Flashcards in Economic and Social Life in Early Modern Europe Deck (17)
What defined the end of the fifteenth century socially and economically?
There was a large growth in population. This increase in population was important for economic productivity because manpower outweighed technology. The expansion of the population also meant increased consumerism and greater demand for food and essentials.
What was the Price Revolution?
It was the significant increase in prices in the early modern period. This resulted from the influx of precious metals from the New World as well as the increase in population.
What were the effects of the Price Revolution?
It was a huge change for a society that was accustomed to stable prices. It was an important factor behind the development of some social tensions.
What was the social effect of the Price Revolution?
A new class of wealthy people developed who were below the aristocracy but bought new landholdings called the gentry. The habits of the gentry increased the price of land.
What was the enclosure movement?
It was a movement by the gentry to enclose land for their personal use that had once been available for grazing by the whole community.
What was the result of high land prices?
Rural poverty became significantly worse during the early modern period. Small farmers became beggars. As the problem of poverty began to weigh on the political elite, in Catholic countries, the Church was the provider of social services; in Protestant countries, the government provided for the poor.
How were the poor dealt with in Western Europe?
Countries in Western Europe had to deal with overpopulation and created new welfare laws, like the English Poor Laws.
How were the poor dealt with in Eastern Europe?
Low population density was a major problem, and wealthy landowners solved their labor shortages by binding the formerly free peasants in a process of enserfment.
What was farm life like in early modern Europe?
Life was a constant struggle to find the resources to survive. Most did not travel beyond a few miles of their birth. Homes were made of wood, mud, and straw and lacked windows and ventilation. They had very few worldly possessions. Summer was the working season, and late winter was dangerous if it exhausted all of the household's resources. Farmland was set out in long strips and sheep and cows grazed on communal land. Most people were subsistence farmers.
What was the farming system used in northern Europe?
The three-field rotation system.
What was the farming system used in the Mediterranean?
The two-field rotation system.
What was life like in cities and towns?
There was a greater variety of occupations with emphasis on specialization, like baking or brewing. Guilds played a role in the production of important commodities. However, guild production was being supplanted by new method of production due to expansion of population and the growth of markets. Capitalist entrepreneurs raised capital to organize production and sell it altogether, helping rural households in the winter. This put pressure on guild members, and former guild members became wage earners with little hope of social mobility, making them more likely to be involved in the later urban revolts.
What was family life and structure like during the early modern era?
It was a nuclear family, with the average family having no more than three or four children. This was the result of later marriages and therefore fewer childbearing years. Marriages were arranged by parents and involved the transfer of property. Marriage was important because couples could integrate into society, while single men and women were treated suspiciously.
What was the role of men in the family?
The family with the father at the head was a reflection of the hierarchal ordering in society. Wealthy men tried to ensure wealth remained intact, while their children inherited the estate or joined the military or government.
What was the role of women in the family?
Women could only determine who would receive their dowry upon death, although husbands often managed it. Domestic service was often the only option for poor women.
How was the family an economic unit?
Child labor was accepted, while men played a larger role in the public sphere while women had responsibility over the home. In agricultural communities, everyone was expected to work in the fields, and some merchant wives performed bookkeeping for their husbands. In some cases, women performed the man's job and the home sphere. Only the very rich could afford having an idle wife, resulting in higher rates of childbirth and infant mortality for richer families.