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Tradition and Change in Europe- 1500-1800


General trend: Enormous change in Europe while in the rest of the world traditional values, institutions, technologies remained largely intact.


Europe in the 14th century


        Traditional limited monarchies, feudal vestiges

        traditional agriculture and land usage patterns

        traditional social structure, though some increase in trade, mercantile classes, and towns.

        Warfare- armored cavalry still dominant, though beginning to fade. Private armies, etc.

        Catholic church universal.

        Catholic religious learning, and classical science unquestioned.

        Religion and politics, church and state often meshed

        Ignorant of the rest of the world.

        Very low literacy rates.

        Printing just invented.

        largely traditional technologies.

        Waiting for the end

        Nature uncontrollable, and to a large extent unknowable.



Europe, 1500-1800






        New Monarchies/ reorganization of Eastern Europe

        Scientific Revolution/Enlightenment

        Agricultural advance

        Development of capitalism



Europe circa 1800


        Religion largely removed from political life.

        Catholic universalism ended. Great variety of Christian groups. Atheists and Deists, too.

        Some new technologies- ship building, roads, drainage, military. Early industrial, clocks.

        Traditional authorities challenged- discredited or relegated to narrow spheres of applicability.

        Massive increase in knowledge- faith in new knowledge

        Concept of human progress

        Confidence in human capabilities- esp. control over nature. Modern science

        Much more literate society

        Immense increase in wealth.

        New economic practices and institutions- agricultural and commercial

        New style monarchies and states- nation states. More centralized, far greater ability to mobilize resources.