Social History of the Habsburg Monarchy 

Everyday life in early modern Europe: East and West 


István György TÓTH  

Social History of the Habsburg Monarchy 

The seminar presents a comparative analysis of the different societies 
that lived in the territory of the Habsburg Monarchy i.e. in Central 
Europe. In this empire Germans, Hungarians, Serbs, Croatians, Poles, 
Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenians, Ukrainians, Roumanians, Italians lived 
together, with very different types of social structure. The time span 
of our investigation begins with the death of emperor Maximilian I in 
1519 and ends with the revolution of 1848. With the help of analysis 
of sources we shall see how the peasantry, the nobility, the 
aristocrates, the burghers lived in different parts of this so complex 
state. The language skills and the knowledge of students coming from 
different parts of Europe, from different nations will help us in the 
common investigation. The general literature on social history of the 
Habsburg empire is available in English, this is the common basis of 
our study, to be deepened by case studies for the different regions. 
The variations of peasantry: free peasants in Tyrol, different types 
of serfs in Galicia, Hungary, Bohemia. The agrarian reforms of the 
enlightened absolutism and their effects. Nobility, rich and poor 
noblemen. The noble way of life. Broad strata of nobility in Hungary 
and Galicia, a rather narrow social layer with noblemen's priviledge 
in Austria and Bohemia. The noblemen's culture, their political role. 
Aristocracy - did they rule the empire? The power and glory of the 
aristocrates, their conflict and collaboration with the emperors. The 
aristocrates' courts as centers of social life.National or 
international aristocracy? City-dwellers and bourgeois : the 
differences of development in Western and Eastern regions of the 
empire, comparison with France and England. 

Basic literature: 

Ernst Wangerman, The Austrian achievement 1700-1800. Harcourt Press 

Robert J. W. Evans, Making of the Habsburg Monarchy 1550-1700. Clarendon Press 

Derek Beales, Joseph II. Cambridge University Press 

Franz Szabo, Kaunitz and enlightened absolutism Cambridge University Press 

Charles Ingrao, The Habsburg Monarchy 1618-1815. Cambridge University Press 

See also the readerprepared for the course which is available for students.