A History of Western Society Essay Sample

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Marriage and Family
Extended and Nuclear Families
Extended family was when one spouse of a new marriage goes to live with the other spouse’s family, opposed to living on their own. a. Provided security for adults and children in traditional agrarian peasant economies. Nuclear families were when married couples create their own households. Typically during this time people did not marry young because they could not yet economically support themselves. Work away from Home

Many young people worked within their families until they could start their own households. Many boys would often go into apprenticeship in another town for 7 to 18 years. a. Not permitted to marry during this time

b. Good work was not promised after such training.
Female workers were often exploited
a. No regulations on female work treatment lead to women being beaten. b. Sexual exploitation of female servants by their masters.

Premarital Sex and Community Controls
Powers of community controls were weakened.
a. People are less pressured to wait for marriage.
b. Unwed mothers were poor parents of children.
Scandals and affairs were often publicized by peasant communities. a. Young men would gang up on one they wished to punish and embarrass. b. Loudly proclaimed people’s misdeeds around the town. New Patterns of Marriage and Illegitimacy

The number of illegitimate births soared between 1750 and 1850. a. Percent of total births being illegitimate went from 2% to 25%. b. Fewer women were abstaining and fewer men were marrying the women they got pregnant. Growth of the cottage industry

a. Tended to develop in areas of land with poor quality. b. Created new opportunities for earning a living that was not tied to the land. 1.
Young people gained greater independence and did not have to wait in order to gain a modest income to support a family People married out of love

a. With marriage no longer being out of reach due to lack of money, less people are marrying for just financial gain. Children and Education
Child Care and Nursing
Lower class women breast-fed their children for a much more extended period than normal. a. This decreased the likelihood of pregnancy
b. Child more likely to survive if breast-fed as opposed to being fed artificial foods. Higher class women hired other women to nurse for them

a. Breast feeding was looked down on as crude, common, and undignified. b. Wet-nurse was the title given to those who were hired to breast feed children. c. Wet-nursing became a very popular occupation at the time. Killing nurses.

a. Mothers of children with any sort of flaw blamed it on the wet-nurse’s passing of bad traits. b. It was assumed that some wet-nurses would purposely let the child die so they can move on and collect a fee from another hirer. Foundlings and Infanticide

Infanticide
a. The allowing, or forcing, of newborn babies to die when there were too many mouths to feed. b. Particularly imposed on girl babies.
c. Was shunned by the medieval church claiming every life was sacred. Indirect methods of infanticide
a. Overlaying was when parents “unintentionally” rolled over their children laying between them in bed, suffocating them. b. Claims of parents were made that they had made actions because they were drunk. Foundlings

a. Seeing how abortion was illegal, some mothers would leave their children on the steps of churches. b. Foundling homes were developed due to the excess in the amount of foundling cases. Attitudes Toward Children

Typically a child was of little concern to their parents
a. This applied to even those in higher classes
b. It was suggested by clergymen that parents should not get attached to children who had low expectancy of surviving. Medical help
a. Doctors were not very interested in being called to the aid of a child because the lack of help they could offer. b. Treatment was offered by women healers and midwives.

Caught in an endless cycle
a. Children were neglected because they were likely to die, and they were likely to die because they were neglected. The eighteenth Century Enlightenment
a. A general growth in humanitarianism and cautious optimism about human potential had occurred. b. “spare the rod and spoil the child” along with other quotes led to the idea of showing greater love and tenderness to your children. Schools and Popular Literature

Schools and formal education was growing more important
a. Schools did not become common until the seventeenth century b. These schools focused on children ages 7-12 who were there taught basic literacy and religion. The struggle between religions promoted literacy

a. Both Protestant and Catholic religions saw reading as means of presenting their teachings more effectively. b. Border areas were pushed most to be literate because there was potential influence by other religions. Prussia was first to develop a universal education

a. Made attendance in elementary school required by law.
b. Other countries soon did the same by setting up religious buildings such as parish schools for children of all economic statuses. c. The Church of England established “charity schools” specifically for those children in poverty. More entertaining writings were created.

a. Examples include humors, fairy tales, medieval romances, fictionalized history, and fantastic adventures. b. These writings acted as both an escape from reality and as lessons for readers. Food and Medical Practice

Diets and Nutrition
Peasant diet consisted mostly of grains.
a. Bread was cheap and affordable
Just Price
a. The idea the prices should be “fair”, protecting both consumers and producers. b. Clashed with free-market philosophy in later eighteenth century. Everyone ate Vegetables
a. Although vegetables were considered to be “poor people’s food”, vegetables were a part of most people’s meals. b. Mainly the rich were able to eat meat
The Impact of Diet on Health
The diet of the poor was considered adequate.
a. Managed to get plenty of protein.
b. Lacked foods with vitamins A and C.
c. Lacking vitamin C led to diseases such as scurvy

Lead to rotting gums, swelling of limbs and great weakness.
The diet of the rich led to health problems
a. A lack of vegetables also made them deficient in vitamins A and C. b. Being overfed and under-exercised often lead to gout. Medical Practitioners
The number of medical practitioners rapidly increased.
a. Significant breakthroughs could be rapidly evaluated and diffused. b. Increased focus on the laws of nature and human problems led to research and experimentation. Care of the sick
a. Many competing groups in this domain
b. Ex: faith healers, apothecaries, physicians, surgeons, midwives c. Female medical activities had fallen dramatically due to their inability to be admitted into medical colleges. Faith healers

a. They and their patients both believed that demons making a home inside people is what caused sickness. b. The only proper treatment was to exorcise the demon out of the body. Midwives
a. Assisted in labor and delivering babies
b. Also treated female problems such as irregular menstrual cycles, breast-feeding difficulties, sterility, and venereal desease. c. Women
practitioners successfully defended much but not all of their practices in the eighteenth century. Hospitals and Medical Experiments

Hospitals were low quality
a. No isolation of patients
b. Operations were done right in a patient’s bed.
c. Nurses were old, ignorant, and often drunk women.
d. The poor hated hospitals and saw being there as a plot to kill paupers. Mental Institutions
a. Bleeding and cold water was customary treatment for mental illness b. Violent people were chained to walls and forgotten
c. Most treatments offered were more so to discipline than to cure. Theories on what caused madness
a. Was believed that the moon caused madness.

Reflecting on the term lunatic it was believed that a person was harmed by lunar light. b. Also believed that male masturbation caused madness along with many other symptoms. Smallpox
a. An estimated 60 million europeans died from it in the eighteenth century b. Smallpox was purposely spread with things such as the smallpox inoculation. Religion and Popular Culture
The Institutional Church
The local parish church remained the basic religious unit all across Europe. a. Parish was the focal point of religious devotion.
b. Parish church organized processions and pilgrimages to local shrines. The reformation era increased the practical power of Catholic rulers over their churches. a. Catholic monarchs imposed striking reforms which came off as quite protestant. Protestant Revival

Protestant reformers had suppressed all the medieval practices considered to be nonessential. a. Church art such as stained glass, relics, crucifixes, and murals were removed b. Pilgrimages, saints and shrines were all eliminated.

c. If a practice was not found in scripture then it should not be forced. Pietism
a. Called for warm, emotional religion that everyone could experience. b. Priesthood of all believers was stressed to reduce the gap between the official clergy and Lutheran laity. c. Christians expected to lead good, moral lives and come from all classes. Church of England

a. Was used by the government to give jobs high paying jobs. b. Churches stopped growing as the population did.
Catholic Piety
Religion had flourished in Catholic Europe
a. Church artwork had grown more popular with baroque style b. Church attendance was very high.
Strength of the Catholic Church increased as its popularity did a. Although Catholics did not perform all practices, they celebrated its rituals. b. Religion was seen as an escape from work, or a form of recreation which had a holiday vibe to it. Practices

a. Unlike protestant performers, rather than eliminating practices, catholic reformers sought to compromise. b. There was a thin line between divine truth and mere superstition. c. This dramatized the growing tension between the attitudes of educated elites and common people. Leisure and Recreation

Carnival
a. Religious celebration and popular recreation seen in festivals. b. Came before Lent.
Blood Sports
a. Bullbaiting was an attraction where a chained bull was let to be attacked by dogs. b. Cockfighting was the battling of trained roosters in which the audience could place bets on the winner. Education had shunned ideas like carnival as vulgar.

a. The gap between educated people and common people was increased. b. Class conflict was also beginning to form.

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