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Military System and Rural Social Change in Eighteenth-Century Hesse-Cassel

Peter K. Taylor
Journal of Social History
Vol. 25, No. 3 (Spring, 1992), pp. 479-504
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3789025
Page Count: 26
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Military System and Rural Social Change in Eighteenth-Century Hesse-Cassel
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Abstract

This article connects eighteenth-century demographic growth and class formation in the German territory Hesse-Cassel with alterations in the way European princes organized and fought wars. The state responded to a market for trained military units and evoked fundamentally altered patterns of family formation and reproductive behavior. Peasant responses to conscription after 1762 meant more young land-poor couples, more marital and extra-marital births, and more frequent division of peasant farms. These new patterns represented alteration in intimate authority which led to new forms of domination, and a growing class of underemployed rural wage-workers who stood on the outside of peasant society looking in.

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