• Share
  • Email
  • Embed
  • Like
  • Save
  • Private Content
1   The Ancien RéGime

1 The Ancien RéGime






Total Views
Views on SlideShare
Embed Views



1 Embed 8

http://www.educis.co.uk 8


Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    1   The Ancien RéGime 1 The Ancien RéGime Presentation Transcript

    • The Ancien R égime: From this…. King Louis XIV (1643-1715)
    • … . To This Louis XVI (1774-1792)
    • Introduction : Defining the Ancien R égime
      • Term coined by French Revolutionaries: ‘ancien’ = former
      • First systematic analysis Alexis de Toqueville (1856)
      • A particularly French story but term also applied to rest of 18 th century Europe: Britain, Austria-Hungary, Prussia and Russia
    • Key features
      • Strong absolutist monarchy
      • An established church
      • Privileged order of nobility
    • 1) Absolute Monarchy
      • Personal power
      • Peter I (the Great) of Russia (1682-1725): autocrat
      • France: Bourbon dynasty: absolutist rule from palace at Versailles
      • Britain: constitutional monarchy – power limited by Bill of Rights (1689); Triennial Act (1694); Act of Settlement (1702) but monarch appointed ministers, patronage
    • Multiple kingdoms and composite states: Size and diversity of territory, needed strong control from the centre
      • Russia: added parts of E.Europe, the Baltic, Ottoman Empire
      • Habsburg Empire: ‘a mildly centripetal agglutination of bewilderingly heterogeneous elements’ (Robert Evans)
      • parts of central & E. Europe, N. Italy, Luxembourg,Belgium
      • France: different linguistic groups
      • Britain: Ruled by Hanoverians, Scotland added (1707); Ireland (1800)
    • Law and Order
      • Need to impress authority and compel obedience
      • Extensive capital code everywhere, judicial torture in Eastern Europe
      • France – lettres de cachet
      • Even in Britain with common law, right of habeas corpus – number of capital offences rose from 160 in 1760 to 200 in 1800 (though juries reluctant to convict)
      • Public executions: power of authority made visible
    • Mercantilism
      • Total subjection of economy to needs of state
      • Protection of national trades, trade policy = inflow of gold and silver (from Americas and Asia) and outflow of manufactured goods.
      • Aim: favourable balance of trade – more exports than imports
      • Rationale: easier to tax income from overseas trade than to introduce unpopular domestic taxes
      • Required expensive navies and colonies, agriculture neglected
    • The costs of warfare
      • 18 th century – almost constant warfare
      • Gold and silver needed to fund armies and navies
      • World trade = zero-sum game
      • Trade was war, war = best way to increase trade
      • France at war every other year from 1660 to 1780
      • 3 expensive wars:
      • War of Spanish Succession (1713)
      • War of Austrian Succession (1740)
      • Seven Years War (1756-63)
      • European monarchs reliant on loans to fund warfare
    • Britain and the ‘fiscal-military’ state
      • Monarchs – poor personal credit rating (Charles II defaulted on £1.3 million loan in 1671)
      • - needed to de-personalize public credit
      • 1694: Bank of England founded
      • Creation of National Debt – money lent to nation not the monarch – collateral = land and wealth of nation
      • National debt: allowed massive government expenditure in wartime to be repaid by tax money in peacetime
      • Growth in state bureaucracy:
      • 1660 – 1200 revenue officials; 1750 – 16,000 officials
      • Beginning of 18 th century Royal Navy had 173 ships, by the end nearly 1,000
    • And the rest…
      • Other monarchies reliant on mercantile policy of ‘liquid cash’ (gold and silver in coffers, expensive loans)
      • End of Seven Years war, Louis XV paying 10% interest on loans
      • Maria Theresa of Austria-Hungary (1740-1780) debt of 7-8 times
      • Empire’s income after wars with Prussia in 1740s
      • Much of instability of ancien regime & desire for enlightened reform derived from need to rationalise finance to pay for war
    • War and Patriotism
      • Patriotism, or national pride – justified financial and personal demands of warfare
      • but
      • Patriotism, could also be used against state
      • Idea that the nation, not the ruling dynasty = ultimate source of authority
      Jacques-Louis David , Oath of the Horatii (1784)
    • 2) The confessional state
      • Ancien regime: no separation between church and state
      • Most of Europe still in grip of Catholic counter-reformation
      • Britain and some smaller states = outposts of Protestantism
      • Russia - Orthodox church
    • Church and civil society
      • Function of established church = to uphold established order
      • Church responsible for civil registration (births, marriages deaths)
      • Notices from government read at Sunday services
      • Controlled education – the Jesuits in Austria, Spain and France
      • Censorship: The Index in Austria and Spain
      • Major landowner (monasteries, estates, universities, schools, charities)
      • Supported by its own taxes: tithes to Church of England, portion congru é to Catholic Church in France
    • Persecution and Toleration
      • Russia and Austria notorious for persecution of non-orthodox
      • Maria Theresa’s promotion of Catholicism: baroque churches, ‘conversion’ houses for Protestants, ‘heretics’ removed to remote regions
      • 1727: decree banishing all Jews from Russian empire
      • More tolerant: Frederick II of Prussia
      • Britain, considered most tolerant kingdom in Europe but
    • Penal laws against Catholics and non-conformists in Britain
      • Test Act 1673 – Prohibited those who were not members of the established church from holding public office 
      • Marriage Act 1697 – Discouraged marriages between Catholics and Protestants 
      • Popery Act [1704 & 1709] RCs to divide land equally among sons – diminished RC landholdings 
      • 1728 - Disenfranchising Act: RCs prohibited from voting
    • Popular Religion
      • Spread of religious enthusiasm
      • Jansenism (France)
      • Pietism (Germany)
      • Wesleyean Methodism (Britain)
      • More authentic form of religious observance
      • Pietism made state religion in Prussia, 1727
    • 3) Nobility
      • 2 to 5 % of population
      • Many recent titles – owed their rank to monarch
      • Peter the Great: tried to make noble rank dependent on service to Tsar
      • Table of Ranks (1722): nobility classified into 14 ranks, 262 posts: military, naval, administrative and court – rank = performance related
    • Privilege and honour
      • Usually exempt from taxation, right to carry swords
      • Britain – elite relatively open, but small (peerage = 1000 families)
      • Prussia – dominated officer class and civil service
      • France – church hierarchy, leader of Parlements and intendants
      • Britain, magistrates
    • Privileges also limitations
      • Usually, not allowed to trade, or practice professions
      • Prussia, banned from selling land outside nobility
      • Britain, primogeniture, but most of European aristocracy had to provide for extensive families
      • Wealthy nobility – Esterhazys in Austria, Dukes of Devonshire, Earls of Carlisle
      • But also poorer cousins
    • Landownership
      • France and Britain nobility owned estimated ¼ of arable land
      • Fixed labour force: Prussia, Poland, Russia, eastern provinces of Habsburg monarchy = serfs
      • Russia – nearly half population = serfs, around 56% owned by nobility
      • Western Europe: Peasants – harsh conditions, no compensations for improvements, payment in kind, obliged to work on royal roads ( corv ée ), liable for military conscription
      • Food riots and ‘moral economy’ (grain should be sold at ‘just price’)
      • Russia, 1773: Pugachev revolt against landowners
    • Wealth
      • Leverage over monarchs provided by nobles independent wealth
      • Coal and iron ore on aristocratic estates, ownership of town property – benefited from urban industrial expansion
      • Austria, France and Britain – loans and contracts with royal houses
      • France: nobility’s resistance to attempts to reform taxation (eg. By Louis XV’s ministers: Machault, 1749 and Calonne 1780s)
      • Monarchs forced to draw on a short-term, high-interest loans – in France would lead to bankruptcy
    • Conclusion: When (and why) did ancien regime fall?
      • Only one regime fell: France in 1789
      • Failure of Bourbon dynasty to evolve and adapt
      • Ossified political culture, lack of legitimacy
      • Financial burdens of warfare, state heavily indebted
      • Failed to recognize growing authority of the ‘nation’
    • And the rest?
      • State reform (Prussia, Austria-Hungary) enlightened state reforms. Frederick II of Prussia as ‘first servant of state’
      • End of ‘old regime’ in Prussia? Possibly after defeat at Jena in 1806 – revolution from within, rather than without, left monarchy intact
      • Evolution and adaptation: King George III’s reinvention as ‘patriot king’
      • End of ‘old regime’? Possibly 1828-1832, Catholic emancipation, Reform Act
      • The persistence of the old regime? (Arno Mayer)