AP European History Notes

Chapter 19: The Expansion of Europe in the Eighteenth Century

  1.  Agriculture and the Land
    1. ​Introduction
      1. With the exception of Holland, at least 80 percent of the people of all western European countries drew their livelihoods from agriculture (Eastern higher percent)
      2. In 1700 European agriculture was much more ancient and medieval with an average of only five or six bushels of grain for every bushel of wheat sown
      3. In crisis years, when crops were ruined by drought or flood, starvation forced people to use substitutes—the “famine foods” of a desperate population
        1. People gathered chestnuts and stripped bark in the forests, they cut dandelions and grass, and they ate these substitutes to escape starvation
        2. Such unbalanced, inadequate food in famine years made people weak and susceptible to epidemics—dysentery, intestinal problems, influenza, smallpox    
      4. In preindustrial Europe, the harvest was the real king, which was often cruel
    2. The Open-Field System
      1. The greatest accomplishment of medieval agriculture was the open-field system of village agriculture developed by European peasants
        1. Open-field system was divided the land to be cultivated by the peasants of a given village into several large fields, which were in turn cut up into long, narrow strips that were not enclosed into small plots by fences or hedges
        2. The land of those who owned land were nobility, clergy, and wealthy
      2. The ever-present problem was exhaustion of the soil and when the community planted wheat year after ear, the nitrogen in the soil was soon depleted—crop failure
        1. In the early Middle Ages, the only way for the land to recover its fertility was for a field to lie fallow for a period of time (alternating crop and idle)
        2. Three-year rotations were introduced that permitted a year of wheat or rye to be followed by a year of oats or beans and then by a year of fallow (still plowed)
      3. Traditional village rights reinforced the traditional pattern of farming and in addition to rotating, villages maintained open meadows for hay and natural pasture set aside for draft horses, oxen, cows, and pigs of the village community
      4. Poor women would go through the fields picking up the few single grains that had fallen to the ground in course of harvest (The Gleaners by Jean François Millet)
      5. In the age of absolutism and nobility, state and landlord continued to levy heavy taxes and high rents that stripped the peasants of much of their meager earnings
      6. In eastern Europe, peasants were worst off because of serfdom and social conditions were better in the west where they could own land and pass it on to their children
      7. Peasants of a region of France had to pay heavy royal taxes, the church’s tithe, and dues to the lord as well as set aside seed for the next season (half of their crop left)
    3. The Agricultural Revolution
      1. European peasants could improve their position by taking land from those who owned buy did not labor but powerful forces stood ready to crush any protest
      2. If peasants could replace the idle fallow with crops they could increase their land under cultivation by 50 percent and an agricultural revolution followed that occurred slowly throughout Europe but progressively eliminated the use of the fallow
      3. Because grain crops exhaust the soil and make fallowing necessary, the secret to eliminating fallow lies in the alternating grain with certain nitrogen-storing crops such as land reviving crops such as peas and beans, root crops such as turnips and potatoes, and clovers and grasses (turnips, potatoes, and clover were new-comers)
      4. New patterns of organization allowed some farmers to develop increasingly sophisticated patterns of rotation to suit different kinds of soils
      5. Improvements in farming had multiple effects
        1. The new crops made ideal feed for animals and peasants had more fodder, hay and root crops for the winter, they could build up herds of cattle and sheep
        2. More animals meant more meat and better diets for the people and also meant more manure for fertilizer and therefore more grain for bread and porridge
      6. Advocates of the new rotations included an emerging group of experimental scientists, some government officials, and landowners, believed that new methods were scarcely possible within the traditional system of open fields and common rights
      7. A farmer who wanted to experiment had to get all landholders in a village to agree so they argued that farmers should enclose and consolidate their scattered holdings into compact, fenced-in fields in order to farm more effectively
      8. But with land distributed unequally all across Europe by 1700, common rights were precious to there poor peasants and when small land holders and the village poor could effectively oppose the enclosure of the open fields and common pasture, they did so—only powerful social and political pressure could overcome such opposition
      9. The promise of the new system was only realized in the Low Countries and England
    4. The Leadership of the Low Countries and England
      1. The new methods of the agricultural revolution originated in the Low Countries and Holland was most advanced in many areas of human endeavor including shipbuilding navigation, commerce, banking, drainage and agriculture—provided model
        1. Enclosed fields, continuous rotation, heavy manuring, and a wide variety of crops
        2. The reasons for early Dutch leadership were the dense populated areas in the Low Countries and the pressure of population was connected with the second cause, the growth of towns and cities in the Low Countries (allowed specialization)
        3. The English were the best students and they received instruction in drainage and water control, draining the extensive marshes, or fens, of wet and rainy England
      2. The most famous of Dutch engineers, Cornelius Vermuyden, directed large drainage projects in Yorkshire and Cambridge—converting the land into one of the most fertile
      3. Viscount Charles Townsend, one of the pioneers of English agricultural improvement, learned about turnips and clover while serving as English ambassador to Holland and when he returned to Norfolk spoke of turnips (“Turnip Townsend”)
      4. Jethro Tull, was another important English innovator, using horses rather than slower moving oxen for plowing and advocated sowing seed with drilling equipment
      5. There were also improvements in livestock—selective breeding of ordinary livestock was a marked pattern over the old pattern (breeding faster horse for races and hunts)
      6. The great surge of agricultural production provided for England’s urban population
    5. The Cost of Enclosure
      1. In England, open fields were enclosed fairly but other historians argue that because large landowners controlled Parliament, which made laws, they had Parliament pass hundreds of “enclosure acts” each that authorized the fencing of open fields in a given village and the division of the common in proportion to one’s property in the fields
      2. The heavy legal and surveying costs of enclosure were also divided among the people, peasants had pay cost and landless cottagers lost access to common pastures
      3. By 1750, as much as half of English farmland was enclosed and many English lost their ability to produce wool, from sheep, for the growing textile industry
      4. By 1700, a highly distinctive pattern of landownership and production existed in England, where the were the few large landowners, at the other extreme were a large mass of landless cottagers who labored mainly for wages, and in between, small, independent peasant farmers who owned their own land and substantial tenant farmers who rented land from landowners, hired laborers, and sold output on market
      5. The tenant framers, who had formerly been independent owners, were the key to mastering the new methods of farming, because the tenant farmers fenced fields, built drains, and improved the soil with fertilizers—increasing employment opportunities
      6. By eliminating common rights and greatly reducing the access enclosure movement marked the completion of two major historical developments in England
        1. The rise of the market-oriented estate agriculture
        2. The emergence of a landless rural proletariat—wealthy English land owners help most of the land, leasing their holdings to middle-sized farmers, who in turn relied on landless laborers for their workforce (proletarianization—this transformation of large numbers of small peasant farmers into landless rural wage earners)
  2. The Beginning of the Population Explosion
    1. Limitations on Population Growth
      1. Commonly held ideas about population that are wrong included the idea that people married young and had large families and societies were so ignorant that they could do nothing to control the numbers and that population was always growing too fast 
      2. Until 1700, the total population of Europe grew slowly much of the time following an irregular cyclical pattern, which had great influence on social and economic life
      3. The Black Death created a sharp drop in population and prices after 1350 and also created a labor shortage throughout Europe—increased standard of living
      4. The second great surge of population growth outstripped the growth of agricultural production after 1500 where food prices rose more rapidly than wages resulting in a decline in the living standards for the majority of people throughout Europe
      5. Population slowed and stopped in seventeenth-century Europe and birthrate and death rate were about balanced and population grew about 0.5 to 1 percent in a normal year
      6. In periods, increases in deaths occurred periodically in the seventeenth century on a local scale— famine, epidemic disease, and war caused demographic crisis
        1. Famine, the result of poor farming methods and periodic crop failures accompanied by disease killed (bubonic plague, dysentery, and smallpox)
        2. The indirect effects were more harmful than the organized killings—war spread disease—armies passed venereal disease throughout the countryside
    2. The New Pattern of the Eighteenth Century
      1. Population growth was especially dramatic after about 1750—caused by fewer deaths
      2. Fewer deaths occurred due to the disappearance of the bubonic plague in part because of stricter measures of quarantine in Mediterranean ports and along Austrian border
      3. Bubonic plague was a disease that was mainly carried around by the black rat’s flea (carrying around bacillus) and after 1600, a new rat of Asiatic origin, the brown, or wander, rat began to drive out and eventually eliminated the black rat
      4. The most important advance in preventive medicine in this period was the inoculation against smallpox and improvements in the water supply and sewerage promoted better public health, drainage of swamps and marshes reduced insect population
      5. Human beings also became more successful in their efforts to safeguard the supply of food and protect against famine and advances in transportation lessened the impact of local crop failure and family—emergency supplies could be brought in
      6. Population grew in the eighteenth century primarily because years of abnormal death rates were less catastrophic; famines, epidemics, and wars continued but moderated
      7. There was only so much land available and agriculture could not provide enough work for the rapidly growing labor force, and people had to look for new ways
  3. The Growth of the Cottage Industry
    1. Introduction
      1. The growth of population contributed to the development of industry in rural areas; manufacturing with hand tools in peasant cottages and workshed grew—peasants had always made clothing, processed some food, and constructed some housing
      2. A new system emerged called “cottage industry” or “domestic industry” that distinguished it from the factory industry and scholars have preferred to speak of “protoindustrialization,” by which they mean a stage of rural industrial development with wage workers and hand tools that preceded the emergence of factory industries
      3. Putting-out system is used by contemporaries to describe the key features of eighteenth-century rural industry (new form of industrial production)
    2. The Putting-Out System
      1. The two main participants in the putting-out system were the merchant capitalist and the rural worker—the merchant loaned, raw materials to several cottage workers, who processed the materials in homes and returned the finished product to the merchant
      2. The system was a kind of capitalism and grew because it had competitive advantages
        1. Since countryside was unregulated, workers and merchants could change procedures and experiment but they did not need to meet rigid guild standards
        2. Textiles: all manner of knives, forks, and housewares; buttons and gloves; clocks; and musical instruments could be produced in the countryside
      3. Rural manufacturing did not spread across Europe at an even rate, first appearing in England and by 1500, half of England’s textiles were being produced in the countryside and in France, Colbert revived the urban guilds and used them to control
      4. In 1762, the government encouraged the growth of cottage manufacturing and thus in France, as in Germany and other areas, the later part of the eighteenth century witnessed the remarkable expansion of rural industry in certain populated regions
    3. The Textile Industry
      1. The making of linen, woolen, and cotton cloth was the typical activity of cottage works engaged in the putting-out system—way of life and economic system
        1. The rural worker lived in a small cottage with tiny windows and little space and it was often a single room that served as a workshop, kitchen, and bedroom
        2. There were only a few pieces of furniture, the most important being the loom changed when John Kay’s invention of the flying shuttle enabled the weaver to throw the shuttle back and forth between the threads with one hand
      2. The cottage industry was first and foremost a family enterprise and all members of the family helped in the work—every person from seven to eighty—while women and children prepared the raw material and spun the thread, the man of the house wove the cloth and children helped wash dirt out of the raw cotton
      3. The work of four or five spinners was needed to keep one weaver steadily employed and often widows and unmarried women were recruited by the wife to spin
      4. There were constant disputes over the weights of materials and the quality of the cloth and rural labor was cheap, scattered, and poorly organized—it was hard to control
      5. After getting paid on Saturday afternoon, the family did not work on “holy Monday”
      6. Labor relations were often poor, and the merchant was unable to control the quality of the cloth or the schedule of the workers
  4. Building the Atlantic Economy
    1. Introduction
      1. The expansion of Europe in the eighteenth century was characterized by the growth of world trade—Netherlands, France, and, above all, Great Britain benefited most
      2. Great Britain, formed in 1707 by the union of England and Scotland in a single kingdom, gradually became the leading maritime power (long-distance trade)
    2. Mercantilism and Colonial Wars
      1. Britain’s commercial leadership in the eighteenth century had its origins in the mercantilism of the seventeenth century—European mercantilism was a system of economic regulations aimed at increasing the power of the state
      2. Practiced by Colbert under Louis XIV, mercantilism aimed at creating a favorable balance of foreign trade in order to increase a country’s stock of gold
      3. What distinguished English mercantilism was then idea that government economic regulations could and should serve the private interest of individuals and groups as well as the public needs of the state—others put needs of state ahead of individuals
      4. The result of the English desire to increase both military power and private wealth was the mercantile system of the Navigation Acts passed under Oliver Cromwell
        1. The acts required that goods imported from Europe into England and Scotland be carried on British-owned ships or on ships of the country producing the article
        2. Acts gave British merchants and shipowners monopoly on trade with the colonies
        3. The colonists were required to buy almost all of their European goods from Britain and people believed that they were be a guaranteed market for products
        4. The Navigation Acts were a form of economic warfare in that their initial target was the Dutch, who were far ahead of the English in shipping and foreign trade and three Anglo-Dutch wars between 1652 and 1674 damaged Dutch commerce
      5. Late in the seventeenth century, the Dutch and English became allies to stop the expansion of France’s Louis XIV and the Netherlands followed Spain into decline
      6. From 1701 to 1763, Britain and France were locked in a series of wars to decide, in part, which nation would become the leading maritime power (share of profits)
      7. The War of the Spanish Succession which started when Louis XIV declared his willingness to accept the Spanish crown willed to his grandson—union of France and Spain threatened to destroy the British colonies in America (coalition of states)
        1. Louis XIV was forced in the Peace of Utrecht (1713) to cede Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the Hudson Bay territory to Britain
        2. Spain was compelled to give Britain control of the West African slave trade (asiento) and let Britain send one ship of products into Spanish colonies yearly
      8. The War of Austrian Succession, which started when Frederick the Great Prussia seized Silesia from Austria’s Maria Theresa, gradually became a world war
        1. The seizure of French territory in Canada by New England colonists in 1745 led France to sue for peace in 1748 and to accept a return to the territorial situation existing in North America at the beginning of the war
        2. France’s Bourbon ally, Spain, defended itself well and remained intact
      9. The inconclusive standoff was followed by the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) where in central Europe, Austria’s Maria Theresa sought to win back Silesia and crush Prussia re-establishing control in German affairs (she almost succeeded, skillfully winning both France, Habsburg’s long-standing enemy and Russia to her cause)
      10. The seven Years’ War was decisive between the Franco-British competition for colonial empire and led by William Pitt, the British concentrated on using sea power to destroy the French fleet and choke off French commerce around the world (British captured Quebec and strangled France’s sugar trade with its Caribbean Islands)
      11. With the Treaty of Paris, France lost all its possessions on the mainland of North America—French Canada and territory east of Mississippi River passed to Britain, and France ceded Louisiana to Spain as compensation for loss of Florida to Britain
      12. By 1763, British naval power, built on the rapid growth of British shipping industry after the passing of the Navigation Acts, triumphed decisively
    3. Land and Labor in British America
      1. The settlements along the Atlantic coast provided an outlet for surplus population
      2. The possibility of having one’s own farm was attractive to ordinary men and women from the British Isles; land in the England was concentrated in the hands of the nobility and gentry; white settles who came to colonies as free men, indentured servants (work for seven years for passage), and prisoners could obtain own land
      3. Unlike the great majority of European peasants, American farmers could keep most of what they produced; availability of land made labor expensive in the colonies
      4. Cheap land and scarce labor were critical factors in the growth of slavery in the southern colonies (Spanish introduced slavery into the Americas in the 16th century)
      5. In the 18th century, framers of New England and middle colonies produced food exporting the products to West Indies (people depend on the mainland colonies)
      6. The English could not buy cheaper sugar from Brazil, nor allowed to grow tobacco and the colonists had their place in the mercantile system of the Navigation Acts
      7. The abundance of almost free land resulted in a rapid increase in the colonial population in the 18th century (the population increased ten fold from 1700-1775)
      8. Agricultural development resulted in fairly high standards of living for colonists
    4. The Growth of Foreign Trade
      1. The rapidly growing and wealthy agricultural population of the mainland colonies provided an expanding market for English manufactured goods
      2. Rising demand for manufactured goods in North America as well as in the West Indies, Africa, and Latin America allowed English cottage industry to continue
      3. Like England earlier, European states adopted protectionist, mercantilist policies, and by 1773, England was selling only about two-thirds as much woolen cloth to northern and western Europe as its had in 1700 (wool cloth was only important product)
      4. Decline in many markets meant that the English economy needed new markets and protected colonial markets came to the rescue and from 1700-1773, manufactured products to the Atlantic economy—mainland colonies of North America and West Indian sugar islands—soared from £500,000 to £4.0 million
      5. English exports became much more balanced and diversified (to America and Africa went large quantities of metal items) and the mercantilist system formed in the seventeenth century to attack the Dutch achieved success in the 18th century
      6. The English concentrated much of the trade flowing through the Atlantic economy
    5. Revival in Colonial Latin America
      1. When the last Spanish Habsburg, Charles II, died in 1700, Spain’s vast empire lay ready for dismemberment but Spain recovered under the leadership of Louis XIV’s grandson, Philip V, who brought men and ideas from France
      2. Peace was restored after the War of Spanish Succession and a series of ministers reasserted royal authority, overhauling state finances and strengthening defense
      3. Spain received Louisiana from France in 1763 and missionaries and ranchers extended Spanish influence all the way to northern California and economy improved
      4. In 1800 Spanish America accounted for half of world silver production and silver mining encouraged food production for large mining camps and allowed Creoles—people of Spanish blood born in America—to purchase more European goods
      5. The Creole elite came to rival the top government officials dispatched to govern the colonies and estate owners believed that work in the fields was the proper occupation of the peasantry and slavery and periodic forced labor gave way to debt peonage
      6. Debt peonage—a planter or rancher would keep the estate’s Christianized Indians in perpetual debt bondage by periodically advancing food, shelter, and a little money
      7. The large middle group in Spanish colonies consisted of mestizos, the offspring of Spanish men and Indian women and at the end of the colonial era, about 20% were white (Creoles), 30 % were mestizo, and about 50 % were of African origin
      8. In the 18th century Spanish and Portuguese colonies developed a growing commerce in silver, sugar, and slaves as well as in manufactured goods for Europeanized elite
    6. Adam Smith and Economic Liberalism
      1. Wanting bigger positions in overseas commerce, independent merchants in many countries began campaigning against “monopolies” and called for “free trade”
        1. Although mercantilist policies strengthened both the Spanish and British colonial empires, Creole merchants were annoyed by regulations imposed in Madrid
        2. Small English merchants complained about the injustice of handing over exclusive trading rights to great trading combines such as the East India Company
      2. The general idea of freedom of enterprise in foreign trade was developed by Scottish professor of philosophy Adam Smith, whose Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations founded modern economics was highly critical of mercantilism
      3. To Smith, mercantilism meant a combination of stifling government regulations and unfair privileges for state-approved monopolies and government favorites and free competition, which would best protect consumers from price gouging and give all citizens a fair and equal right to do what they did best (“system of natural liberty”)
      4. Smith argued that the government should limit itself to “only three duties”
        1. The government should provide a defense against foreign invasion
        2. The government should maintain civil order with courts and police protection
        3. The government should sponsor certain indispensable public works and institutions that could never earn an adequate profit for private investors
      5. Smith was one of the enlightenment’s most original and characteristic thinkers rely-ing on the power of reason to unlock the secrets of the secular world (spoke truth)
      6. Unlike many disgruntled merchant capitalists, Smith applauded the modest rise in real wages of British works in the 18th century saying, “No society can surely by flourish-ing and happy, of which the far great part of the members are poor and miserable.”
      7. Believing that employers as well as workers and consumers were motivated by narrow self-interest, Smith did not call for more laws and more polic power but made the pursuit of self-interest in a competitive market the source of an underlying and previously unrecognized a harmony, a harmony that would result in gradual process
      8. The “invisible hand” of free competition for one and for all disciplined the freed of selfish individuals and provided the most effective means of increasing wealth
      9. Smith’s work emerged as the classic argument for economic liberalism and capitalism

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Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Chapter 19: The Expansion of Europe in the Eighteenth Century" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 29 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 May. 2024. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/european-history/outlines/chapter-19-the-expansion-of-europe-in/>.