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Catholic and Malthusian: the Entrepreneurs of Tourcoing in the Nineteenth Century

Béatrice Craig
Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung
Vol. 32, No. 2 (120), Geburtenbeschränkung in historischer Perspektive / Family Limitation in Historical Perspective (2007), pp. 160-186
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20762211
Page Count: 27
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Catholic and Malthusian: the Entrepreneurs of Tourcoing in the Nineteenth Century
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Abstract

The Religion is a factor expected to influence demographic behaviour. The Catholic Church's long standing opposition to contraception for instance should have made it difficult for couples to control the size of their family, and they are often assumed to have had larger than average ones. Since the work of Landes (1976), large families reflecting the groups intense Catholicism have been described as one of the reasons behind northern France's rapid industrialization in the nineteenth century. A study of the demographic behaviour of the industrialists however reveals that this socio-economic group limited the size of its descendence in response to economic constraint. Although religion probably had an impact on their fertility, it did not determine it.

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