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Dissertation summary in English
The formation of regional elites of thepolitically active nobility in Western Mazovia in the 18th century


Dissertation written under the supervision of dr hab. Dariusz Makiłła

Keywords: local elites, magnate, nobility,Mazovia


The subject of the prepareddoctoral dissertation concerns the scope of modern Polish history in the areaof humanities. From a problem-chronological perspective, it addresses the issueof the formation of regional noble elites in the 18th century in the westernpart of Mazovia. Due to the topic adopted in the work, it was decided todiscuss the presented issue in three chapters, of which the first serves as anintroduction to the analysed topic, the second analyses the factors determiningthe achievement of promotion, and the third deals with the presentation anddiscussion of factors confirming the achievement of the position of localelites.Thedoctoral dissertation was preceded by an introduction, presenting the criteria ofthe selection of the families included in the study. The introduction alsopresents the sources and literature as well as the construction of thedissertation. The first chapter contains a presentation of the definition of the term elite andan analysis of the territory of castellanies covered by the activity of thesurveyed families. The chapter attempts to define what the elite was in thereality of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Mazovia. Previous research ispresented, and the components of the definition adopted, which are the startingpoint for research into the noble elites of 18th-century Mazovia, are presentedand discussed. The following part presents the difference between local andnational elites (magnates) and presents the determinants which fulfillmentallows a given family to be considered an elite. The chapter also presents thegeographical, social, and demographic characteristics of the area studied andpresents the families which reflect the phenomenon of achievement of promotion.The secondchapter focuses on a discussion of the factors that were necessary to achievepromotion. The focus is on the education perceived as an opportunity to acquirecompetencies, but also acquaintances useful in adult life, the property owned –as a necessary financial base for action, and political activity - as a way to promotethe family. The political activity of the surveyed families is discussed inthree parts in chronological order, divided into sub-sections based on theperiods of reign of successive rulers on the throne of the Polish–LithuanianCommonwealth. The first part of the analysisof activity covers the period from the election of Augustus II to his death in1733. The reign of August II was a time of the beginning of political activity ofmany Mazovian politicians, future voivodes, and castellans, but at the sametime a period of building an economic base and establishing social relationsbetween local politicians and leading politicians of the Polish–LithuanianCommonwealth acting as political patrons.The secondpart refers to the history of the Mazovian families between the election ofAugust III and the election of Stanisław August Poniatowski. Associations withthe Potocki, Czartoryski parties, and with the court party gave rise to agradual but steady development of the estates and influence of the Mazovianfamilies. During this period, the next generation of Mazovian politicians begantheir political activity. There was a further accumulation of estates and atightening of relations between Mazovian families, both in social terms,through common schooling, and in family terms, through marriages.The thirdpart covered the years of Stanisław August Poniatowski's reign on the throne upto the Sejm approving the First Partition. During this period, the analysedfamilies reached the maximum of their capabilities in terms of the power they possessed.The thirdchapter presents factors that made it possible to determine whether a givenfamily stood out from the noble community sufficiently to be considered as alocal elite. In line with the definition adopted in the first chapter, in thenext three sub-chapters, I analyse how and to what extent the familiesfulfilled provided determinants, such as the erection of representativeresidences, the erection of sacred buildings, and their patronage, andmarriages.The contentof the dissertation is supplemented by appendices presenting in graphic formthe state of possession of landed estates by the discussed families, theirfoundation activities about the church, and genealogical tables presenting thenetwork of connections between particular families. The appendices in the formof tables and maps do not constitute a separate part of the work, beingincluded in the main body of the text. The maps prepared are a novelty in thestudy of the history of Mazovia in the 18th century.The dissertationpresents the results of research into the noble elites of the 18th-centuryPolish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the western part of Mazovia. The presentedwork is an attempt to answer questions concerning the mechanisms of theadvancement of members of the noble state to regional elites. Based on theresults of scholarly research, as well as available sources from archives, ananalysis of the factors which conditioned and confirmed the entry of thefamilies of the middle nobility into the group of local elites, defined bysitting in the Senate, has been made. The collected and analysed elements ofthe nobility's activity made it possible to address the issue of promotion bothfrom a chronological and qualitative perspective. The course of careers ofindividual families, their ways of activity, as well as general phenomenarelated to the activity of the middle nobility, which was carried out by thestudied families from the western part of Mazovia, have been reflected. Thepaper also presents the course of the phenomenon of advancement, which wasstaggered in time, and the common elements that were present in all theanalysed families.
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