18th century Politics

Agricultural Revolution
• Began in the Netherlands and England
• Scientific Agriculture
• Charles “Turnip” Townsend
turnips, clover, alfalfa----fodder crops
The Potato
Large family could sustain itself on less than
1 acre of land.
Main source of diet in Ireland, Russia and
• New farming practice called Terracing
• Allows for reclaiming swamps, bogs and
• Jethro Tull---the seed drill, Cultivator
• Selective Breeding awards for fattest cattle
in England.
• For efficiency—old farming methods ended
& introduced Enclosure Acts
• Forced people to the cities as they were
Commercial Revolution II
• East India companies were old school.
• Triangular Trade was the new gold mine.
• Started by Portuguese—after War of Spanish
Succession it was controlled by the British
• 60,000 slaves brought to the New World
• British capitalism created by slave trade
• Run by France and Britain---for sugar
• This sugar was needed for the NEW beverages
that came from the east---Coffee and Tea
• New cloth---calico
• Profits from commerce developed
capitalist Government became
dependent on entrepreneurs for tax
revenue and gov.loans.
• Middle class begins to merge with
• Created commercial rivalries that lead
to international wars.
Diplomacy and War
• After Peace of Utrecht (1713-14)
• England and France renewed rivalry
• Prussia and Austria argue of German
• Russia threatened stability of the Baltic
due to accomplishments of Peter the
• (Great Northern War—Sweden)
Louis XV
• Became king at age 5—France ruled by
• Parlement of Paris assumed right of
taxation, legislation political power---up to
(Did this mostly for Paris area)
Louis XV relied on Cardinal Fluery---old
school aristocrat who wanted power for
the nobles
King was lazy, preferred hunting to ruling.
• Governments need for money lead to:
• Scottish investor John Law and the
Mississippi Company
Speculation lead to the Mississippi Bubble
which broke in 1720 and bankrupted
the state is now in deep debt.
• NOTE: France never developed the
concept of Public debt---it was the
King’s debt.
• England developed credit institutions
and the ability to borrow funds.
The “King in Parliament”
• This means that as of 1688 the monarch
continued to play a role in politics—but
it had to work through Parliament and
the growing office of the Prime Minister
to pass legislation.
Dynastic Change
• The last Stuart (Queen Anne) died in 1714
without an heir.
• England turned to the German
• Tories wanted to bring back James III (a
Stuart) who had lead an uprising in
Scotland in 1715 and his son who did
likewise in 1745
• Whig membership in Parliament would
not allow another Catholic monarch so
the Hanoverians ruled.
• George I did not even speak English—thus
the PM’s gained power.
Commercial Issues
• England worked hand in hand with
government and private enterprise
• The Bank of England issued stock to
finance government debt and allowed
investors to draw more capital loans
than other countries.
The South Sea Bubble
• 1720 a near disaster in this over
invested scheme—as in France.
• Although there was great loss—English
banks saved the company and the
other credit institutions.
• Britain continued to be sound
Development of Cabinet System
• NOTE: Britain was NOT a democracy in
the 18th century.
• Parliament was controlled by large
landowners and wealthy commercial
• Growing cities like Liverpool,
Birmingham and Manchester had no
• Pocket boroughs---were dominant.
• Robert Walpole established the Cabinet System
and was said to be the first PM.
• He appointed ministers (from Parliament) to
run government agencies (mostly commercial
minded individuals)
• Through appointments, patronage and bribes
Walpole managed to create a union of loyal
members and to push desired legislation
through Parliament (the House of Commons).
• He encouraged overseas investments and kept
taxes at home very low.
• He was forced into the war with Spain 1739-42
but this lead to other wars. . ..
Wars of the 18th Century
Armies were recruited from the poor or after a
night at the local pub.
Officers were aristocrats who ran armies with
severe discipline measures.
Conflict did not disrupt civilians and the land and
thus were less destructive than in previous
centuries (30 Years War).
Since armies were expensive battles were fought
by marching formations thus imparting a
parade like appearance to the wars. Added to
by the wearing of very bright colored uniforms.
Used inaccurate “smoothbore” muskets
War of Austrian Succession
• Maria Theresa---Pragmatic Sanction
• Frederick II---Silesia
• Britain joined on side of Austria to
prevent a break in the balance of
• Ends in Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle 1748
The War Spread
• France and Britain fought over lands in the
Caribbean, India and most important
• Britain eagerly allowed Fred II to keep
Silesia if it meant that France did not get
Belgium which stayed under Austrian
• War started traditional hatred between
Austria and Prussia for control of German
Reforms of Maria Theresa
• Centralized tax collection
• Tripled size of army
• Founded Military Academy and
Engineering Schools.
• Promoted primary education
• Promoted smallpox vaccination
• Outlawed torture and capital punishment
• Goals was to get support of people to
retake Silesia which failed.
Count von Kaunitz
• Maria’s primary minister
• Diplomatic Revolution of 1756
• France ceased hating Austria (back to
Richelieu) and entered into an alliance against
Prussia – Russia also joined this. Marriage of
Maria’s daughter (Marie Antoinette to Louis
XVI is a result). Maria is not seen as
enlightened due to Catholic sympathies.
• Thus Britain was forced onto the side of
Prussia to prevent an “unbalancing of power”
and a threat to the ancestral home of the
Seven Years War 1756-63
• This is a Hooray for Fred II and also his
• Outnumbered 10-1 he fought on even
when Berlin was burned.
• Britain provided financial support (the
• Frederick’s opponents were disorganized
and the French did not trust their new
partner Austria.
• Frederick held Silesia (Treaty of
English and French side of the
• Under leadership of William Pitt the
Younger Britain won battles in North
Amer, Carib, & India.
• France once again is on losing side of a
costly war in terms of colonies, ships
and men.
• Britain’s Navy turns the tide
Treaty of Paris 1756
• Britain gets NA east of Mississippi River
• Britain gets control if India
• France got control of some sugar
islands in the Caribbean
• In North America (known as French and Indian
War) it left British colonists free of French threats.
• It made the British want to force the colonists to
pay for the cost of the war---which lead to the
American Revolution.
• It established the hatred of Prussia and Austria as
rivals for German superiority.
• Set the stage for the French Revolution (France is
in major debt).
• Britain now in charge of India sets out to destroy
the Mogul Empire and a series of events that will
change both nations.