of the plague – Bubonic Plague
mysteriously disappears
• Weather – the Little Ice Age came to an end
• Medical Improvements – Edward Jenner introduced
the smallpox vaccine in Europe in the 18th century
The Class System
• Society was divided into estates – legally
defined classes to determine status
– Special privileges for noble blood
– Wealthy merchants & poor aristocrats
• See Class System Chart
Family Life
• Western Europe - predominantly nuclear
• Eastern Europe – extended families due to
tax system
• Europeans married later than others
– Late twenties for both men & women
• Delayed marriage until able to provide for family
Family Economic Life
• Families labored together
– Agricultural tasks were divided by gender
• Men did heavier tasks (plowing)
• Women assisted with harvesting, mowing &
preparing food
– In town
• Boys were apprenticed young
• Young women became domestics to earn a dowry
– Dowry guaranteed favorable marriage
– Often faced abuse from male family members they served
• Apprentice Link
Family & Community
• Few illegitimate children before 1750 due
to social pressure
– Rapid increase in illegitimacy from 1750-1850
• Rise of income from cottage industries where small
children could contribute to the family income
• Migration to cities disrupted traditional patterns of
arranged marriages and enforcement of marriage
promises by men
Infanticide & Child Abandonment
• Birth control was unreliable & abortion was
– Unwanted children often “accidentally”
smothered at night
– Storm drain opened in Rennes, France, 1721
disclosed the skeletons of 80 infants
• Philanthropists & RCC built foundling homes
– Often overcrowded & understaffed
• Children seen as “sprigs of Adam”
– Spare the rod and spoil the child
• “rule of thumb” derived from the legal size of the rod
a man could use on children & wife
• Children were tightly swaddled to restrict
• Elite used wet nurses
– Kept parents & children detached – reduced
sense of loss if child died
Enlightened View of Children
• Ideas of John Locke & educational writing of
Jean-Jacques Rousseau changed the
accepted view
– Children seen as innocent – needed love &
guidance to develop
– Elite families began providing age appropriate
toys & books
• John Newberry wrote simplified scientific books with
illustrations to appeal to children
– Government provided primary education
The Dynamic Economy of the
Eighteenth Century
Cottage Industry
• In the 18th century cottage industry
– Merchant capitalist were able to get around
guilds by paying rural families to finish raw
• Textile production was easily done by this
– Merchants reinvested profits
– Provided families with opportunity to
supplement family income
Agricultural Revolution
• Began in the Netherlands & England
– Introduced new crops & applied new techniques
– Charles “Turnip” Townsend supported idea of
using nitrogen replenishing crops
• Turnips, alfalfa and clover also provided fodder for
– Manure used to fertilize fields
• Potato became most important crop for
human consumption
– Easy to grow – high in vitamins
– Became staple crop in Ireland, Prussia & Russia
More Changes
• Land clearing techniques included terracing
– Dutch & English reclaimed swamps & bogs
• Jethro Tull advocated soil aeration with hoes
– Invented the seed drill to plant seeds safely
– Encouraged selective breeding
• English government gave awards for fattest,
meatiest cattle
– Increased amount of meat in the average diet
Enclosure Acts
• Efficiency requires economies of scale
– Doing things BIG
– Had to abandon open-field system
• England had started enclosures in 16th c.
• 1700’s, Parliament passed enclosure acts
– Wealthy landowners bought up common land
• Enclosed as part of manor
• Loss of common land hurt poor – made them
dependant on wage earning
– Went to cities as unskilled labor
Commercial Revolution,
Phase II
Triangular Trade
• French & English surpassed the Dutch
– East India trade companies exploited demand
for foreign goods
• Triangular trade exchanged goods
between Africa, Europe & Americas
– Facilitated slave trade driven by sugar demand
– Spices, coffee, tea, calicos, muslins & chintzes
also in demand
• Signs of status – consumer revolution in tastes
Slave Trade
• Sugar was the major high profit item
– Sugar producing Caribbean islands were worth
more than the entire N.Am continent
– Increased demand for slaves
• 600,000 slaves to Jamaica (1700-1786)
• Leaders of the trade:
– Portuguese – Dutch – English (after the War
of Spanish Succession
• British capitalism benefited from slave trade
• Profits so easy – no incentive to change
Global Trade Results
• Profits from commerce promoted the
development of capitalist system
– Governments became dependent on
entrepreneurs for tax $$ and loans
• Growth of wealthy middle class merged
with aristocracy
• Potential for riches led to intensification
of commercial rivalries which led to war
Diplomacy & War
• Louis XV- 5 y.o. when
he became king
– Parlement claimed
more power
– Louis was lazy & relied
on advisors
• Mme Pompadour often
advised the king
• Cardinal Fleury – main
advisor to king
– wanted to maintain
peace not make policy
• Landed & commercial
classes increased power
– Large gov’t debt led to
crisis in finanace
• Sold land in Mississippi
– Led to Mississippi
Bubble – bankrupted
– See reading
• “The King in Parliament”
– Monarch had to work through Parliament & the
Prime Minister to pass legislation & to govern
• Queen Anne died w/o heir
– Monarchy passed to Hanoverians (German)
» George I did not speak English
– Government continued uninterrupted because of the prime
minister & cabinet
• Commercially GB succeed with relationship
between gov’t & private enterprise
– Bank of England financed gov’t debt
• South Sea Bubble disaster – read article
British Cabinet System
• Robert Walpole = 1st prime minister
– Appointed men to head gov’t agencies
• They also served in Parliament
• They were commercial-oriented Whigs loyal to
– Cabinet seen as a group bound together for common
– Walpole used manipulation & stock to keep
Parliamentary support in the House of Commons
– Walpole advanced British commercial interests
while avoiding war (except a naval war with
Eighteenth Century Warfare
War of Austrian Succession
The Main Players
Maria Theresa - Austria
Frederick II - Prussia
The Prussian
• Fredrick II (The Great)
– Was hated by his father Frederick William I
• FII preferred music and learning French to fighting
• FWI wanted to break his son
– When FII tried to run away with a friend, FWI had the
friend executed in front of his son
– When FII inherited the throne most observers
expected his to destroy what his father had
built – He became one of Europe’s great rulers
• Military genius who wanted Silesia
The Austrian
• Maria Theresa came to power when her
father, HRE Charles VI, died without a male
– The Pragmatic Sanction insured that the
Habsburgs would retain control of the land and
power of the Holy Roman Empire
• Immediately after the birth of her son,
Joseph II, she held him aloft before an
assembly of Hungarian nobles to gain their
War of Austrian Succession
• Frederick II, “The Great”, attacked Austria
– Defied the Pragmatic Sanction
– Spain, Saxony, Bavaria joined in to claim territory
• France (hated Habsburgs) allied with Prussia
• GB sided w/Austria to maintain balance of power
• Treaty of Aix-La-Chappell (French-English
directed treaty) allowed MT to keep many
– Lost Silesia to Prussia
War of Austrian Succession
• Britain and France fought in several areas
– Each was trying to protect their commercial &
colonial interests
• GB took NA fortress of Louisburg & some Caribbean
• France got Madras in India & controlled Belgium
• Treaty of Aix-La-Chappell (French-English
directed treaty) allowed MT to keep many
– British give Silesia to Prussia so France will
control of Belgium to Austria
So What Does It Mean??
• The war highlighted 2 main points:
– France was in an unfavorable strategic
• Stuck between major continental commitments
that needed a large army and a growing empire
that needed naval support
– Austria & Prussia sat in uneasy coexistence
in Germany
• Prussia had slight advantage with its gain of
The Reforms of Maria Theresa
• Centralized the collection of taxes and
combined the chancelleries of the territories
– Reduced inefficiency
• Tripled the size of the army & established a
military academy
• Promoted primary education
– To aid economic productivity
• Promoted use of smallpox vaccine
• Outlawed torture & capital punishment
• Eased the burdens of the serfs
• She wanted to strengthen the state so
she could recapture . . .
Diplomatic Revolution of 1756
• 1756 Austrian diplomat Count von
Kaunitz engineered the greatest
diplomatic feat in history
– Convinced France to give up their
traditional hatred of the Habsburgs and
ally against Prussia (the “bigger threat”)
• This forced Britain to ally with Prussia
to maintain the balance of power
– France & Britain end in colonial conflict
The Seven Years’ War, 1756-1763
Frederick II & the War
• Outnumbered 10-1
• Berlin burned to the ground
• British gave $ but were too focus on the
fighting in the colonies to help
• Held on to Silesia with the Treaty of
– France & Austria didn’t really trust each
other – remained too disorganized
Britain & France
• William Pitt the Elder led the British to
victories on land & at sea
– North America, the Caribbean & India
• France was depleted by fighting major
battles in Europe & in NA
• Both England & France used their East
India companies to exploit the decaying
Mughal gov’t in India
– Britain’s superior naval force won the largest
The Results:
• Treaty of Paris, 1756
– Britain gained sole access to North America
east of the Mississippi River & became
dominant power in India
– France got back profitable sugar islands in the
• Continued to grow commercially after 1763 &
outstripped British trade
Treaty of Paris, 1756
• This is one of the most important treaties we
study this year!!
• Set the stage for major events on 3 continents
– North America:
• Colonists were free of the French threat – British wanted them
to help pay for the war
– Europe:
• Dualism of Austria & Prussia in Germany was confirmed
• Stage was set for the French Revolution because of the
increased debt & increasing criticism of the monarchy
– Asia:
• Britain established a strong presence in India as the Mughal
Empire dissolved