During the period of 1750 to 1914 new technologies and economies arose in parts of the world. The countries in these parts of the world, generally in Europe, gained powerful advantages over the rest of the world. The triggers for this shift in world history came from a series of inventions the originated in Great Britain and spread to Europe and the United States. This industrialization led to new forms of work organization and the development of the factory system. It also changed politics as a new middle class sought a political voice. Finally, industrialization provided a context for imperialist tendencies of the West. Although these changes were revolutionary, its results were spread out over many years with resistance on the regional and cultural level. The impact of the industrialization is most evident with the transformation of leisure. New kinds of leisure were developed to decrease time form work. This trend also influenced agricultural regions.
Key Concepts: The Age of Revolution:
Eighteenth-century faith in progress was reflected in Condorcet’s Progress of the Human Mind, written in 1793 while the author was in hiding. The age of revolution was inspired by that spirit, but also shook its optimism.
Three influences came to overturn Europe by the mid-19th century. Intellectual excitement was pervasive. The ideas of such philosophers as Jean-Jacques Rousseau were widely read. Secondly, more and more Europeans were part of the commercial economy. Commercial wealth challenged traditional notions of the right to rule. Thirdly, the population revolution resulting from better nutrition, and limited control of diseases, led to population pressure. Proto-industrialization was spurred by the wealth of labor resulting from better nutrition, and limited control of diseases, led to population revolution.
When the British Atlantic colonies rebelled it was not truly a revolution, but a war of independence. The so-called American Revolution established a new government in 1776, and achieved its aims in 1789.
The French Revolution soon followed, beginning a profound political restructuring. Ideology called for reforms, and social change added a dimension to the struggles. However, the French government was to slow to adapt. When Louis XVI finally called a parliament in the summer of 1789, reform was forced upon him. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen proclaimed the ideology of the reformers. The taking of the Bastille, a symbol of royal power, on July 14th began widespread uprisings.
Calls for reform in 1789 turned to radicalism in 1792. The monarchy was abolished and the king beheaded by guillotine. Maximilien Robespierre led the radical revolution. Leading the “Terror”, he also suppressed French Catholicism, but was finally guillotined himself. Universal male suffrage, abolition of colonial slavery, and universal conscription were among his policies. Nationalism added to calls for reform to crystallized adherence to the movement. The arrival on the scene of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799 transformed the revolution. Monopolizing power, he nevertheless continued many of the liberal reforms. Legal reforms were promulgated under the Code Napoleon. Ambitious wars led to the undoing of Napoleon in 1815. Yet, the revolutionary legacy was great.
Following the defeat of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna met in 1815 to settle the peace. The principle of the balance of power was followed, and was successful for decades. The ascendancy of conservative goals was signaled by the restoration of monarchies. Much of the Enlightenment ideology was pursued by Liberals, who formed in opposition to the Conservatives. Radicals wished to push reforms further. Nationalists allied sometimes with Radicals, sometimes with Liberals. The Greek Revolution in 1820 was one of many uprisings inspired by the French Revolution and the ideas of nationalism. The British Reform Bill of 1832 achieved many of the reformers’ goals without revolution.
Industrialization, added to the social upheavals, creating a working class with its own agenda. The Chartist movement in Britain hoped to extend suffrage, enact educational reforms, and improve working conditions. However, in the 1848-1849 revolutions, unrest peaked. Beginning with France, uprisings followed in Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Italy. These short-lived revolutions did not bear immediate fruit. In France itself, Napoleon III imposed authoritarian rule. The age of revolutions was over. Many of the goals of revolutionaries had been met, but governments had also learned how to control challenges.
The Consolidation of the Industrial Order, 1850-1914:
The second half of the 19th century was marked by growth and a growing infrastructure linking European countries. Urban life was improved by better sanitation and attention to the needs of the poor and sick. Crime rates stabilized or fell.
Industrialization changed every aspect of life. Material well-being rose. Mortality rates among infants fell, and more effective methods limited childhood diseases. The work of Louis Pasteur accounted in a large part for massive improvement in health. At the same time, corporation’s transformed business, drawing on capital. Their work forces became a major political and economic power, while the political power of peasants declined.
Politically, the agenda changed radically after the 1848 revolutions. The Argument over absolutism and constitutions was resolved, and gave way to debates over workers’ rights and voting. Benjamin Disraeli, the British conservative prime minister, expanded the vote for men. Count camaillo di Cavour also responded to liberal demands. In Prussia, Otto von Bismarck extended the vote to all men, emancipated the Jews, and pushed mass education. These new conservatives also called upon nationalism to consolidate their power. Natinal platforms often took the form of imperialism, as in the case of British and U.S. expansion. In Italy and Germany they were formative. Under Cavour’s leadership, Italy was unified in spite of papal opposition. Bismarck similarly used nationalism to unite Prussia. He maneuvered the country into war with Denmark and Austria, culminating in German unity in 1871. The American Civil War, form 1861-1865, reaffirmed the Union and ended slavery. France returned to its republican system. Across Europe, parliamentary systems allowed continuity in spite of changes in leadership, a process the Italians called transformismo.
Governments increased their domestic scope after 1870. Agencies regulating education, health, industry, and welfare became common. Germany was a leader, implementing social insurance for illness and old age. The social question came to dominate political debates, leading to the emergence of socialism. Earlier socialists had general aims, often taking shape in utopian communities. Inspired by the ideas of Karl Marx, new generations focused on his idea of the centrality of the class struggle, and the necessity of violent protest. Socialism became an important force by the last decades of the 19th century. Revisionist socialism called for achieving Marx’s ends without violence. Feminist movements added their agendas, demanding a political voice. Such leaders as Emmeline Pankhurst used strikes and protests to gain suffrage.
While the growing working class copied middle-class tastes, they also demanded entertaining leisure pursuits. On the supply side, meanwhile, producers had to stimulate demand to find a market for their goods. Mass leisure culture, informed and shaped in part by high-circulation newspapers, called for entertainment. Team sports developed along with nationalism to create new loyalties. In many ways mass culture replaced religion.
Unlike the sciences I the Enlightenment, in the late 19th century, the sciences moved away from other intellectual pursuits and professional scientists took the place of amateurs. In 1859, Charles Darwin published his influential work on the theory of evolution. His ideas conflicted not only with religious notions, but with the Enlightenment idea of an orderly natural world. Meanwhile, work in physics included discoveries in electromagnetism, particle physics, and astronomy. Albert Einstein came up with the idea of relativity, also a challenge to accepted ideas of the physical world. The late 1800s were a period of great development in the social sciences, including economics, sociology, and psychology. Sigmund Freud advanced his ideas on the human subconscious.
In the arts, the prevalent movement in the early 1800s was romanticism. In reaction to the Enlightenment, romanticism emphasized individual emotional responses in the plastic arts, music, and literature. The end of the century saw a move to challenge every canon of representation, harmony, rhyme, and narrative.
Western Settler Societies:
Industrialization spurred the search for raw materials and markets. At the same time, it gave the West a military advantage, in its use of guns and steamships. These factors drove the expansion of settler societies in the United States, Canada, Australia, and South Africa.
The new United States came to be a world power in the 19th century. Massively enlarging its territory with the Louisiana Purchase and settling the lands beyond the Mississippi, it was able to extend its influence partly due to a huge influx of Europeans. The American Civil War, 1861-1865, violently resolved the economic and cultural split between the north and south. The war pushed industrialization and the development of infrastructure. A railway linking the east and west coasts was key to exploiting western lands. Outside the Western Hemisphere, the influence of the United States was small.
The British dominions of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand had been relatively sparsely-populated by indigenous peoples. In each area, governments followed western models. Canada was divided by French and British settlers. From 1839, the British began the process of giving Canada autonomy, to avoid an independence movement. As in the United States, railways facilitated settlement. Australia was originally colonized as a penal colony, but by the middle of the century was an important wool producer. Gold strides spurred settlement. Britain granted self-rule, and the Australian parliamentary government developed. New Zealand was different. Its Maori people were politically organized, and resisted successfully for decades. Nevertheless, European immigration began in 1840, and the Maoris were defeated by 1870, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia remained closely linked to Britain, but developed along their own lines. With the United States and South America, they received the bulk of European immigrants in the 19th century.
Diplomatic Tensions and World War I:
German unification undermined the balance of power in Europe. At the same time, European leaders were looking for solutions through imperialism. Yet by 1900, there was little territory left to take.
The alliance system replaced the balance of power. The Triple Alliance; Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The Triple Entente; Britain, Russia, and France. Militarization, spurred by nationalism and industrialists, made the face off volatile. Russia and Austria-Hungary were the least stable elements, susceptible to internal upheavals. As provinces of the Ottoman Empire sought independence, Balkan nationalism also threatened the peace. Serbia emerged and then sought to expand its territory.
The causes of the First World War included militant nationalism. Industrialization was an indirect cause, as leaders used international undertakings to appease social unrest. Militarization, an economic plus, also let to conflict