Additional Information from Part 3
Part 3 of the Linguistic series of History of the Vigneron has ballooned to maybe 20,000 words, at least twice as long as the first two sections combined. It is going to cover a lot of historical and philosophical ground, and these are the questions which are driving that inquiry.
The Questions I will address in Part Three are these.
- Following the Revolution, history speaks dually of the land of the nobility and the clergy land being auctioned off, while other texts mention (typically in passing) that the transfer of seigneurial (noble) land, which had been under tenure, was made to the peasantry who had farmed these plots. What were the specifics of these land transfers?
- What was the realpolitik behind the release of the tenure? Was this really done in the spirit of Liberté, égalité, fraternité ?
- What amount of wealth defines a peasant: how much land did they own, and what was their relative measure of economic security? When had the peasant moved into what was legitimately a burgeoning rural middle class to middle-upper class?
- It has been reported that peasant incomes were rising, yet peasants were purportedly being squeezed from their land. How was this happening? Or alternately, did these two positions represent two entirely different philosophical approaches to history?
- Population among rural farmers, particularly among the peasantry was falling. Was industrialization and rural exodus responsible for this?
- Modern historians are now questioning the relevance of the rural exodus in France. Was the influence of Marxists historiography, which is in largely based on German and English historical-industrial themes, responsible for the prominence of the rural exodus meme having been written into French history?
- We know that the birthrate in France was in decline from the late 1700’s. We also know that by the early 1800’s the mortality rate was beginning to decline sharply. These were potentially offsetting factors; but in fact, were they? Could the birth rate have decreased so substantially that it could account for the decreasing rural population, despite the fact that far fewer children were dying before age 10, and people were now living longer lives?
- Large commercial farming estates were growing in number and size throughout the early to mid 1800’s. How was this happening? Where and how was the land to expand these farms obtained from?
- What was the impact of the Little Ice Age on the French economy, and particularly upon agriculture and the peasantry between 1780 and 1860?
- Crop failures and (less commonly) famine happened with periodic frequency between 1780 and 1860. Did this push farmers to leave their land?
- Crop failures (and the economic depression they are credited with), were repeatedly followed by revolution and regime change. Was there a causal relationship between crop failures and a change in governance?
- Conversely, was the over-extension of the financial markets the real culprit in the economic depressions of 1815, 1830, and 1848, with crop failures, being a secondary cause?
- How do we know what is reported by history is true? Who were these historians? What were their theoretical memes and philosophical perceptions? How have those memes and perceptions shaped written history?
- Marxist theory was born out of this revolutionary time, and developed a historiography which closely matches the events as we know them to happen. How has Marxism influenced the reportage of history, and are we completely able to separate the two?
Ultimately, upon discovering the answers to this first series of questions, hopefully I can reasonably answer a second set of questions which are more specific to the Burgundian peasantry.
- Was a sub-section of the Burgundian peasantry forced to leave their vineyards?
- When the loss of peasantry rural Cote d’Or, and from greater Burgundy, or did it happen in the regions immediately surrounding the more famous villages of the Cote d’Or as well?
- Were peasants able to buy vineyard land at auction following the Revolution? Did some actually have that much money?
- Was their seigneurial land under tenure in the famous wine villages of the Cote d’Or?
- Even today many wine writers say Burgundian vintners are peasants or peasant-like. While this is unlikely true today, what was the economic condition of the farmers of Burgundy during the 19th century? Was there a wide-spread peasantry before or after phylloxera reached the vineyards of the Cote d’Or?
- Much is made of phylloxera, and its economic impact on France. What was the impact of phylloxera upon the Burgundian farmers? Were peasants or other fermiers forced from their land?