The Ancien R égime: From this…. King Louis XIV (1643-1715)
… . To This Louis XVI (1774-1792)
Introduction : Defining the Ancien R égime <ul><li>Term coined by French Revolutionaries: ‘ancien’ = former </li></ul><ul>...
Key  features <ul><li>Strong absolutist monarchy </li></ul><ul><li>An established church </li></ul><ul><li>Privileged orde...
1) Absolute Monarchy <ul><li>Personal power </li></ul><ul><li>Peter I (the Great) of Russia (1682-1725): autocrat </li></u...
Multiple kingdoms and composite states:  Size and diversity of territory, needed strong control from the centre   <ul><li>...
Law and Order <ul><li>Need to impress authority and compel obedience </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive capital code everywhere, ...
Mercantilism <ul><li>Total subjection of economy to needs of state </li></ul><ul><li>Protection of national trades, trade ...
The costs of warfare <ul><li>18 th  century – almost constant warfare </li></ul><ul><li>Gold and silver needed to fund arm...
Britain and the ‘fiscal-military’ state <ul><li>Monarchs – poor personal credit rating (Charles II defaulted on £1.3 milli...
And the rest… <ul><li>Other monarchies reliant on mercantile policy of ‘liquid cash’ (gold and silver in coffers, expensiv...
War and Patriotism <ul><li>Patriotism, or national pride – justified financial and personal demands of warfare </li></ul><...
2) The confessional state <ul><li>Ancien regime: no separation between church and state </li></ul><ul><li>Most of Europe s...
Church and civil society <ul><li>Function of established church = to uphold established order </li></ul><ul><li>Church res...
Persecution and Toleration <ul><li>Russia and Austria notorious for persecution of non-orthodox </li></ul><ul><li>Maria Th...
Penal laws against Catholics and non-conformists in Britain <ul><li>Test Act 1673 – Prohibited those who were not members ...
Popular Religion <ul><li>Spread of religious enthusiasm </li></ul><ul><li>Jansenism (France) </li></ul><ul><li>Pietism (Ge...
3) Nobility <ul><li>2 to 5 % of population </li></ul><ul><li>Many recent titles – owed their rank to monarch </li></ul><ul...
Privilege and honour <ul><li>Usually exempt from taxation, right to carry swords </li></ul><ul><li>Britain – elite relativ...
Privileges also limitations <ul><li>Usually, not allowed to trade, or practice professions </li></ul><ul><li>Prussia, bann...
Landownership <ul><li>France and Britain nobility owned estimated ¼ of arable land </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed labour force: P...
Wealth <ul><li>Leverage over monarchs provided by nobles independent wealth </li></ul><ul><li>Coal and iron ore on aristoc...
Conclusion: When (and why) did ancien regime fall? <ul><li>Only one regime fell: France in 1789 </li></ul><ul><li>Failure ...
And the rest? <ul><li>State reform (Prussia, Austria-Hungary) enlightened state reforms. Frederick II of Prussia as ‘first...
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1 The Ancien RéGime

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1 The Ancien RéGime

  1. 1. The Ancien R égime: From this…. King Louis XIV (1643-1715)
  2. 2. … . To This Louis XVI (1774-1792)
  3. 3. Introduction : Defining the Ancien R égime <ul><li>Term coined by French Revolutionaries: ‘ancien’ = former </li></ul><ul><li>First systematic analysis Alexis de Toqueville (1856) </li></ul><ul><li>A particularly French story but term also applied to rest of 18 th century Europe: Britain, Austria-Hungary, Prussia and Russia </li></ul>
  4. 4. Key features <ul><li>Strong absolutist monarchy </li></ul><ul><li>An established church </li></ul><ul><li>Privileged order of nobility </li></ul>
  5. 5. 1) Absolute Monarchy <ul><li>Personal power </li></ul><ul><li>Peter I (the Great) of Russia (1682-1725): autocrat </li></ul><ul><li>France: Bourbon dynasty: absolutist rule from palace at Versailles </li></ul><ul><li>Britain: constitutional monarchy – power limited by Bill of Rights (1689); Triennial Act (1694); Act of Settlement (1702) but monarch appointed ministers, patronage </li></ul>
  6. 6. Multiple kingdoms and composite states: Size and diversity of territory, needed strong control from the centre <ul><li>Russia: added parts of E.Europe, the Baltic, Ottoman Empire </li></ul><ul><li>Habsburg Empire: ‘a mildly centripetal agglutination of bewilderingly heterogeneous elements’ (Robert Evans) </li></ul><ul><li> parts of central & E. Europe, N. Italy, Luxembourg,Belgium </li></ul><ul><li>France: different linguistic groups </li></ul><ul><li>Britain: Ruled by Hanoverians, Scotland added (1707); Ireland (1800) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Law and Order <ul><li>Need to impress authority and compel obedience </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive capital code everywhere, judicial torture in Eastern Europe </li></ul><ul><li>France – lettres de cachet </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>Public executions: power of authority made visible </li></ul>
  8. 8. Mercantilism <ul><li>Total subjection of economy to needs of state </li></ul><ul><li>Protection of national trades, trade policy = inflow of gold and silver (from Americas and Asia) and outflow of manufactured goods. </li></ul><ul><li>Aim: favourable balance of trade – more exports than imports </li></ul><ul><li>Rationale: easier to tax income from overseas trade than to introduce unpopular domestic taxes </li></ul><ul><li>Required expensive navies and colonies, agriculture neglected </li></ul>
  9. 9. The costs of warfare <ul><li>18 th century – almost constant warfare </li></ul><ul><li>Gold and silver needed to fund armies and navies </li></ul><ul><li>World trade = zero-sum game </li></ul><ul><li>Trade was war, war = best way to increase trade </li></ul><ul><li>France at war every other year from 1660 to 1780 </li></ul><ul><li>3 expensive wars: </li></ul><ul><li>War of Spanish Succession (1713) </li></ul><ul><li>War of Austrian Succession (1740) </li></ul><ul><li>Seven Years War (1756-63) </li></ul><ul><li>European monarchs reliant on loans to fund warfare </li></ul>
  10. 10. Britain and the ‘fiscal-military’ state <ul><li>Monarchs – poor personal credit rating (Charles II defaulted on £1.3 million loan in 1671) </li></ul><ul><li>- needed to de-personalize public credit </li></ul><ul><li>1694: Bank of England founded </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of National Debt – money lent to nation not the monarch – collateral = land and wealth of nation </li></ul><ul><li>National debt: allowed massive government expenditure in wartime to be repaid by tax money in peacetime </li></ul><ul><li>Growth in state bureaucracy: </li></ul><ul><li> 1660 – 1200 revenue officials; 1750 – 16,000 officials </li></ul><ul><li>Beginning of 18 th century Royal Navy had 173 ships, by the end nearly 1,000 </li></ul>
  11. 11. And the rest… <ul><li>Other monarchies reliant on mercantile policy of ‘liquid cash’ (gold and silver in coffers, expensive loans) </li></ul><ul><li>End of Seven Years war, Louis XV paying 10% interest on loans </li></ul><ul><li>Maria Theresa of Austria-Hungary (1740-1780) debt of 7-8 times </li></ul><ul><li>Empire’s income after wars with Prussia in 1740s </li></ul><ul><li>Much of instability of ancien regime & desire for enlightened reform derived from need to rationalise finance to pay for war </li></ul>
  12. 12. War and Patriotism <ul><li>Patriotism, or national pride – justified financial and personal demands of warfare </li></ul><ul><li>but </li></ul><ul><li>Patriotism, could also be used against state </li></ul><ul><li>Idea that the nation, not the ruling dynasty = ultimate source of authority </li></ul>Jacques-Louis David , Oath of the Horatii (1784)
  13. 13. 2) The confessional state <ul><li>Ancien regime: no separation between church and state </li></ul><ul><li>Most of Europe still in grip of Catholic counter-reformation </li></ul><ul><li>Britain and some smaller states = outposts of Protestantism </li></ul><ul><li>Russia - Orthodox church </li></ul>
  14. 14. Church and civil society <ul><li>Function of established church = to uphold established order </li></ul><ul><li>Church responsible for civil registration (births, marriages deaths) </li></ul><ul><li>Notices from government read at Sunday services </li></ul><ul><li>Controlled education – the Jesuits in Austria, Spain and France </li></ul><ul><li>Censorship: The Index in Austria and Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Major landowner (monasteries, estates, universities, schools, charities) </li></ul><ul><li>Supported by its own taxes: tithes to Church of England, portion congru é to Catholic Church in France </li></ul>
  15. 15. Persecution and Toleration <ul><li>Russia and Austria notorious for persecution of non-orthodox </li></ul><ul><li>Maria Theresa’s promotion of Catholicism: baroque churches, ‘conversion’ houses for Protestants, ‘heretics’ removed to remote regions </li></ul><ul><li>1727: decree banishing all Jews from Russian empire </li></ul><ul><li>More tolerant: Frederick II of Prussia </li></ul><ul><li>Britain, considered most tolerant kingdom in Europe but </li></ul>
  16. 16. Penal laws against Catholics and non-conformists in Britain <ul><li>Test Act 1673 – Prohibited those who were not members of the established church from holding public office  </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage Act 1697 – Discouraged marriages between Catholics and Protestants  </li></ul><ul><li>Popery Act [1704 & 1709] RCs to divide land equally among sons – diminished RC landholdings  </li></ul><ul><li>1728 - Disenfranchising Act: RCs prohibited from voting </li></ul>
  17. 17. Popular Religion <ul><li>Spread of religious enthusiasm </li></ul><ul><li>Jansenism (France) </li></ul><ul><li>Pietism (Germany) </li></ul><ul><li>Wesleyean Methodism (Britain) </li></ul><ul><li>More authentic form of religious observance </li></ul><ul><li>Pietism made state religion in Prussia, 1727 </li></ul>
  18. 18. 3) Nobility <ul><li>2 to 5 % of population </li></ul><ul><li>Many recent titles – owed their rank to monarch </li></ul><ul><li>Peter the Great: tried to make noble rank dependent on service to Tsar </li></ul><ul><li>Table of Ranks (1722): nobility classified into 14 ranks, 262 posts: military, naval, administrative and court – rank = performance related </li></ul>
  19. 19. Privilege and honour <ul><li>Usually exempt from taxation, right to carry swords </li></ul><ul><li>Britain – elite relatively open, but small (peerage = 1000 families) </li></ul><ul><li>Prussia – dominated officer class and civil service </li></ul><ul><li>France – church hierarchy, leader of Parlements and intendants </li></ul><ul><li>Britain, magistrates </li></ul>
  20. 20. Privileges also limitations <ul><li>Usually, not allowed to trade, or practice professions </li></ul><ul><li>Prussia, banned from selling land outside nobility </li></ul><ul><li>Britain, primogeniture, but most of European aristocracy had to provide for extensive families </li></ul><ul><li>Wealthy nobility – Esterhazys in Austria, Dukes of Devonshire, Earls of Carlisle </li></ul><ul><li>But also poorer cousins </li></ul>
  21. 21. Landownership <ul><li>France and Britain nobility owned estimated ¼ of arable land </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed labour force: Prussia, Poland, Russia, eastern provinces of Habsburg monarchy = serfs </li></ul><ul><li>Russia – nearly half population = serfs, around 56% owned by nobility </li></ul><ul><li>Western Europe: Peasants – harsh conditions, no compensations for improvements, payment in kind, obliged to work on royal roads ( corv ée ), liable for military conscription </li></ul><ul><li>Food riots and ‘moral economy’ (grain should be sold at ‘just price’) </li></ul><ul><li>Russia, 1773: Pugachev revolt against landowners </li></ul>
  22. 22. Wealth <ul><li>Leverage over monarchs provided by nobles independent wealth </li></ul><ul><li>Coal and iron ore on aristocratic estates, ownership of town property – benefited from urban industrial expansion </li></ul><ul><li>Austria, France and Britain – loans and contracts with royal houses </li></ul><ul><li>France: nobility’s resistance to attempts to reform taxation (eg. By Louis XV’s ministers: Machault, 1749 and Calonne 1780s) </li></ul><ul><li>Monarchs forced to draw on a short-term, high-interest loans – in France would lead to bankruptcy </li></ul>
  23. 23. Conclusion: When (and why) did ancien regime fall? <ul><li>Only one regime fell: France in 1789 </li></ul><ul><li>Failure of Bourbon dynasty to evolve and adapt </li></ul><ul><li>Ossified political culture, lack of legitimacy </li></ul><ul><li>Financial burdens of warfare, state heavily indebted </li></ul><ul><li>Failed to recognize growing authority of the ‘nation’ </li></ul>
  24. 24. And the rest? <ul><li>State reform (Prussia, Austria-Hungary) enlightened state reforms. Frederick II of Prussia as ‘first servant of state’ </li></ul><ul><li>End of ‘old regime’ in Prussia? Possibly after defeat at Jena in 1806 – revolution from within, rather than without, left monarchy intact </li></ul><ul><li>Evolution and adaptation: King George III’s reinvention as ‘patriot king’ </li></ul><ul><li>End of ‘old regime’? Possibly 1828-1832, Catholic emancipation, Reform Act </li></ul><ul><li>The persistence of the old regime? (Arno Mayer) </li></ul>

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