Culture, Religion, and Demographic Behaviour

Culture, Religion, and Demographic Behaviour: Catholics and Lutherans in Alsace

Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Culture, Religion, and Demographic Behaviour
    Book Description:

    McQuillan shows that the population of the once largely German-speaking region of Alsace was sharply divided into two major religious communities, one Catholic, the other Lutheran. Religion was a central source of identity and a filter through which the political struggles associated with the integration of the region into French society were perceived. The five communities McQuillan studies represent both the religious division in the region and the varying economic circumstances of the population. His analysis of the demographic record of these communities is based on a family reconstitution analysis, which permits a detailed study of patterns of marriage, illegitimacy, marital fertility, and childhood mortality.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6792-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Map of Alsace
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-2)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Culture, Religion, and Demographic Behaviour
    (pp. 3-15)

    The Protestant Reformation divided the population of Alsace into two major religious communities, one Catholic, the other Lutheran.¹ From that time forward, the two groups lived side by side in the cities and countryside of the region, their communities shaped by similar economic and political circumstances. And yet the two groups differed in important ways. Whether one looks at economic activity, voting patterns, or, as this study does, demographic behaviour, Catholics and Lutherans went their separate ways. This book explores the role of religion in shaping the demographic patterns of these two groups and, in doing so, seeks to contribute...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Alsace: Economic and Social Structures
    (pp. 16-43)

    The French region of Alsace comprises the départements of the Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin, stretching from the mountains of the Jura in the south to the German Palatinate in the north, and from the Vosges Mountains in the west to the Rhine (see map). Although the precise boundaries are easily defined today, the region has only gradually taken shape through a long evolutionary process. War, revolution, armistices and peace treaties have redefined not only the territory of the region, but its political and administrative structures as well. With several interruptions, most of the region’s current area has been a part of...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Marriage and Remarriage
    (pp. 44-77)

    Historical demographers have often taken a rather narrow and mechanistic view of marriage. Limited by sources to only readily quantifiable aspects, such as age at marriage and the age difference between spouses, demographers have largely avoided a fuller consideration of the role of marriage in the village community, and explanations of variability in marriage patterns have usually emphasized material factors. John Hajnal (1953,1965), in his classic work on European marriage patterns, argued that the relatively late age at marriage and high rate of permanent celibacy in Western European societies reflected the difficulty young people faced in acquiring the means to...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Illegitimacy and Bridal Pregnancy
    (pp. 78-101)

    Sexual relations outside marriage, and the births that might be expected to follow in a setting where contraception was limited, were far from rare in Alsace, particularly in the aftermath of the French Revolution. According to the Princeton studies of the decline of fertility in Europe, Alsatian rates of non-marital fertility were similar to those found among the states of southern Germany (Coale and Treadway 1986). When compared to other regions of France, however, Alsace stood near the top, leading LeBras and Todd (1981) to identify the area, along with the Nord and the Basque country, as the leading centres...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Marital Fertility
    (pp. 102-130)

    Placed in a European context, Alsace appears as both a region of high fertility and a participant in the widespread decline in fertility that touched much of the continent in the last decades of the nineteenth century. The Princeton studies of European fertility decline (Coale and Treadway 1986) locate the onset of a sustained drop in marital fertility in Alsace in the decade 1880-90, similar to the experience of most of southern Germany and northern Switzerland, but making Alsace a latecomer among the regions of France.

    This characterization of fertility change in Alsace is based, however, on aggregate population data....

  12. CHAPTER SIX Infant and Child Mortality
    (pp. 131-162)

    The death of a young child, now a rare event in affluent societies, was tragically common in the lives of the families we have been studying. About one of every five children born would not survive their first year of life, and almost one in three would die before turning ten. Here, more than ever, averages give us only a partial view of the problem. For some families, the tragedy was complete. Jean George Klein and Anne Marie Schaeffer married in Baldenheim in April 1801 and saw their first child, a boy, born on 3 February 1802.¹ The child survived...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusion
    (pp. 163-180)

    In the period from 1750 to 1870, the Catholic and Lutheran populations of Alsace were governed by two different demographic regimes. The Catholic pattern was marked by restricted marriage, high marital fertility, and high levels of infant and child mortality. This pattern changed remarkably little over the 120 years we have studied. The middle decades of the nineteenth century saw further tightening of the marriage system, brought on in part by increasing population density in the rural areas. Illegitimacy and bridal pregnancy also increased significantly. On the whole, however, the Catholic demographic regime was surprisingly stable in the face of...

  14. APPENDIX Issues of Data Quality and Method
    (pp. 181-196)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 197-204)
  16. References
    (pp. 205-220)
  17. Index
    (pp. 221-228)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 229-231)