Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, by Eugen Weber

By Eugen Weber

France completed nationwide cohesion a lot later than is often meant. For 100 years and extra after the Revolution, hundreds of thousands of peasants lived on as though in a undying international, their lifestyles little diversified from that of the generations ahead of them.
The writer of this vigorous, frequently witty, and regularly provocative paintings strains how France underwent a veritable challenge of civilization within the early years of the French Republic as conventional attitudes and practices crumbled lower than the forces of modernization. neighborhood roads and railways have been the decisive components, bringing hitherto distant and inaccessible areas into effortless touch with markets and significant facilities of the trendy global. the goods of rendered many peasant talents dead, and the increasing institution method taught not just the language of the dominant tradition yet its values to boot, between them patriotism. by way of 1914, France had eventually develop into l. a. Patrie actually because it had goodbye been in identify.

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It has been suggested that new methods of farming, notably the shift from the biannual to the triannual rotation of crops, created a peasant without leisure. Again, we shall see that new methods of cultivation progressed at rates that varied greatly; and so did access to leisure. t peasants had enough to do even under the old system. What observers in fact noted was the result of the peasant's new opportunities to improve his lot at the cost of immense effort and with no certainty of success-more simply, the novelty of hope.

4 Many local spirits had been helpful, playful, and occasionally mischievous beings until the Church spread the notion that they were evil. They could turn dangerous if surprised, but peasant tales also contain fairies who build castles, open roads, and repair broken tools. In early-nineteenth-century Nivernais, when a plow broke a peasant could still invoke the fairies' aid and leave 12 sols by their rock to pay for it. In any case, they were a familiar part of life. So much so that in the Morvan MeIusine was known as La Mere Louisine.

In the early 1900'S in Bourbonnais, though the hectare was "half-heartedly employed at the notaire's by force of law," people still went by rod and acre, ell and boisseh~e. Milestones showed kilometers, but the countryside knew only leagues; iron sold by the inch and the line. The king's foot that Gille had spurned was still in general use, and ironmongers, who were bound by law to use official units, hid measuring sticks in the back of their shops that showed the pouce, ligne, and pied their clients would recognize.

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