The Early Modern City, 1450-1750

By Christopher R. Friedrichs | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER ELEVEN
Urban Crisis

The early modern city was, even at the best of times, a highly fragile community. The concept of a united body of inhabitants working together to achieve the goals of peace, justice and the promotion of the common good was readily voiced, especially by members of the urban elite.1 Yet in actual fact nobody could fail to recognize that any community was a collection of groups and individuals whose competing interests and inclinations were difficult to harmonize. Hard as this was in times of relative stability, it was all the more difficult to sustain the solidarity of the community in times of crisis.

'Crisis' is an ambiguous concept. Historians have long debated the exact meaning of the term and its applicability to various situations in the history of early modern Europe.2 But there is no question that a local crisis occurred whenever the customary routines and practices of a community were threatened or disrupted in a serious and sudden way. No matter how carefully members of the community could try to forestall and prevent any threats to the urban routine, no city in early modern Europe ever remained entirely immune to crisis. The causes of crisis took many different forms. In the long run, the most serious threats to urban stability often came from a breakdown of customary social relations within the community itself. But some of the gravest crises were caused by real or imagined threats from without. War, famine, pestilence, death, natural disaster and the machinations of Satan himself -- such a list of dangers may look very eclectic indeed. But to the men and women of the early modern city,

____________________
1
cf. Rublack, "'Political and Social Norms'".
2
cf. Starn, "'Historians'"; Rabb, Struggle for Stability, 7-34.

-275-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Early Modern City, 1450-1750
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 384

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?