France's Population Patterns In The 19th Century

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France’s population patterns and birth rates diverged significantly from those that could be observed in Britain and the rest of Europe during the nineteenth century. In what way did they diverge? What were some of the reasons for this divergence as well as the consequences in terms of French political, social, cultural and economic life during the course of the nineteenth century?

Ancien Regime France was the financial, demographic and cultural hub of Europe. A large unified landmass, a vast rural population and effective centralized governance, positioned the Hexagon to thrive in pre-industrial world. A combination of economic, social and political changes turned many of these strengths into weaknesses. The Industrial Revolution, meant
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This in turn resulted in factory wages, remaining higher in France, than in either Germany or England. This resulted in much less investment in industry in France than in either of those two countries. France also had less coal and iron, and a government that protected the rights of artisans and guild more. The result of these combined factors was that France simply industrialized much more slowly than either Germany or England. The Agricultural Revolution, that followed the industrial one, further reduced the need for population growth in the countryside. The result in France was that it did not have the industry to support a growing surplus population, and the countryside in fact needed less, not more labor. These two factors of course meant that economic growth was much slower in France than in either the UK or Germany. This meant that even families that wanted large families could hardly afford them in most cases. By the middle of the nineteenth century, France found itself in an economic situation that, quite simply, pushed families not to have children. Industry was still dominated by protectionist guilds, meaning there were no new jobs to be had in that sector. The Agricultural Revolution in the countryside, improved yields, but also required fewer peasants. Industry and Farming were the main employers in the …show more content…
The nation was thus less able to fund an equally strong army or navy, and her erstwhile rivals eclipsed her power. France lost the majority of her American and Indian Colonies, and following the defeat of Napoleon, suffered a progressive loss of prestige and power. France’s smaller economy was also far more rural and industrialized than that of Britain or Germany. This compounded the its issues in great power politics, because the lack of industry, also made French equipment, with exception of a few select industries, such as gun manufacturing, rather deficient. These weaknesses were hidden, when France engaged weaker powers; her notable creation of a vast Overseas Empire, under Louis Napoleon and the French victories, against Austria and in Crimea against Russia, were a testament to French

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