STUDY GUIDE EXAM I
1. Black Death: As one of the most terrible pandemics in history, the Bubonic Plague killed 30%-60% of the European population in the 14th century. It changed inner workings of manorialism and feudalism, especially in Western Europe. There were food and labor shortages, ultimately resulting in more lenient land terms, and peasants becoming less dependent on feudal system. After the Black Death, the peasant class started to decline. The Black death also resulted in higher wages for ordinary people.
2. Feudalism: Political and military organization in medieval Europe (476 - 1400), which included a schematic social system. Land (manors) was controlled by Lords, who gained their privilege because they offered protection to their manor. The most powerful Lords (such as Dukes) delegated power to lesser Lords, called vassals, by gifting them land or fifes. In return the vassal held the promise to fight and protect the land and owed allegiance to the Lord who granted them land. Vassals played a huge role in the political structure of feudalism. The notion of chivalry governed the nobility, especially vassals (knights). Their privilege was justified because they offered protection. The whole systems of Lords and vassals was built upon the labor of peasants and serfs, who worked the land. The order and security from this system led to huge population growth, towns grew, guilds formed; however, this population growth would soon lead to famine in the wage/price scissor.
3. l’etat c’est moi: supposed quote by Louis XIV, translated to “I am the State.” Shows the extent to which Louis was the archetype of an absolute monarch. Most admired, most feared and most powerful. He crushed his opponents, he refused to share power with the Pope, he never acknowledged the Estates General and arrested dissenters. He also built one of the most magnificent palaces of all time, the Palace of Versailles. He limited the nobles’ power to fully centralize the power of the state and got rid of their policy making influence. Successful in centralizing power in France, but not in finances. Don't forget about the age old question of What are the four major aspects of globality?
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4. Colbert (1619-1683): finance minister to King Louis XIV of France, head of royal finances, public works and the navy. Although the King had increased taxes on everything from land to manufactured goods, Colbert discovered that only 25% of Louis’ tax revenue was in the King’s treasury, showing the inefficiency of France’s current tax faming system. His main concern was to squeeze money out of the existing system without curtailing his own power or that of his family and friends, by making better use of existing credit potential of the system. He levied a fine on existing officials unwilling to sell to more wealthy/generous buyers. He also generated more short-term credit and made tax farming larger and more efficient units. He also revised French law, invested in infrastructure and gave subsidies for businesses.
5. “Price revolution:” major price increases in Europe as the result of the unprecedented amounts of gold and silver that were imported into Europe during the early modern period. With an increase in overseas trade, more supply of silver causes more demand of good which in turn caused an overall increase in prices (inflation). Much of this gold and silver came from Spanish colonies in Peru/Bolivia and Mexico, where they made local mining communities. This marked the longest sustained inflation ever seen in Europe and related in a change in political and social order due to a redistribution of wealth and income. It helped
fuel the economy but also changed the internal balance of power, making merchant bankers very important players in trade, evidenced by the Fugger family, and in state building. We also discuss several other topics like What are the theoretical approaches to studying families and briefly explain each one?
6. Spice Trade: India was home to one of the most valuable resources for Europe, spices, such as cinnamon, saffron, pepper, etc. Spices had many uses, including: enhanced the quality of food, perfumes to disguise body odor, incense for Churches and various medical uses. At first, Europe was supplied with spices for India through the Middle East and even Italy. Portugal, under Henry the Navigator, established a sea route to India, which created competition and drove prices of spices down, which increased demand. Portugal broke the Muslim monopoly on spices through trade routes and gunpowder (to defend trading posts). This was an important milestone as it showed the important of international trade routes and the necessity for military technology to maintain power abroad.
7. William of Orange (1650-1702): Married his cousin, Mary, to later become the Protestant heir to the English throne. Also, King of Dutch Republic. Overthrew (with the help of Parliament) King James II of England by invading England with Dutch fleet and army.
8. Parlement (France): in the 13th c. acquired judicial functions. 13 of them existed. not legislative bodies, they consisted of appellate judges. They were the court of final appeal. Had power, especially over taxation. Parlement had to publish laws or edicts issued by the Crown for them to be official in their jurisdictions. Members were aristocratic nobles of the robe. It was the head of the mobile resistance against absolute monarchy, and worked for the benefit of the noble class. Their power was suspended during Louis XIV rule (17th c.) , and took away their policy-making privileges. Their power was reinstate when Louis died in 1715. If you want to learn more check out What are the key components of the definition of sociology?
9. Peace of Westphalia: The 1648 agreement ending the Thirty Years’ War, most deadly religious war which began in 1618. The war was fought between Catholics and Protestants in the Holy Roman Empire, but then involved most European states. The Peace of Westphalia, named after the German province in which it took place, was the first time a diplomatic congress convened to address international disputes. It divided the Holy Roman Empire into religious sections, with Lutheranism in the North, Calvinism in the area of the Rhine Rive and Catholicism in the South. The treaty would serve as a model for resolving future conflicts among European states. Important in the state building process as it resulted in a shift of power away from the Habsburg powers (Spain and Austria) toward France, England and the Dutch. It solidified that Europe would not be a Christendom.
10. “the great dying” (Wolf): phrase to describe million of inhabitant of the islands of the Caribbean, Middle and South America who died during the European expansion into the New World.
11. “military revolution:” Began in the 16th century, showing changes in organization of states, as small, decentralized feudal leaders were replaced by large, centrally financed armies. Technology changes such as larger and more sophisticated armies/navies carried larger financial commitments for the state. This was one thing that influenced Europeans to search world for more resources. Also, the more military power, the more power and expansion could be accomplished. We also discuss several other topics like What are the changes to copyright law through recent history?
12. **“people without history” (Wolf): Title of Wolf’s book to describe the people in the New World who were subjugated by European conquerors. Wolf describes them as agents in the expansion of the global economy as well as the process of state building in Europe. Throughout his book, he talks about the co-op effort between Europeans and local elite in the areas they took over. It was not simply a story of exploitation, but rather included more complex systems of locals who gathered natural resources for the Europeans. Wolf tells the story of these often forgotten people.
- not given a voice in western histories
- participants in creation of new cultural and social aspects of global expansion of states and economy
13. nobility of the robe: French aristocrats, who unlike the nobles of the sword (whose nobility was from military service), gained their nobility by either being in the bureaucracy or buying their title. They were scholars, and became members of the judicial or administrative arena. Positions of this kind were mostly inherited or bought. The most influential were in the 13
14. tax farming: An inefficient system of taxation. Under Louis XIV (17th and 18th centuries) in France, tax farmers contracted with the state and agreed to pay fixed amount of money into the treasury for the right to collect taxes from the public without supervision. This solved France’s cash flow problem and helped fund the state especially during wars, but also resulted in huge revenues for the tax farmers. It was important for state building because tax farming funded the state and put a lot of money into the economy which made for a stronger state. The system also allowed the king to keep the loyalty of the nobility by making them wealthier at the same time as making the state more prosperous. We also discuss several other topics like What does individualism uphold?
15. peasants: men, women and children, usually illiterate, who worked the land. Unlike serfs, peasants were not tied to the land that the worked in a coercive manner. Some thought freeing peasants also meant attaining a new taxable population. Made up 85%-90% of population.
16. Bank of England: political institution established in 1694 that legitimized and facilitated England’s system of public borrowing. It provided the state with a vehicle for encouraging private investors to lend money to the state. This was a rational investment primarily because the Bank was under control of Parliament and not a single Monarch. Since Parliament was a large representative body, they provided a collateral backing. The state debt was equal to the public debt. The Bank of England felt more comfortable as more people invested, which helped turn a system of short term loans into a system of long term securities. The fact that people were willing to make long term loans to the state also meant that they were able to put their political difference aside them in the name of encomium prosperity. The Bank led to a maximization of the countries resources. Helped make England superior power to France