City-states & dynasties 1450-1550 Europe sees greater centralized monarchial control

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Europe sees greater centralized monarchial control over taxes, law, armies; increased sense of belonging to a nation.

Italian city-states: Hundreds of cities (e.g., Florence, Venice, Milan, Genoa, Naples, Papal States) are ruled independently along with surrounding countryside, resulting in political and social instability.

● Cities slowly consolidate into larger city-states ruled by powerful, ruthless families, such as the Medici of Florence

● Many city-states become constitutional oligarchies ruled by small numbers of people; others ruled by despots

● Papal States are ruled by the pope, like other city-states

● France invades Italian states three times (1494, 1499, 1515)

1527: Spanish soldiers sack Rome

Spain: Reaches height of power during 1500s via marriage, inheritance, luck, exploration

1469: Marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella leads to united Spain

1492: Spain expels Jews; exiles Muslims in 1502

Charles V (r. 1519-1556) rules Habsburg Empire (Spain, Netherlands, areas of Italy, central Europe), Holy Roman Empire, and empire in New World

● After Charles, Habsburg Empire splits between Spanish and Austrian branches

­­­­­­­Holy Roman Empire: Continues divide into small independent states ruled by princes, archbishops; population mostly German

● Empire as a whole ruled by an elected emperor (usually an Austrian Habsburg) who negotiates powers with princes

France: Centralizes under powerful Valois dynasty but faces constant warfare, religious conflict

1453: France defeats England, ending Hundreds Years’ War

1477: Burgundy divided between France, Holy Roman Empire

1500s: Series of wars against Spanish Habsburgs end in defeat

1515-1547: Francis I rules with cooperation of nobles

England: New Tudor dynasty ends decades of civil war

1455-1485: War of the Roses between House of Lancaster and House of York over crown

1485: Lancastrian Henry Tudor defeats ill-reputed Richard III at Bosworth Field; as Henry VII, he strengthens royal authority

Byzantine Empire: Constantinople falls to Ottoman Turks in 1453; Islamic, religiously tolerant Ottoman Empire spreads into Balkans

Russia: Princes, united under Ivan III of Moscow, end Mongol rule of Russian cities in 1480


Italian Renaissance: Exploration of the secular world (nature, humanity) through painting, poetry, sculpture, philosophy

Humanism: Poets Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) and Petrarch (1304-1374) and other thinkers pursue scholarship in the humanities, inspired by ancient Greeks and Romans

● Wealthy nobles and merchant support the arts

● Techniques of symmetry, proportionality, chiaroscuro (light-dark contrast), perspective make art more realistic

1440: Donatello finishes sculpture David, first western freestanding nude since antiquity

1507: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), artist, engineer, scientist, inventor, ultimate “Renaissance Man” finishes Mona Lisa

1508: Michelangelo begins work on the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel in Rome; beautiful frescoes depict biblical passages

1513: Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince: Leaders should inspire fear to end political instability, cause moral regeneration

Mannerism: New expressive style rejects symmetry of earlier Renaissance art (c. 1520-1600)

Northern Renaissance: Begins c. 1460s; humanists pursue intellectual activity, making religious reform possible

● Spurred by invention of movable-type printing press (Johann Gutenberg c. 1450) and rising number of schools, universities

● Literacy leads to challenges to rule, religion; greater individual knowledge; propaganda; censorship; new trades; copyright law

Desiderius Erasmus (Dutch, c. 1469-1536) promotes intellectual inquiry, piety, use of Latin as common scholarly language

Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528) paints, engraves realistically

Thomas More critiques society in Utopia (England, 1516)


Spanish and Portuguese explore coast of Africa and the Atlantic in the late 1400s and 1500s

1492: Spanish monarchs fund Christopher Columbus’s voyage; aims to find spices and gold in Asia, but actually lands in Caribbean

1498: Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama reaches India by going around Africa; spice trade to the east by sea begims

Spain claims most of Central, South America; Portugal claims Brazil, African coast; conquer via small armies, advanced weapons

1493: Pope divides New World between Spain, Portugal

1521: Hernán Cortés (Spain) conquers Aztec in Mexico

1531-1534: Francisco Pizarro (Spain) conquers Inca in Peru

1519-1522: Ferdinand Magellan (Portugal) circumnavigates world

Indigenous people face disease, enslavement; loss of land, culture

Africans sent to New World as slaves in mines, on plantations

Catholic priests, notably Bartolomé de Las Casas (1474-1566), protest against Spanish treatment of Native Americans


Calls for reform to end abuses and give lay authorities more power set the stage for Reformations

● Sale of indulgences (in which anxious individuals pay Church money in hopes of spending less time in purgatory after death) comes under attack

● Corrupt, immoral popes, bishops, priests tarnish Church image

Great Schism (1378-1417): Period of several rival popes; undermines papal authority

● Calls for reform by John Wycliffe (English, c. 1328-1384) and Jan Hus (Czech, c. 1369-1415)

● German cities, desiring more wealth and power, try to end Church’s financial privileges and abuses

Protestant Reformation: German priest Martin Luther challenges Church doctrine, rejects pope as head of Christian church

● Argues against monastic life; believes that faith alone leads to salvation (not good works, not indulgences)

● Acknowledges two holy sacraments rather than seven

● Promotes personal religion, individual Bible study, Bible and Mass in vernacular (not Latin)

● 1517: Luther posts his ninety-five theses (complaints about Church’s sale of indulgences) on door of church at Wittenberg

● 1521: Pope excommunicates Luther; H.R.E. Charles V signs Edict of Worms condemning Luther’s ideas; Church reform becomes political issue that divides German princes

● 1530: Augsburg Confession makes Luther’s break with Church permanent, founds Lutheran Church

Protestant movement spreads piecemeal through Holy Roman Empire’s individual states and cities

●Urban reformers, pamphlets, preachers spread Luther’s ideas

●Crowds attack Churches; wars distract Charles V from resisting Reformation actively

●Radical reformers in the Holy Roman Empire splinter into Anabaptists, Mennonites, Anti-Trinitarians

1522: Ulrich Zwingli leads Reformation in Switzerland based on literal reading of scripture

John Calvin (French, 1509-1547) believes salvation comes only through predestination but also that living a strictly godly life is a sign of being chosen to be saved

●1540s: Calvin leads moral reform in Geneva, Switzerland, haven for persecuted Protestants

●Calvinism spreads to Netherlands, France

1555: Peace of Augsburg lets German Princes decide on religion of their states; Holy Roman Empire this divides between Lutherans, Catholic, Calvinists, Anabaptists not recognized

1530s: England’s Henry VII (r. 1509-1547) founds Anglican Church in order to divorce his wife, breaks from Catholicism; daughter Mary returns to Catholicism

●Other daughter, Elizabeth I (r. 1558-1603), enforces Protestantism through Acts of uniformity and Supremacy (1559) but tolerates Catholicism; seeks pragmatic solution to end violence

●Puritans press for further reform of Anglican Church; advocate simplified, fervent Protestantism

Catholic Reformation (Counter-Reformation): Defends against Protestantism, makes reforms within Catholicism

● 1540: Ignatius of Loyola founds Society of Jesus (Jesuits), who preach and teach worldwide to promote Catholicism

● 1545-1563: Council of Trent reforms bishop and priest conduct; reaffirms Catholic doctrine: papal authority, seven sacraments, Christ’s presence in Eucharist (communion), power of indulgences (but not sale), power of good works, celibacy of clergy

● 1555: Pope Paul IV orders Jews to live in ghettos

● 1559: Pope Paul IV establishes Index (list of forbidden books)

1600: Pattern of Christianity in Europe set, but minorities exist.

Catholic majority: Ireland, Spain, France, Italian sates, Austria, Poland, southern German states.

Protestant majority: England, Switzerland, Netherlands, Scandinavia, northern German states.

Orthodox majority: Russia, Balkans, parts of Poland-Lithuania.


European population in the 1400s still recovering from Black Death (bubonic plague) of 1300s

● Life expectancy short; 40 considered old age

● Couples marry late

● High infant mortality; poor have few surviving children

●Wives legally subservient to husbands and contribute to household economy.

Changes in marriage and families in the 1500s

● Marriages occur at later ages; women considered partners in marriage, divorce still difficult but more acceptable under Protestantism.

● Some use of birth control; high infant mortality continues; many children placed in founding homes; spreading practice of wet-nursing

Until late 17th century, plague sweeps though Europe every 10-15 years.

ECONOMIES 1450-1600

1300’S-1400’S: Europe more united economically than ever before

Italian Cities Genoa and Venice trade European wool and metal for silk, cotton and spices from China, India and Persia

Textile production and surplus agriculture provide goods for urban centers, fueling the Italian Renaissance.

Banking, borrowing, raising capital through mining monopolies fuels expanding economies

● Italian city Florence’s gold florin becomes the standard currency from many European traders.

1500s: Population and wealth of Europe increase, benefiting wealthy landowners but leading to inflation, less food, fewer jobs, higher taxes, wider gap between rich and poor.

Age of Exploration leads to new maritime spice, silk, slave trade; sea powers Spain and Portugal grow rich importing silver and gold from the New World; Italian states decline from competition.

● New wealth allows western Europe to buy grain from eastern Europe; land values in Poland rise, rents increase, leading small holders to reenter serfdom (losing freedom, gaining security)

1524-1525: Peasants’ War in Holy Roman Empire calls for end to serfdom, unfair taxation; based partly on Luther’s Reformation teachings but condemned by Luther; revolt is suppressed.

Townspeople in western Europe gain freedoms from lords’ generally could not be serfs.

Largest European cities in 1500: Constantinople, Naples, Milan, Paris, Venice.

● Only about 15% of population lives in towns

● Small number of merchants, nobles, manufacturers dominates urban society; next are artisans; most in cities are laborers.

Guilds regulate artisan training, production, goods distribution


France: Dynastic conflict intensifies wars of religion between Huguenots (French Protestants and Catholics (1562-1598)

● Three successive weak kings and their mother, Catherine De Medici, try to maintain their independence between Catholic and Protestant competing factions.

1572: In St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, thousands of Huguenots killed in Paris and throughout France; Protestants increase resistance to Catholic rule.

1598: Bourbon king Henry IV declares Edict of Nantes, a religious truce; official religion is Catholicism, but Protestants are granted freedoms.

Netherlands: Dutch Protestants begin revolt against Catholic Spanish Habsburgs (1572)

1581: Calvinist United Provinces (northern Netherlands) declare independence; southern Netherlands remain Catholic, loyal to Spain (Belgium and Luxembourg today)

1608: Truce declared

Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648): Most destructive war of religion

● Despite Peace of Augsburg, tensions rise in Holy Roman Empire between Catholics and Protestants, Calvinists and Lutherans

1618: War begins in Bohemia (Czech region in Holy Roman Empire); dynastic conflicts draw in nearly all European countries (Denmark, Sweden, France, Spain Netherlands)

● Armies grow large, cruel, undisciplined, live off the land; destructive war becomes the norm

1648: Treaty of Westphalia brings lasting peace, ends war of religion, established many of today’s European borders.

● Calvinists gain legal recognition; German rules still allowed to determine religion of their own territories

● Independence of Swiss Confederation and United Provinces (Netherlands) recognized.

● Holy Romance Empire weakened; German states greatly damaged by war but maintain relative independence within Empire; German states Austria and Brandenburg-Prussia gain power

● France and Spain continue at war until 1659

● In 1650, 20% of Europeans are Protestant (decline from 1600)


Scientific Revolution” actually slow, uneven development in thought and approaches of the study of the universe, often following false leads or experiencing setbacks

Astronomy: Mathematical formulas developed to describe earthly and planetary motion; observation places the Sun rather than Earth at the center of the planets.

● Ancient, medieval science (based on Greeks Aristotle and Ptolemy) placed Earth at the center of the universe

1543: Nicolaus Copernicus (Polish, 1473-1543) publishes argument for heliocentric (sun-centered) universe, based on his own observations.

Tycho Brahe (Danish, 1546-1642) collects observations of planets and stars; his assistant, Johannes Kepler (German 1571-1630), develops laws of planetary motion

Galileo Galilei (Italian, 15641642) uses telescope to observe sun’s rotation, moons craters; argues that universe follows laws of mathematics

Math and physics: Discoveries of gravity, mathematical laws

Isaac Newton (English, 1642-1727) argues that light can be described mathematically (1671), publishes laws of gravity (1687)

● Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz (German, 1646-1716) independently develop calculus, which describes motion, surface area, and change in volume via mathematical formulas.

Anatomy: Andreas Vesalius (Flemish, 1514-1564) and William Harvey (English, 15781657) explore workings of the human body, including the skeletal and circulatory systems.

Some scientists come into conflict with the Catholic Church for disagreeing with the Bible and emphasizing material world rather than the spiritual world

1633: Pope prosecutes Galileo for promoting Copernican system

● However, most scientists view their work as glorifying and understand God’s creation, not as a challenge to religion

● Blaise Pascal (French, 1623-1662) attempts to reconcile science with religion.

Scientific reasoning: Scientists and philosophers begin to view the universes as governed by universal laws that can be discovered and tested using rational inquiry and experiment

Francis Bacon (English, 1561-1626) uses inductive reasoning (gathering small pieces of information via experiments and drawing larger conclusions from them)

Rene Descartes (French, 1569-1650) uses deductive reasoning (beginning with general principles such as “I think, therefore I am,” and using reason to derive knowledge from them)

Newton combines experimentation with theory

Scientific knowledge spreads through letters, publications, private and public demonstrations; Royal Society of London becomes the most prominent scientific society

● Women prevented from participating in scientific societies and universities, yet some mark scientific contributions, such as English noblewoman Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673)


Reformation leads to fewer monasteries, fewer religious holidays; encourages spread of humanist education and reading, including literacy for women

Baroque style of art and architecture embraced in Catholic countries; heavily ornamented, monumental, emotional religious art.

Baroque music flourishes c. 1600-1750, distinguished by bass continuo (sustained note) and ornamentation heard in compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach (German, 1685-1750) and Antonio Vivaldi (Italian, 1678-1741)

1600s Dutch artists paint secular scenes of daily life, still lifes, families eating, drinking, enjoying wealth; emerging middle class can afford to buy and commission paintings

Rembrandt von Rijn (Dutch, 1609-1669) paints townspeople in rich color, shadow

Mid-1700s rococo style features curves like Baroque, but smaller-scale, less ornate
Jean-Antoine Watteau (French, 1684-1721) paints elegant, smaller, secular themes

Literature: Plays and novels examine human nature and morality in changing society

1605: Miguel de Cervantes (Spanish, 1547-1616) publishes first part of Don Quixote, a sympathetic satire of chivalry

1667: English Puritan John Milton’s Paradise Lost explores the sin of pride

1651: English philosopher Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan sees humanity as naturally materialistic and selfish, argues that absolutism is necessary to prevent conflict

1690: English philosopher John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government argue that humanity is naturally peaceful, call for moderate rule, rights, liberty, and protection of property

Continued superstition despite new philosophies and scientific ideas; most Europeans of the period believe in demons; thousands accused of witchcraft are sentenced to death from 1400-1700

● Women targeted as witches due to misogyny, dependency of older single women, women’s disproportionate claims to have magical powers, suspicions against midwives

● Witch hunts end due to spread of scientific ideas, increasing fear of anarchy, decreasing fear of the devil, increasing belief in human responsibility

In republican states, legislatures hold some power over taxation and law; but states not necessarily democratic, as legislatures may represent only nobles and wealthy

England: Despite kings’ attempts at Catholicism and absolutism, England remains Protestant and maintains strong parliamentary monarchy led by landed gentry

Elizabeth I (r. 1558-1603) establishes tolerant religious settlement, increases royal bureaucracy and efficiency

● 1588: English fleet defeats the Spanish Armada

James I (r. 1603-1625; aka James VI of Scotland) unites rule of Scotland and England, believes in divine right of kings, alienating Puritans

Charles I (r. 1625-1649) and Parliament (led by Puritan John Pym) quarrel over Charles I’s taxation without Parliament’s consent, his refusal to call Parliament, and centralized structure of church governance

1642-1646: Civil War between Charles I’s royalists (“Cavaliers”) and Parliament (“Roundheads,” favored by religious outsiders the Puritans)

1649: Victory of Parliament’s New Model Army, commanded by Oliver Cromwell, leads to Charles I’s execution

1653-1658: Cromwell rules England, enforces Puritan ideals, subdues Ireland and Scotland

Charles II (r. 1660-1685) given throne in Restoration, as English desire end to Puritan republic

James II (r. 1685-1688) renews fears of Catholic, absolutist monarch

1688: Peaceful Glorious Revolution brings moderate monarchs William and Mary to England, assuring Protestant rule and Bill of Rights

1707: Union of Scotland with England and Wales creates United Kingdom

● 18th-century Hanoverian monarchs rule with Parliament, dominated by wealthy property owners, but sometimes responsive to public pressure

● British sense of national identity emerges: Protestant, wealthy, loyal to monarchy, sense of rivalry with France

● Political parties emerge: Whigs, Tories vie for House of Commons (lower house of Parliament)

Netherlands: Newly independent northern United Provinces (or Dutch Republic) thrives in 1600s; expands middle class through trade and industry, via growing global economy

● Draining and filling in of land from sea creates fertile soil for increased agricultural production

● Resists authoritarian government; maintains federalist republic led by wealthy families

● Slight majority of Dutch are Calvinist, but country is known for religious toleration

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: Created by Lublin Union (1569), which unites northeastern Europe under one king; golden age of Poland

● Nobles of the Sejm (the parliament) have customary veto power, which weakens central authority

● Religious toleration as Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, Jews live together

● 1648: Ukrainian peasants revolt against cultural, religious and economic domination of Polish-Lithuanian nobles; turmoil lasts over a decade


Global trade brings spices, tea, sugar, cotton from Asia and Americas to Europe; England and Netherlands especially benefit, while Italian states and Spain decline.

Dutch and English shipbuilding, large middle class, urban population contribute to economy based on trade

Commercial innovations: Banks, credit, bills of exchange, join-stock companies (long-term investments by many) spark trade

Dutch East Indies Company trades spices, tulips from Indonesian colonies; though independent of the government, it represents the government’s interests

British East India Company establishes trade in India, operates its own administration and military

Slaves from central west Africa provide labor in American economies from North America to Brazil

● Millions of Africans forced to migrate across the ocean, bringing languages, culture to American colonies

● Prosperity of colonial traders, merchants, and manufacturers of consumer goods comes to depend on slavery

Mercantile system: Belief that there is a limited amount of wealth in the world and that each nation must seek a favorable trade balance; expansion only through conquest

Dutch economy declines in late 1600s due to series of wars with England and France, lack of strong leadership

Port cities and capitals expand; medieval trade and ecclesiastical centers decline

Largest European cities in 1800: London, Paris, Naples, Constantinople, Moscow

ABSOLUTISM 1550-1770

Monarchs throughout Europe establish absolute rule based on claims of divine right, personal loyalties; increase control over taxation, growing armies, religion

Smaller princes and noble aristocracies agree to absolutism to minimize warfare and gain land and local authority

Absolutist rule limited by custom and law; not arbitrary

France: Monarchs establish rule by divine right, though parlements retain the rights to register royal decrees and oversee local administration and taxation

Louis XIII advisor Richelieu increases royal administration

Louis XIV, the “Sun King” (r. 1643-1715), lives at Versailles Palace, leads France into several dynastic wars

1648-1653: Nobles revolt against royal authority in conflict called the Fronde

1685: Louis XIV revokes Edicts of Nantes

Louis XV (r. 1715-1774) ineffective, less popular; monarchy no longer considered sacred

Holy Roman Empire: Austria-based Habsburg family rules Holy Roman Empire through negotiation with Germanic princes; also rules non-Germanic Croatia, Hungary, Bohemia

● Late 17th-century territorial gains from Ottoman Empire add to multiethnic empire

Prussia: Ambitious Hohenzollern family turns small, disconnected German territories of Brandenburg-Prussia into strong military power with agreement of loyal landowning nobles (Junkers) during 17th and 18th centuries

● Hohenzollern family challenges Habsburgs for dominance over Central Europe

Russia: Develops into powerful, Orthodox, multiethnic empire

● Cruel Ivan IV “the Terrible” (r. 1533-1584) enlarges rule of tsars

1584-1613: Time of Troubles: Many contenders claim throne

1613: Michael Romanov selected as tsar, establishing new Romanov ruling dynasty

Serfdom increases due to economic crisis, labor shortages; no representative institutions and few towns to resist

Peter I “the Great” (r. 1682-1725) expands Russia; struggles against nobles (boyars); controls Orthodox Church; encourages service to state with Table of Ranks; builds new capital, St. Petersburg; introduces Western ideas, dress, culture

Sweden: Protestant monarchy plays important role in Thirty Years’ War, fights Great Northern War against Russia (1700-1721) under leadership of Charles XII (r. 1697-1718)

Ottoman Empire: Spans North Africa, Middle East, Balkans; ethnically, religiously diverse territories become difficult to rule

● Governed through millets (recognized religious communities)

● Land belongs to sultan, so no hereditary nobility forms

● Sultan heads Islamic theocracy but tolerates other religions

1571: Wealthy, powerful Spanish Philip II (r. 1556-1598) defeats Ottoman Turks at sea battle of Lepranto

1683: King John III Sobieski of Poland prevents Ottoman Empire from capturing Habsburg capital, Vienna

● Ottoman Empire suffers long decline due to military defeats, renegotiations of rule with local elites, less vigorous industry and trade compared to Western Europe, isolation from European Military and scientific advances


18th-century intellectual and philosophical movement with origins in scientific ideas, Renaissance, print and culture

Philosophers share ideas in woman-led salons

1751: First volume of The Encyclopedia by Denis Diderot (French, 1713-1784) and others shares knowledge of science, crafts, ideas

1781: Immanuel Kant’s (German, 1724-1804) Critique of Pure Reason promotes rational inquiry

Philosophers criticize religious institutions, promote religious toleration; themselves range from Christians to atheists

1696: John Toland (English, 1670-1722) sets forth deist outlook of God as divine watchmaker

1748: David Hume (Scottish, 1711-1776) claims miracles cannot be proven in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

1759: Voltaire (French, 1694-1778) criticizes Catholicism in Candide
1779: Gotthold Lessing (German, 1729-1781) calls for tolerance of non-Christian faiths in Nathan the Wise

Theorists desire government reform but disagree over best for of government

1748: Charles de Montesquieu (French, 1689-1755) promotes constitutional limits on monarchs in The Spirit of the Laws

1762: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Swiss-French, 1712-1778) promotes democracy, personal freedom under the law in The Social Contract

Philosophers seek universal standards of justice, uniform law, but few promote extending equal rights to women

● 1763: Voltaire (French, 1694-1788) defends persecuted French Protestants

● 1764: Cesare Beccaria (Italian, 1738-1797) espouses justice, protests against torture in On Crimes and Punishments

● 1792: Mary Wollstonecraft (English, 1632-1797) argues for women’s rights in A Vindication of the Rights of Women

Enlightenment thinkers view mankind as changeable, not locked into social categories

● 1690: John Locke (English, 1632-1704) calls the mind a blank slate in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, believes man can learn, improve

● 1762: Rousseau suggests in Émile that men can be molded with education, women should be subordinate to men

Enlightened economists oppose mercantilism

1755: Rousseau blames world’s problems on uneven property distribution in Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

1776: Adam Smith (Scottish, 1723-1790) promotes free markets, specialization of labor in The Wealth of Nations

Enlightenment influences enlightened despotism, is blamed for causing French Revolution


Absolute rulers adopt some Enlightenment ideas, correspond with Enlightenment philosophers; however, rulers do not fundamentally change absolutist rule

Rational reforms strengthen state and military power but do not greatly improve lives of subjects

Russia: Catherine II “the Great” (r. 1762-1796) establishes schools for nobles, printing presses, clarifies nobility’s rights; but also imprisons opponents, maintains censorship and serfdom

1773-1775: Pugachev Rebellion of peasants suppressed

● Russian westward expansion continues

Austria: Maria-Theresa (r. 1740-1780) works to end mistreatment of peasants

1781: Joseph II (r. 1765-1790; co-reigns with Maria-Theresa 1765-1780) abolishes serfdom, promotes religious toleration

● Joseph II imposes more taxes on peasants

Prussia: Frederick II “the Great” (r. 1740-1786) supports arts and education, admires Voltaire, reforms justice system, improves agriculture, writes law code

● Reforms ultimately strengthen and streamline Prussia state

● Tax burden still falls on peasants and townspeople

1772, 1793, 1795: In three steps, Russia, Austria, Prussia partition Poland-Lithuania among themselves until it is no longer an independent nation

● Unlike Russia, Austria, and Prussia, Poland does not develop strong central institution

1780s-1790s: Polish King Stanislaw promotes military, economic, educational, constitutional reforms

● Reform undermined by Polish counterrevolutionaries, making partitions by powerful neighbors possible

WAR & COLONIES 1600-1789

Spanish empire: South America (except Portuguese Brazil), Central America, southern North America, Caribbean islands

French empire: Québec, Louisiana, Caribbean, Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, Indian territories, Caribbean island

Dutch empire: South Africa, Indonesia, territories in South America and India

British empire: North America east coast, India, Caribbean

British, French, Spanish, Dutch battle over global economy; navies grow to defend colonial empires, with Britain’s particularly strong

18th-century nations seek balance of power: if one grows too strong, others unite in war and diplomacy to limit it

1740-1748: War of Austrian Succession: Austria, Russia, Britain fear expansion of Prussia (aided by France), prevent disintegration of Habsburg empire

1756-1763: Seven Years’ War: first global war pits Austria and France against Prussia and Britain

● Fighting occurs in Europe, North America, India

● War of nations, not just monarchs

● Britain ends France’s North American empire

(In America, war is known as the French and Indian War)

● Wars are expensive and cause domestic instability

1783: British recognize independence of United States of America; American Revolution inspires many Europeans to question traditional government

Armies of conscripts and mercenaries use bayonets, muskets, line formations, cavalry charges, defensive tactics

Battles usually only limited engagements, as armies are too expensive to risk destroying in entirety

Dynastic wars led by chivalrous aristocratic officers inflict less civilian causality than 17th-century wars of religion


Social classes given by birth, sometimes called estates; define legal rights and privileges

Nobles: Dominate political life, but increasing wealth of non-nobles causes anxiety

●Nobles own large estates, are exempt from taxes

●Large nobility in Poland, Russia, Hungary, and Spain; small nobility in Britain

●Tension grows between old nobility. Newly ennobled families

●Nobles try to hold onto traditional privileges

Clergy: Hold legal privileges but are divided between wealthy bishops and impoverished village priests and ministers

Urban middle classes: Artisans, merchants, manufactures,

●Russia 90% peasants; Prussia, France 75%; Britain very few Peasants owe taxes, work duties; some peasants own land, others work on large estates for wages and food

●Landowners use legal measures to prevent poor peasants from hunting, chopping down trees, gathering wood on their property

●Eastern European peasants live in worse conditions, often as serfs, under noble authority

Peasants: Make up majority of European population

● Russia 90% peasants; Prussia, France 75%; Britain very few

● Peasants owe taxes, work duties; some peasants own land, others work on large estates for wages and food

● Landowners use legal measures to prevent poor peasants from hunting, chopping down trees, gathering wood on their property

● Eastern European peasants live in worse conditions, often as serfs, under noble authority

Urban and rural poor: struggle to survive despite starvation, disease, social control

●Many turn to begging, smuggling, prostitution, crime

● Towns imprison beggars, increase punishments for crimes to maintain order

●Bands of thieves threaten travelers, traders on highways

● Unwanted children are increasingly left at foundling homes, where many die quickly.

Jews: required to live in separate communities called ghettos; have few rights, experience legal discrimination based on their religion, live mostly in poverty.

Gender difference continues to determine social lives of men and women, regardless of class, from time of birth; opportunities, expectations, economic and cultural roles generally more limited for women.

Families, not individuals, are the primary economic unit

● Family members work together in agriculture, artisanal crafts, small industries to provide for each other.

Households in western Europe include married couple, children, servants

● Other children move away, establish their own households, marry late.

● Women leave home to earn money for dowry, with goal of establishing a household with a husband.

Households in eastern Europe include several generations under one roof; children marry young, stay with parents after marriage.


Population explosion across Europe in 1700s: less devastating warfare, more children, better nourishment, fewer epidemics.

Agricultural revolution in western Europe in 1700s: new crops, enclosure of open fields, commercialization of agriculture increase food production and distribution.

Britain industrializes first (late 1700s) due to free trade, consumers demand, social mobility

Rising demand for convenient inexpensive consumer goods (furniture, clothing, house wares) prompts industrial innovation

Wealthy willing to risk money, or capital, to start an industry

Government laws protect and promote industry, trade; money from global economy invested in manufacturing in Europe.

New technologies invented in Britain make industrial production faster, separate production into many steps.

1765: Spinning jenny allows fast thread production in home

1776: Steam engine first used commercially

1769: Water frame allows small factory thread production

Most weaving still done by hand until 19th century

● Families in rural areas and small villages do textile work at home to earn extra money

● Merchant entrepreneurs supply raw materials to works in their homes, then sell textiles.

Villages in contact with cities sell their agricultural products in exchange for manufactured and imported goods.

Women’s role in agricultural production and in large-scale mechanized industry declines

●Women continue to earn money in cottage industries or as domestics, but they have fewer options

● Women’s work increasingly associated with the home, tradition, viewed as supplemental to a husband’s income.


Unrest stems from population increase, famine, popular Enlightenment ideas that promote democracy and lower prestige of monarchy, monarchy’s financial crisis, and increasing view that the parlements and the public represent the French nation more than the monarch does

1787-1788: Government’s attempts at reform fall

1789: King Louis XVI (r. 1774-1792) opens meeting of Estates General to resolve financial problems (Estates-General is a meeting of three estates-clergy, nobles and all others)

1789: Priest Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyes says the Third Estate (non-clergy, non-nobles) is the true French nation and should have political power

● Estates-General goes further than expected, renames itself National Assembly, turns absolute monarchy into constitutional monarchy (king answerable to an elected legislature), abolishes noble privilege.

●Parisians storm Bastille (old prison seen as a symbol of injustice)

● Women of Paris force king to come to Paris from Versailles

1791: Louis XVI tries to flee France, denounces Revolution

1792: France becomes a republic, promoting “liberty, equality, and fraternity,” but women lack right to vote or participate

● Government creates new calendar, metric system

● Republic takes control of Catholic Church; move in divisive

Sans-culottes (“those wearing long pants”) and tricolor (red, white, blue) flag symbolize republican support.

1792: France wars against antirevoultion European powers

● War continues sporadically for 23 years, spreading nationalism, democracy, and suffering across the continent

1793-1794: Reign of Terror: Government in hands of a few radicals (Jacobins) led by Maximilien Robespierre

● Aristocrats and some peasants start counterrevolution

Federalists want decentralized revolution; crushed by Jacobins

● Over 20,000 people guillotined, including King Louis SXI and wife, Marie-Antoinette

1794: Rovespierre’s regime falls; replaced by unstable government called the Directory (lasts until 1799)


General Napoleon Bonaparte takes control of French government in 1799, declares himself emperor in 1804

Napoleon brings domestic order to France

1801: Makes peace with Pope in the Concordat

1804: Napoleonic Code reforms, codifies French law; promotes traditional ideas about family and women

● Napoleon uses plebiscite (yes or no vote) to gain popular approval of himself and his policies

● Strengthens centralized administration, social hierarchy based on service to the state rather than noble birth.

● Censorship, arrest for those who disagree

Europe in almost constant war during Napoleon’s reign

● Napoleon a genius at military organization, strategy

1805: British confirm naval superiority at Battle of Trafalgar

1805: France defeats Austria and Russia at Austerlitz

1806: Napoleon blockades British trade with rest of Europe

1806: Holy Roman Empire dissolves

1808: Spanish resist French invasion

1812: French invade Russia

1815: Coalition of Austrian, British, Prussian, and Russian forces defeat Napoleon at Waterloo

French army spreads ideas about democracy, stirs nationalism throughout Europe

1814-1815: Congress of Vienna establishes a conservative order in Europe

● Austrian Chancellor Klemens von Metternich dominates meeting of major European powers

● Pre-Napoleon national boundaries restored

● Legitimate Bourbon monarchy restored to France

● England, Austria, Prussia, Russia, France form the Concert of Europe

● Agreement to maintain a balance of power under which no one nation can become too strong

● Agreement to squash revolutions, maintain order


Cultural trends of neoclassicism and romanticism emerge during French Revolution and Napoleonic era

Neoclassicism: Admiration for ancient Greek and Roman culture, architecture

Painting: Geometric lines, large spaces, often portraying a moral theme

1789: Jacques-Louis David’s Lictors Bringing to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons illustrates republican virtue

Music (c. 1750-1820): Court patronage, first public concerts: precise melodies, symmetrical, orderly but complex

1786: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Austrian, 1756-1791) composes The Marriage of Figaro

Romanticism: Belief that the artist creates art from within; not necessarily concerned with pursing truth; characterized by admiration of Gothic architecture, question of value of reason , belief that word is mysterious

Painting: Depicts power of nature, storms, internal turmoil

1818-1819: Theodore Gericault (French, 1791-1824) portrays human tragedy in The Raft of the Medusa

John Constable (English, 1776-1837) paints clouds, landscapes, rural scenes, as in The Haywain

Literature: Emphasis on imagination, interior character development, rebellion against Enlightenment thought

1798: Samuel Taylor Coleridge (English, 1772-1834) and William Wordsworth (English, 1770-1850) explore the development of the poet in Lyrical Ballads

● German Sturm und Drang (“storm and stress”) movement includes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Sorrows of Young Werther, 1774; Faust Part I, 1808)

Lord Byron (English, 1788-1824) writes rebellious and revolutionary poetry

1831: Stendhal (French, 1783-1842) depicts antihero’s journey through love, ambition in The Red and the Black

Music: Belief that music should evoke and emotional response

Ludwig van Beethoven (German, 1770-1827) bridges classicism and romanticism

1738: English clergyman John Wesley founds Methodism religious faith to come from within oneself, not from books, priests or tradition

1802: François-René de Chateaubriand (French, 1768-1848) encourages post-revolutionary return to Catholicism in Genius of Christianity

Conservatism: Belief that stability should be maintained through alliance of hereditary monarchy, landed aristocracy, establish church

1790: Edmund Burke (English, 1729-1797) cautions against overthrowing national traditions in Reflections on the Revolution in France

Joseph de Miastre: (French, 1753-1821) believes in social order stems from Church; blames Voltaire for French Revolution

Nationalism: Belief that the political boundaries of countries should coincide with the ethnicity of their inhabitants (for instance, a single Italian state for all Italian people) so each nation has its own ethnic identity

● Nationalist ideals encourages some ethnic groups to try to create their own nations through revolution, unification

Johann Herder (German, 1744- 1803) encourages study of folk culture; believes each nation has its own spirit

G.W.F. Hegel: (German, 1770-1831) promotes idea of strong state leading its people; believes ideas evolve through conflict with each other

● Nationalism often becomes aggressive, militaristic

Liberalism: Belief in free press, expansion of electoral franchise, legal equality, religious toleration, unregulated economy

● Not necessarily democratic; liberals fear revolution by masses

● Associated with the middle class

1859: John Stuart Mill (English, 1806-1873) promotes freedom of conscience in On Liberty

Classical economics: promotion of free enterprise and capitalism regulated by the market, not the government (laissez-faire); inspired by the Enlightenment economist Adam Smith

Jeremy Bentham (English, 1748-1832) promotes utilitarianism, belief that law and society should be organized to bring the most happiness to the greatest number of people

1798: Thomas Malthus (English, 1766-1834) predicts that population growth will outstrip agricultural production

1817: David Ricardo (English, 1772-1823) believes “iron law of wages” means wages will always stay low

Socialism: Desire for equal distribution of money, property

● Utopian socialists Henri de Saint-Simon (French, 1760-1825), Robert Owen ( English, 1771-1858), Charles Fourier (French, 1772-1837) and Etienne Cabet (French, 1788-1856) advocate ideal communities based on equality, freedom

Marxism: Revolutionary branch of socialism; claims overthrow of capitalism inevitable; urges workers in all countries to unite

1848: German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish the Communist Manifesto

Anarchism: Belief that society works best without government

1840: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (French, 1809-1865) declares that all property is theft

● Russian activists Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1875) and Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) promote anarchism

1880s-1890s: Some anarchists use violent terrorism to assassinate government leaders


Increasing prominence of merchants, bankers, lawyers, doctors, clerks, shopkeepers, etc. known collectively as the middle class or bourgeoisie

Social mobility (moving up and down from one class to another) both an ambition and a source of anxiety

● Size and influence of bourgeoisie varies by country: larger and more powerful in western Europe than in eastern Europe and the Balkans; only 2% of population in Russia

● Size and influence of bourgeoisie varies by country; larger and more powerful in western Europe than in eastern Europe and the Balkans; only 2% of population in Russia

● Earn money through work but not manual labor

Not noble, but would like to have privileges and political power; often support liberalism

● Desire for comfort, consumer goods to be enjoyed in privacy

● Emphasis on family: education, religion, advantageous marriages for children.

Men work, earn money, deal with the outside world, provide food and shelter for family; women raise children, maintain the home, provide moral guidance for family

● Poorer women, however, must work and earn wages to survive; often work as domestics fro the middle class.

● Long-reigning Queen Victoria (r. 1837-1901) embodies British middle class values.

WAR & REVOLUTION 1815-1890

1815-1848: Several revolutions challenge Concert of Europe

1821: Greece revolts against Ottomans; independent 1830

1804-1824: Latin American colonies overthrow Spanish, Portuguese, and French rule.

1820: Liberal revolts in Spain and Portugal

1825: Russia sees failed Decembrists Revolution against new conservative Tsar Nicolas I

1830: Belgium becomes independent of Netherlands

1830: Serbia wins autonomy from Ottoman Empire

1830-1831: Polish uprising against Russian rule suppressed

1848 Revolutions: In France, Austria, German states, and Italian sates; have quick results but ultimately are crushed

● Students, urban workers, middle-class liberals participate

● Revolutionaries have different goals, which are no always compatible: national unification (German, Italian states); national independence (Hungarians, Czechs in Austria); social change; liberalization of law

● Counterrevolutionary armies defeat divided revolutionaries

Armies modernize: conscription, rifles, rapid mobilization

1853-1856: Crimean War: France, Britain fear Russian strength, join Ottoman Empire to defeat Russia; Concert of Europe broken.

Italian unification

● Secret republican society (Cabonari) plots unification

Guiseppe Mazzini and Guiseppe Garibaldi promote romanticized republican nationalism

1859-1860: Prime Minster of Piedmont-Sardinia Camillo Cavour uses arms, diplomacy, Garibaldi’s army to create Kingdom of Italy under King Victor Emmanuel II

● Italy adds Venetia (1866) and Papal sates (1870) to kingdom

German Unification

1815-1848: Inspired by Johann Herder, German student clubs agitate for German unification

1834: Zollverein (free trade union) draws German states closer

1848-1849: Frankfurt Parliament tries to unite German states; disagreement over whether Austria or Prussia should dominate unified Germany; Prussian King Frederick William IV rejects, plan for liberal, constitutional unified Germany

● Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck works to unify German states through “iron and blood”; conservative rather than liberal aim

● Prussia fights three wars to gain military, diplomatic power: defeats Denmark (1864), Austria (1866), France (1870-1871)

1871: German Empire declared under Emperor William I

French revolutions

1830: Conservative Bourbon king overthrown in favor of constitutional monarchy under Orleanist King Louis-Philippe

1848: Revolution establishes Second Republic

1851: President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte overthrows republic, becomes emperor Napoleon III

1860s: Napoleon III allows liberal reforms

1870: Napoleon III overthrown after defeat against Prussia; Third Republic declared

1871: Paris Commune: Leftist revolt against French government crushed

1889: General Boulanger threatens to overthrow republic


Industrialization occurs at different times, at different paces; usually a long, slow process with the exception of:

Germany: Industrializes quickly after unification (1871)

Russia: Industrializes slowly at first, but rapidly in the 1930s

Rural, non-mechanized production still very important

Small factories brings workers under one roof, constant supervision

● Often long hours, unsafe conditions, low wages

● Entire families often work together in factories, with women and children pad less than men

● Single female industrial workers face poverty, exploitation

Decline in wages for skilled workers (glassblowers, tailors, furniture makes, etc.) as machines allow semiskilled and unskilled workers to do the same job

Workers (or proletariat) form unions, go on strike, bargain for better pay, working conditions; often influenced by socialism

1820s-1830s: Steamboats first used to transport materials

1840s-1870s: Railway boom moves raw materials to factories and finished products to market.

Forests cut down; coal mining accelerated to power factories

Urbanization: increasing percentage of population lives in cities

● Poor living quarters, lack of sewer systems make cities unhealthy

● Cities annex suburban areas as they grow

Urban planners build wide streets, sewers to improve city life

Second Industrial Revolution (late 1800s) brings expansion of steel, heavy industry, chemical industry

1881: First public electric plant opens, in Britain


1833: Slavery abolished in British colonies; Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, French, Dutch colonies follow 1836-1863

British reformers call for greater

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