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By William Doyle

The years among the Fronde and the French Revolution have been the longest interval of calm in French background. for far of it, France ruled the foreign scene in Europe and made efforts to accomplish a related function within the wider global. in the meantime, French cultural achievements set criteria imitated in all places. This quantity, bringing jointly a global crew of individuals, surveys the total number of the interval by itself phrases instead of as an insignificant prelude to later progressive upheavals.

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Additional resources for Old Regime France: 1648-1788 (The Short Oxford History of France)

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The printed fabric factory at Jouy-en-Josas, near Paris, employed nearly , workers, while in Lyon twelve master artisans employed ,. The general growth of the eighteenth century thus affected the different sectors of the economy in different ways. Indeed, it had very uneven effects even within the same sector. In Lyon, the average wealth of master artisans went up  per cent in real terms, while that of silkworkers increased only  per cent, and stagnating wages for workers seem to have been the rule.

The society over which Louis XIV cast his gaze was a traditional, preindustrial one, characterized by minute distinctions of status, extremes of wealth and poverty, poor communication networks, low life expectancy, and close economic ties to the land. Legally it was a society characterized by privilege, that is, by an acute consciousness of rank and the practice whereby some groups enjoyed particular rights––tax exemptions, economic monopolies, or favoured access to occupations––denied to others.

Yet even with a yield of just  or  : , the village of Montigny, in one of the poorest areas of the Cambrésis in the north, managed to feed a population that tripled over the course of the eighteenth century. Part of the land in Montigny was no longer farmed in the traditional way. A portion of the fallow land was farmed, and fodder plants were grown which allowed for the feeding of more and better quality animals, which in turn aided the harvest. Recent research has shown that increased agricultural productivity depended on a number of factors, including the local tax burden, grain prices, and especially the distance from the nearest city.

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