Popular books became common-?almanacs with astrology, weather, proverbial device, or “how to” books on behavior. Religion normally brought the classes together; in large towns, some churches would be “fashionable. ” Many of the poor did not often go to church. The elite culture, becoming skeptic, was also less religious. Diseases were shared, though famine and plague were more likely to strike the poor, crowded in their slums. In 1600, superstitions and belief in magic and witches were common to all; by 1700,they were mainly among the poor.
By 1 700, the elite was a spectator at most.
The gulf between classes widened as the elite took to more formal manners and to neoclassicism in literature and the arts. Merchant capitalism, domestic industry, and mercantilism grew rapidly. While most nations were still rural/agricultural (in 1789 only SO cities had over 50,000 people), many rural people were employed in the domestic system of industry. Though domestic trade provided the largest volume, foreign trade had become vital, with the largest enterprises, the greatest commercial fortunes, the most capital, And from it the wars of the century grew.
Many East India companies formed, including Prussian, Swedish, Venetian–but only the French, Dutch, British survived: they had the capital and the diplomatic, military, naval support. The winners made immense profits, with Britain dominant in Asia and America, Prance leader in Europe and the Middle East. Asian trade avgas a gold drain, since Asians rejected European manufactured goods while Europeans wanted silks, porcelains, spices, tea and cottons. Britain paid With gold from Ghana, the “Gold Coast,” minting the coin still called the Guiana.
Europe gradually began to compete, manufacturing carpets and tone china”. But cottons were in such demand that England passed strong protectionist laws–leading to smuggling. In America, the trade base was sugar, brought from Asia around 1650, and the plantation system: tract of land, capital investment, slave labor. The West Indies sugar trade was greater than the value of all Asia trade to Britain. Slaves first reached Virginia by 1619, with rapid growth after 1650. Huge slave trade to Jamaica–over 600,000 brought in, 1700-1786.
Britain and New England dominated slave trade, and it produced the vast capital that was to produce the Industrial Revolution and anchor the base of the new capitalism. Trade with Eastern Europe, especially Russia and Poland, expanded greatly; East European landlords increased productivity to their lands in order to purchase luxury products; thus serfdom became entrenched, Natural resources from America, resources and skills of Asia, the gold and manpower of Africa alike produced an increased volume of Goode Europe supplied the capital, the technical and organizing abilities, and the demand.
A few non-Europeans shared in the profits, but the most went to Europe, to the few. If the wealthy owners supported the government by taxes and loans, it was strong (Britain); if they did not, if failed (Prance). The European standard Of living grew for all, though capital was enthroned by the very few. People in the middle were better off, but the poorest were worse Off-serfs Of Eastern Europe, Irish peasants, dispossessed farm workers in England. Western Europe after Utrecht, 1713-1740: Spain’s empire was partitioned; it kept America but lost European holdings to Austrian, Duke of Savoy, and British.
Britain emerged as the United Kingdom, with power in the Mediterranean, Canada, and trading rights in Spanish America. Spain tried to tighten up its imperial administration, causing friction that led to revolution. In France, Louis XV was S in 1715, and nobles took advantage of a weak regent. Parliaments asserted their right to assent to taxes and laws by not enforcing laws they opposed. In Britain, Parliament conducted public business, with the House Of Lords and the House of Commons, made up of the wealthy and mainly representing money interests.
Parliament was corrupt, slow, expensive–but effective. Queen Anne died in 1714 and was replaced by George of Hanover; his weakness made Parliament stronger, and Robert Walpole became the first “Prime” Minister, The Whig, representing the great landed, London wealth, and lesser business, were a minority in Commons but dominated Lords. They opposed the Treaty of Utrecht until the King threatened to create enough peers to secure passage; the method produced the primacy of the House of Commons.
At this time the odd counter-revolutionary Jackboots emerged, scheming for return of the Stuart. Civil War was dodged in 1715, but in 1745 ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie” landed in Scotland. The Jackboots were crushed, and England moved to weaken the powerful Scots Highlanders. The War of the Spanish Succession produced large scale national debt–a new phenomenon. Governments got money by chartering companies, giving them monopolies, and then receiving large cash reserve as a loan-?used to fund the war.
Sizable amounts Of debts were held by the Bank of England (1 694), the East India Company (reorganized in 1708) and the South Sea Company, formed in 1711 to exploit the Assents. France: John Law, a Scottish financier, founded the Bank of France and set up a Mississippi Company-?which founded New Orleans and absorbed other trading companies, It received a monopoly of colonial trade and was authorized to assume the entire French national debt–proposing to pay the debts by colonial profits and the right to collect all French indirect taxes.
Shares in both companies SSE rapidly in an orgy of speculation (the “Bubble’ then confidence was lost and a crash followed which ruined many investors. Both governments were discredited, leading to the rise to Cardinal Floury and Walpole. The Bank of France was ended, and the growth of capitalism retarded a century. The French government repudiated much of the debt, (much purchased by speculators at a fraction of value); the action reduced faith in the government and meaningful tax reform avgas prevented.
For Britain: Walpole saved the principle institutions, established a sinking fund and ultimately paid all debts The crisis ended by vying the propertied, a stake in the credit of the nation–especially since nobles paid taxes. Neither Pleura nor Walpole made waves, and the middle class prospered. Walpole rigged Parliament so it always supported him, and avoided sticky issues; he set the basic principle that the cabinet should the responsible to the majority in Parliament. Both Floury and Walpole aimed at peace, though both were drawn into small wars–as the great ‘War Of Jenkins Ear” With the perfidious Spanish in 1739.
Two sets of mid-century wars were fought which go by numerous names: The War Of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) and the Seven Years War (1756-1763). War in the 18th century was slow, formal, elaborate, and indecisive. Armies and navies were conscripted from the worthless in society; professionals were long-term paid, highly trained. Weaponry was mainly smooth bore muskets and limited cannon; supplies were essential. Risks were not taken, so war was a game of strategy and maneuvering. There was little national feeling; most used many foreign mercenaries.
Civilians were little affected; there was no war hysteria, and sides could be changed relatively easily, Frederick the Great: freethinker, intellectual, writer, skeptic. King in 1740, he lost no time in using his father’s carefully reserved army and wealth by invading Sillies, the rich upper valley of the Odder River–violating the Pragmatic Sanction on the grounds that Prussia needed the territory, French nobles, dominating the diplomatic corps and the army, pressured France into the war with the traditional Hapsburg enemy Maria Theresa accomplished much.
Attacked, and facing rebellion from within, she rallied the Hungarian magnates with promises to uphold their *liberties,” In spite of Dutch and British subsidies, the combo of France, Spain, ND Prussia proved overwhelming. Maria Theresa made a separate peace with Prussia, but Prance took Bohemia and won the great battle of Opponent, taking Belgium. France also encouraged Charlie in the “45,” the rebellion of Scots against England. But the key to the afar avgas overseas.
New Englanders and the British navy captured Louisville in Canada; the British navy cut the French off from their sugar colonies and Spanish trade. Prance agreed to the Peace Of Xix- La-Chapel (1748): Britain and France returned to the status quo ante bellum: Britain returned Luxurious, France gave up Belgium. Prussia kept Sillies; Austria also lost two Italian duchies to Bourbon rulers. The treaty showed the French weakness-?unable to protect their colonies on sea and unable to control the continent. Austria survived; Prussia had Sillies.
A new war was inevitable. The Seven Years War, 1756-1763; Frederick the Greats brilliant tactics prevented defeat until the enemy coalition fall apart. Prussia kept Sillies. The rest of the war involved France vs.. Britain for control of world-wide colonies, especially in North America and India (where hot nations held only tiny specks of territory. The Illinois were too divided; they would depend on British troops to protect them. The French held great territory, hut had large settlements only at Quebec and Montreal.
They did have Indian allies due to the threat trot the English settlers and mutually advantageous trade with the French. The American colonies had considerable local government, but mercantilism laws were a disturbing factor in relationships with England. The war actually began in America: Britain chartered the Ohio Company to exploit territory claimed by France; in 1755 a British force was sent to destroy a Greene fort. The British, under William Pit, concentrated on he seas and subsidized Fred the Great–through the enormous credit secured by the Bank of England.
The British captured Fort Duquesne, Luxurious, and finally Quebec; the French were driven from Canada. The Peace of Paris, 1763: The French minimized losses in the Treaty, but Britain received all Canada, with all territory east of Mississippi R. And Spain received all French holdings west of the Mississippi t New Orleans. Prance did get back its sugar islands; while it lost all its African slave trading stations, it kept its stations in India. Prussia survived as a strong power. North America was now English.
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