Social Classes of Nineteenth Century France (McKay 789-808) Picture source: google images Life As a Noble in 19 th Century France Picture source: google images From an economic perspective... According…
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Social Classes of Nineteenth Century France (McKay 789-808) Picture source: google images
Life As a Noble in 19 th Century France Picture source: google images
From an economic perspective...
According to “A History of Western Society,” despite the increased wages and standard of living for the average person, the aristocracy (top five percent of the entire population) still controlled thirty-three percent of the national income.
A great divide between the most upper and lowest classes maintained intact during the 19 th century because of the different class levels that were continually evolving in the middle class. Specialization and occupational opportunities allowed some bourgeoisie to achieve such great wealth, they possessed almost the amount of the aristocracy. Others of the same class were making little more money than rural peasants. Such diversity within the middle class distanced the aristocracy from the working class more than ever.
While many other classes had begun to let go of the age old tradition of marrying for economic reasons, in the late 1800s, aristocratic marriages were done in much the same way they had for centuries. Young girls were kept out of the public eye until their parents decided it was time for them to “come out.” At such time, young—and sometimes quite old—bachelors courted the girls. When a young girl’s parents decided that a suitable bachelor had been found for their daughter—meaning he had the right financial and familial background to suit them—the couple’s parents began negotiations on a dowry and elaborate legal marriage contract.
Finally when the matters of the dowry and contract were settled, the couple was married lavishly. The couple was lucky if they loved each other or grew to respect one another, but infidelity was common, and love was not a requirement when aristocrats married off their children.
Picture source: google images
In previous centuries, illegitimate children were abandoned, mothers rarely nursed their children, and parents avoided showing their children any affection at all because they would afraid of getting attached to something that was only going to die.
By the late 1800s, child rearing had come full circle because medical advances and higher standards of living had begun to lower infant mortality rates substantially. Even in the upper class, mothers delighted in their children. They nursed and fed them, let them run free in the gardens. As generations progressed, mothers had less and less children so they could provide the best for each of them. Children of the nobility were given the best education possible, with private tutors and places at the most sought-after universities in Europe.
The Middle Class, Also Known as the French Bourgeoisie Google images
Facts About the Middle Class
This class fought for rights in a society controlled by the aristocracy. As productive owners of growing businesses, most of them were drawn toward the aristocratic lifestyle. To them, image meant everything. The number of servants a family had was important to the bourgeoisie and indicated the wealth of a family.
Occupations of Middle Class Members
The people of the Middle Class had many different jobs. They included bankers, money leaders, industrial entrepreneurs, doctors, dentists, engineers, architects, chemists, accountants, surveyors, managers of private and public institutes, manufacturers, teachers, nurses, and merchants.
The Middle Class spent more money on food than they did the rest of the items in their house. They ate very well. The main meal was in the middle of the day when the family came home to enjoy it together. Unlike the lower working class, the bourgeoisie could afford to eat a lot of meat.
The Middle Class also celebrated over food. Their special occasions were always accompanied by a dinner party. At the parties, eight to nine different courses could be expected. An ordinary dinner was made up of four courses usually soup, fish, meat, and dessert.
Homes and Clothing Bourgeois houses always possessed extravagant décor to showcase the wealth of the family. Many of people rented their homes instead of actually owning them. They also cared a lot about what they wore and made sure they always looked good. Although they bourgeoisie weren’t as wealthy as the nobles, they did have a wide variety of clothing. Work, church, parties, and leisurely weekends each called for a different wardrobe. New textile factories helped make the wide variety of clothes more accessible and cheaper because for the bourgeoisie. They no longer had to pay for a personal tailor to make a new outfit or them. Google images
Good behavior was expected of everyone in the Middle Class. Strict codes of conduct were upheld. Self discipline, hard work and personal achievement were stressed. Everyone was raised to know right from wrong. The people who did get into trouble, or were said to have committed some kind of crime, were assumed to be responsible for their own actions. Getting drunk and gambling were denounced.
Education Education was very important to the bourgeoisie. Parents made sure that their kids had a good education. They often provided their children with the opportunity to advance their education at a university. Most Middle Class children learned to read books and play music at a very early age with the help of a tutor or governess. The Institut Pasteur, Paris; Google images
The Proletariat : The Vast Majority of the Population of France During the 19 th Century
The larger part of France in the nineteenth century was the proletariat. Their lives depended on physical labor. They could not afford to own servants. Some were still small landowning peasants and had to hire farm hands to turn a profit.
The Proletariat Continued
Due to industrialization, agriculture declined. Most workers migrated to Paris to find work. Although the workers worked in the urban area, they still found a way to visit their families in the countryside.
Highly Skilled Workers
15% of the working classes
They were proud of their achievements such as being construction bosses or factory foremen.
Their earnings were doubled the earnings of an unskilled worker.