Sunday, November 2, 2008
Was the eighteenth century, overall, a reasonably good time to live?
Generally speaking, life in eighteenth century Europe improved for those who were already living well, and got worse for those who already had it bad. Obviously, the wealthy noble class, the land owners, and aristocrats lived very well. The bourgeois' life tended to improve as well, although it was previously a solid lifestyle, for the line between bourgeois and nobility was no longer as clear. The stories of Thomas Pitt and Jean-Joseph Laborde exemplify this. As for the peasants and laboring class, quality of life lessened. In eastern Europe, a return of serfdom took away many peasants' liberties. Occasionally however, one who was poor would get lucky, and rise up through the social ranks. Opportunity existed moreso than previously.