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Society and Economy in Early Modern Europe

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  1. Society and Economy in Early Modern Europe 1450-1750 AP World History Unit 3

  2. POPULATION GROWTH • American foods improved European nutrition and diets. • Increased resistance to epidemics after 1650s. • Life spans increased. • Infant deaths decrease. • European population increased. • 81 million in 1500 to 180 million in 1800. • Urbanization • Rapid growth of major cities: • Paris from 130,000 in 1550 to 500,000 in 1650. • Cities increasingly important as administrative and commercial centers. • Most dramatic in Ireland, England, Poland, France, and Netherlands.

  3. EARLY CAPITALISM • Profits and ethics • Medieval theologians considered profit making to be selfish and sinful. • Renaissance merchants supported changes and arts becoming influential in society. • Protestant Reformation saw profit, success as signs of God’s favor • Early capitalism • Led to increased influence for urban middle classes. • Altered rural society. • Improved material standards. • Increased independence of rural workers. • Capitalism generated deep social strains. • Bandits, muggers, and witch-hunting. • Began to impoverish urban workers.

  4. EARLY CAPITALISM • The Price Revolution • Use of money replaced barter. • Imports of gold and/or silver led to trade imbalances. • Mercantilism demanded payments in gold and/or silver. • Spain and Portugal did not support manufacturing. • Both countries had to import goods. • Too much money chasing, too few goods. • Inflation resulted. • Peasants and aristocrats. • On fixed incomes. • Payments from good economies suffered. • Inflation drove real wages down.

  5. COMMERCIAL REVOLUTION • The nature of capitalism • Private parties sought to take advantage of free market conditions. • Economic decisions by private parties, not by governments or nobility. • Forces of supply and demand determined price. • New managerial skills and banking arrangements arose. • Supply and demand • Merchants built efficient transportation and communication networks. • New institutions and services: • Banks, insurance, and stock exchanges. • Joint-stock companies • Dutch East Indies and English East/West Indies Companies. • Organized commerce on a new scale. • Authorized to explore, conquer, and colonize distant lands.

  6. COMMERCIAL REVOLUTION • Rise of Manufacturing • Colonial markets, population stimulated manufacturing • Putting-out system of 17th and 18th centuries • Entrepreneurs bypassed guilds • Moved production to countryside • Rural labor cheap, cloth production highly profitable • Capitalism actively supported by governments • Especially in England and Netherlands • Chartered joint-stock companies • Protected property, upheld contracts, settled disputes • Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations • Considered the founding father of capitalism • Society would prosper as individuals pursued their own interests • States were to support private interests, free trade

  7. MORE CHANGES • Mass Culture Arises • Use of some luxuries becomes common. • Rise of leisure time even for poorer people. • Rise of professional entertainment. • Immigration by commoners to colonies. • Agriculture changes • New technologies applied to farming. • Draining swamps, animal breeding. • New tools to increase productivity. • Introduction of new world crops. • Example: potato

  8. MORE CHANGES • Manufacturing • Mass produced items common. • Examples: textiles and metal products • Capitalism stimulates production as profitable. • New jobs caused people to move into manufacturing from agriculture. • New Social Classes • Rise of entrepreneurial class with great wealth. • Rise of a technological managerial class.

  9. SOCIAL CHANGE ANDSOCIAL PROTEST • Rise of urban and rural working class. • Referred to as proletariat. • Paid low wages in horrible conditions. • At mercy of price revolutions. • Many peasants reduced to paid wages. • Social Tensions • Peasant revolts especially during Reformation. • In France and Germany rose against landlords. • Many sought more radical forms of Protestantism. • Urban citizens also tended towards Protestantism. • Persecution of witches.

  10. SOCIAL CHANGE ANDSOCIAL PROTEST • Elite and Mass Culture • Prior to Reformation, there were two cultures. • Elite and Common. • Two rarely intermixed or cooperated. • Mass culture such as entertainment. • Faith often became elite culture. • The nuclear family strengthened by capitalism • Families more independent economically, socially, and emotionally • Love between men and women. • Parents and children became more important.

  11. GENDER ISSUES • Renaissance saw expansion of women’s rights. • Books written for women. • Education of women allowed. • Women could enter public arenas as intellectuals. • Reformation took back many of the rights. • Many reformers were women. • Many threatened males traditional roles. • Protestants emphasized family role of women.. • Witch-hunts in Europe. • Theories and fears of witches intensified in 16th century. • Reformation fed hysteria about witches and devil worship. • About 60,000 executed. • 95 percent of them women.

  12. GENDER ISSUES • Commercial and Capitalist Revolution • Women needed often to support family by outside work. • Many women merchants very successful. • Women assumed new economic roles. • Education and Women • Education was one of few avenues open to women. • Aristocratic women often educated. • Enlightenment saw first major victories for women’s rights. • Women ran intellectual salons of France. • Many very prominent as philosophers. • Some few feminists appeared.