Chapter 17—Atlantic Revolutions and Their Echoes, 1750–1914 Chapter 18—Revolutions of Industrialization, 1750–1914 Chapter 19—Internal Troubles, External Threats: China, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan, 1800–1914 Chapter 20—Colonial

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Part Five

The European Moment in World History


Chapter 17—Atlantic Revolutions and Their Echoes, 1750–1914

Chapter 18—Revolutions of Industrialization, 1750–1914

Chapter 19—Internal Troubles, External Threats: China, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan, 1800–1914

Chapter 20—Colonial Encounters, 1750–1914

Outline: The Big Picture: European Centrality and the Problem of Eurocentrism

I. Two major phenomena mark the “long nineteenth century” (1750–1914):

A. the creation of “modern” human societies, an outgrowth of the Scientific, French, and Industrial revolutions (Chapters 17–18)

B. the ability of these modern societies to exercise enormous power and influence over the rest of the world

1. colonial empires founded in some places

2. informal control (economic, military, diplomatic, and missionary) established in others

C. The two phenomena gave Western Europe (and to some extent North America) more prominence in world history than ever before.

II. Eurocentric Geography and History

A. Europe’s new power included the ability to center human history and geography on Europe.

1. Europe was placed at the center of the world on maps

2. Europe was regarded as a continent in its own right

3. the rest of the world was defined in terms of distance from Europe (e.g., the Far East)

4. longitude was measured from the “prime meridian,” running through Greenwich, England

B. History textbooks were Eurocentric.

1. non-European peoples were regarded as static and unchanging

2. general view that “backward” peoples must either Europeanize or go extinct

3. Eurocentrism wasn’t really challenged until around 1950

C. The discipline of world history emerged after World War II with a goal of counteracting Eurocentrism.

III. Countering Eurocentrism—five answers to the problem of European centrality

A. We need to remind ourselves how recent the European moment in world history has been.

B. Europe rose to dominance within an international context.

1. only the withdrawal of the Chinese fleet allowed European domination of the Indian Ocean (sixteenth century)

2. disease and internal divisions of Native Americans made the European takeover of the Americas possible

3. the Scientific Revolution drew on Islamic science and information from around the world

4. the Industrial Revolution benefited from New World resources and markets

5. local elites cooperated in European domination

C. Europe’s rise to global dominance was not easy or automatic.

D. Peoples of the world used Europeans and their ideas for their own purposes.

1. adaptation of borrowings to local circumstances

2. encounters between culturally different peoples are the most interesting stories of modern world history

E. Europeans were not the only game in town—Asians, Africans, and Middle Easterners had other concerns, too.

IV. Yes, the European moment in world history is significant, but it’s best understood in a larger context of interaction and exchange.



Atlantic Revolutions and Their Echoes


Chapter Overview

Chapter Learning Objectives

• To make students aware of the number and diversity of Atlantic revolutions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

• To explore the cross-pollination between revolutionary movements

• To investigate the real impact of the Atlantic revolutions

• To consider the broader long-term implications of the revolutionary movements for sweeping social change

Chapter Outline

I. Opening Vignette

A. In 1989, celebration of the bicentennial of the French Revolution coincided with the Chinese government’s crackdown on demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.

1. The French Revolution was the centerpiece of a revolutionary process all around the Atlantic world between 1775 and 1875

2. Atlantic revolutions had an impact far beyond the Atlantic world

a. French invasions of Egypt, Poland, and Russia

b. inspired efforts to abolish slavery, give women greater rights, and extend the franchise in many countries

c. nationalism was shaped by revolutions

d. principles of equality eventually gave birth to socialism and communism

II. Comparing Atlantic Revolutions

A. The revolutions of North America, Europe, Haiti, and Latin America influenced each other.

1. they also shared a set of common ideas

2. grew out of the European Enlightenment

a. notion that it is possible to engineer, and improve, political and social life

b. traditional ways of thinking were no longer sacrosanct

3. the core political idea was “popular sovereignty”—that the authority to govern comes from the people, not from God or tradition

4. except in Haiti, the main beneficiaries

of revolution were middle-class white males

a. but in the long term, the revolution gave ammunition to groups without political rights

b. goal was to extend political rights further than ever before, so can be called “democratic revolutions”

5. considerable differences between the Atlantic revolutions

B. The North American Revolution, 1775–1787

1. basic facts of the American Revolution are well known

2. a bigger question is what it changed

3. American Revolution was a conservative political movement

a. aimed to preserve colonial liberties, rather than gain new ones

b. for most of seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the British North American colonies had much local autonomy

c. colonists regarded autonomy as their birthright

d. few thought of breaking away from Britain before 1750

4. colonial society

a. was far more egalitarian than in Europe

b. in manners, they were republican well before the revolution

5. Britain made a new drive to control the colonies and get more revenue from them in the 1760s

a. Britain needed money for its global war with France

b. imposed a number of new taxes and tariffs on the colonies

c. colonists were not represented in the British parliament

d. appeared to deny the colonists’ identity as true Englishmen

e. challenged colonial economic interests

f. attacked established traditions of local autonomy

6. British North America was revolutionary for the society that had already emerged, not for the revolution itself

a. no significant social transformation came with independence from Britain

b. accelerated democratic tendencies that were already established

c. political power remained in the hands of existing elites

7. Many Americans thought they were creating a new world order

a. some acclaimed the United States as “the hope and model of the human race”

b. declaration of the “right to revolution” inspired other colonies around the world

c. the U.S. Constitution was one of the first lasting efforts to put Enlightenment political ideas into practice

C. The French Revolution, 1789–1815

1. thousands of French soldiers had fought for the American revolutionaries

2. French government was facing bankruptcy

a. had long attempted to modernize the tax system and make it fairer, but was opposed by the privileged classes

b. King Louis XVI called the Estates General into session in a new effort to raise taxes

3. when the Estates General convened in 1789, Third Estate representatives broke loose and declared themselves the National Assembly

a. drew up the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen

b. launched the French Revolution

4. unlike the American Revolution, the French rising was driven by pronounced social conflicts

a. titled nobility resisted monarchic efforts to tax them

b. middle class resented aristocratic privileges

c. urban poor suffered from inflation and unemployment

d. the peasants were oppressed

5. Enlightenment ideas gave people a language to articulate grievances

6. French Revolution was violent, far-reaching, and radical

a. ended hereditary privilege

b. even abolished slavery (for a time)

c. the Church was subjected to government authority

d. king and queen were executed (1793)

e. the Terror (1793–1794) killed tens of thousands of people regarded as enemies of the revolution

7. effort to create a wholly new society

a. 1792 became Year I of a new calendar

b. briefly passed a law for universal male suffrage

c. France was divided into 83 territorial departments

d. created a massive army (some 800,000 men) to fight threatening neighbors

e. spurt of nationalism, with revolutionary state at the center

f. radicals especially pushed the idea of new beginnings

8. influence of French Revolution spread through conquest

a. Napoleon Bonaparte (r. 1799–1814) seized power in 1799

b. preserved many moderate elements of the revolution

c. kept social equality, but got rid of liberty

d. subdued most of Europe

e. imposed revolutionary practices on conquered regions

f. resentment of French domination stimulated national consciousness throughout Europe

D. The Haitian Revolution, 1791–1804

1. Saint Domingue (later called Haiti) was a French Caribbean colony

a. regarded as the richest colony in the world

b. vast majority of population were slaves

2. example of the French Revolution sparked a spiral of violence

a. but revolution meant different things to different people

b. massive slave revolt began in 1791

c. became a war between a number of factions

d. power gradually shifted to the slaves, who were led by former slave Toussaint Louverture

3. the result was a unique revolution—the only completely successful slave revolt in world history

a. renamed the country Haiti (“mountainous” in Taino)

b. identified themselves with the original native inhabitants

c. declared equality for all races

d. divided up plantations among small farmers

4. Haiti’s success generated great hope and great fear

a. created new “insolence” among slaves elsewhere, inspired other slave rebellions

b. caused horror among whites, led to social conservatism

c. increased slavery elsewhere, as plantations claimed Haiti’s market share

d. Napoleon’s defeat in Haiti convinced him to sell Louisiana Territory to the United States

E. Spanish American Revolutions, 1810–1825

1. Latin American revolutions were inspired by earlier revolutionary movements

2. native-born elites (creoles) in Spanish colonies of Latin America were offended at the Spanish monarchy’s efforts to control them in the eighteenth century

3. reasons why Latin American independence movements were limited at first

a. little tradition of local self-government

b. society was more authoritarian, with stricter class divisions

c. whites were vastly outnumbered

4. creole elites had revolution thrust upon them by events in Europe

a. 1808: Napoleon invaded Spain and Portugal, put royal authority in disarray

b. Latin Americans were forced to take action

c. most of Latin America was independent by 1826

5. longer process than in North America

a. Latin American societies were torn by class, race, and regional divisions

b. fear of social rebellion from below shaped the whole independence movement

6. leaders of independence movements appealed to the lower classes in terms of nativism: all free people born in the Americas were Americanos

a. many whites and mestizos regarded themselves as Spanish

b. but many leaders were liberals, influenced by the ideals of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution

c. in reality, lower classes, Native Americans, and slaves got little benefit from independence

7. it proved impossible to unite the various Spanish colonies, unlike the United States

a. distances were greater

b. colonial experiences were different

c. stronger regional identities

8. after Latin America gained independence, its traditional relationship with North America was gradually reversed

a. the United States grew wealthier and more democratic, became stable

b. Latin American countries became increasingly underdeveloped, impoverished, undemocratic, and unstable

III. Echoes of Revolution

A. Smaller European revolutions occurred in 1830, 1848, and 1870.

1. led to greater social equality and liberation from foreign rule

2. enlarged voting rights: by 1914, major states of Western Europe, the United States, and Argentina had universal male suffrage

3. even in Russia, there was a constitutional movement in 1825

4. abolitionist, nationalist, and feminist movements arose to question other patterns of exclusion and oppression

B. The Abolition of Slavery

1. slavery was largely ended around the world between 1780 and 1890

2. Enlightenment thinkers were increasingly critical of slavery

a. American and French revolutions focused attention on slaves’ lack of liberty and equality

b. religious groups, especially Quakers and Protestant evangelicals, became increasingly vocal in opposition to slavery

c. growing belief that slavery wasn’t necessary for economic progress

3. three major slave rebellions in the British West Indies showed that slaves were discontent; brutality of suppression appalled people

4. abolitionist movements were most powerful in Britain

a. 1807: Britain forbade the sale of slaves within its empire

b. 1834: Britain emancipated all


c. other nations followed suit, under growing international pressure

d. most Latin American countries abolished slavery by 1850s

e. emancipation of the Russian serfs (1861)

5. resistance to abolition was vehement among interested parties

6. abolition often didn’t lead to the expected results

a. usually there was little improvement in the economic lives of former slaves

b. unwillingness of former slaves to work on plantations led to a new wave of global migration, especially from India and China

c. few of the newly freed gained anything like political equality

d. most former Russian serfs remained impoverished

e. more slaves were used within Africa to produce export crops

C. Nations and Nationalism

1. revolutionary movements gave new prominence to more recent kind of human community—the nation

a. idea that humans are divided into separate nations, each with a distinct culture and territory and deserving an independent political life

b. before the nineteenth century, foreign rule in itself wasn’t regarded as heinous

c. most important loyalties were to clan, village, or region

2. independence movements acted in the name of new nations

3. erosion of older identities and loyalties

a. science weakened the hold of religion

b. migration to cities or abroad weakened local allegiances

c. printing standardized languages

4. nationalism was often presented as a reawakening of older cultural identities

5. nationalism was enormously powerful in the nineteenth century

a. inspired political unification of Germany and Italy

b. inspired separatist movements by Greeks, Serbs, Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, Ukrainians, the Irish, and Jews

c. fueled preexisting rivalry among European states

d. efforts to instill national loyalty in citizens

6. nationalism took on a variety of political ideologies

a. “civic nationalism” identified the “nation” with a particular territory, encouraged assimilation

b. some defined the nation in racial terms (e.g., Germany)

7. nationalism was not limited to Europe

D. Feminist Beginnings

1. a feminist movement developed in the nineteenth century, especially in Europe and North America

2. European Enlightenment thinkers sometimes challenged the idea that women were innately inferior

a. during the French Revolution, some women argued that liberty and equality must include women

b. more educational opportunities and less household drudgery for middle-class women

c. women increasingly joined temperance movements, charities, abolitionist movements, missionary work, etc.

d. maternal feminism: argued women’s distinctive role as mothers

3. first organized expression of feminism: women’s rights conference in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848

4. feminist movement was transatlantic from the beginning

5. by the 1870s, movements focused above all on suffrage

a. became a middle-class, not just elite, movement

b. most worked through peaceful protest and persuasion

c. became a mass movement in the most industrialized countries by turn of century

6. by 1900:

a. some women had been admitted to universities

b. women’s literacy rates were

c. some U.S. states passed laws allowing women to control their property and wages

d. some areas liberalized divorce laws

e. some women made their way into new professions

f. 1893: New Zealand was the first to grant universal female suffrage

7. the movement led to discussion of the role of women in modern society

a. taboo sexual topics were aired

b. deep debates over women’s proper roles

8. bitter opposition

a. some argued that strains of education and life beyond the home would cause reproductive damage

b. some saw suffragists, Jews, and socialists as “a foreign body” in national life

9. feminism spread beyond Europe and the United States, but less widely than nationalism

IV. Reflections: Revolutions Pro and Con

A. The legacies of the Atlantic revolutions are still controversial.

1. to some people, they opened new worlds of human potential

2. but the revolutions also had many victims, critics, and opponents

a. conservatives believed that societies were organisms that should evolve slowly; radical change invited disaster

b. argued that revolutions were largely unnecessary

B. Historians also struggle with the pros and cons of revolutionary movements.

Lecture Strategies

Lecture 1: What makes a successful colonial revolution? Looking at the Americas—and Ireland

This chapter rightly focuses on successful revolutions, the ones that changed the world in significant ways. To understand the revolutionary processes themselves, however, it is useful to examine a failed revolution—in this case, the 1798 Rising against British rule in Ireland—so that students have a better sense of the forces that confronted revolutionaries. The objectives of this lecture strategy are:

• to introduce students to the topic of Ireland as a British colony and the long struggle for Irish independence

• to use the case of “the ’98” as a springboard from which to review and compare the course of revolution in the Americas

• to employ the case of Ireland’s failed rebellion to explore in greater depth the issues that lay behind oppression by colonial powers

Begin with England’s successful conquest of Ireland, beginning with the loose overlordship established by Henry II in the 1170s and going on to consider the Nine Years’ War (1594–1603), English/ Scottish plantations in Ireland, Cromwell’s devastation of the island, and the success of William of Orange there. From that point, some important points to include are:

• anti-Catholic legislation

• efforts to abolish the Irish language

• the Penal Laws

• Catholic resettlement in Connacht

• massive Catholic emigration to the continent, especially as soldiers

• the role of the United Irishmen

• the influence of American and French revolutionary ideas

• Irish hope for help from the French revolutionary government

• atrocities on both sides in the conflict

As you work your way through the course of the Irish rising, make comparisons as appropriate to the colonial risings in North and South America.

Lecture 2: One nation under God: Revolutions and nationalist movements

The purpose of this lecture strategy is to review and expand on the textbook’s coverage of nascent nationalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, exploring in particular the relationship between revolutionary movements and nationalism. Its objectives are:

• to make students conscious of the ways in which nationalist movements reimagine and romanticize the past

• to increase student awareness of the power of historical consciousness in nationalist movements

• to explore the ways in which both resistance groups and government authorities can lead people to a sense of nationalism

Begin with Napoleon Bonaparte—not by reassessing his campaigns but by considering how he encouraged nationalism among the French and in other countries. For French nationalism, some important points to consider are:

• the military draft

• the creation of the Napoleonic Code

• the ways in which national triumphs were celebrated (e.g., the Arc de Triomphe)

• Napoleon’s appropriation of the past (everything ranging from his use of the symbolism from a sixth-century Frankish royal tomb to stealing columns from Charlemagne’s Palatine Chapel in Aachen)

For the ways in which resistance to Napoleon encouraged nationalism elsewhere, consider:

• the English hero-worship of Horatio Nelson

• the ways in which England celebrated victories over Napoleonic armies

• German anti-Napoleon movements

• Spanish resistance to French occupation

Move from Napoleon to the ways in which the idea of “nation” gradually won the hearts and minds of citizens of Western Europe, the United States, Japan, India, and Turkey. Depending on which regions you choose to emphasize, this topic could be approached in a variety of ways. It would be useful to address the following:

• the ways in which the popular press and popular art interpreted great “national” heroes of the past and the present

• what the most important symbols of nationalism were—flags, coinage, public art, rousing speeches advocating a return to an earlier age, public buildings, the ruler, a particular form of religious expression, etc.

• the ways in which nationalists rewrote the past to establish the “natural right” of a particular population or ideal

• who advocated nationalism, and how nationalist thought could be used either by a government or against it

• issues that emerged as truly “national”

• language reforms and standardization

It may be useful to refer to the chapter’s Documents and Visual Sources features, particularly Documents 17.1, 17.3, and 17.5 and Visual Source 17.5, during your lecture.

Lecture 3: At last—a woman’s voice

The intent of this lecture strategy is to take a long look at women’s lives in nonindustrial societies (industrialism comes later) and to consider the factors that led small women’s movements to emerge in some of these societies. Its objectives are:

• to encourage student awareness of the role women have played in social, economic, and cultural history, even when they were not very visible in the world of politics

• to explore the factors that began to give nonroyal women a public voice in parts of the world

Begin by looking at what concerned the everyday life of most of the population in most parts of the world—agriculture. It is tempting to treat women’s history as a “history of oppression,” but it can be much more useful to include women among the “voiceless” people of world history more generally, those with no say in politics, who usually lived close to the subsistence level, and who had little in the way of personal freedoms.

Points to include are:

• whether life at the subsistence level on a farm has room for anything but a “partnership marriage,” in which the labor of both wife and husband are essential for survival

• what women’s work was in a typical farming economy, and how very much work there was before the invention of modern labor-saving devices

• the odd circumstance that leisure-class females in world history have usually suffered much more restraint than have their poorer sisters (Did Chinese peasants bind their daughters’ feet? Were impoverished Athenian women socially secluded?)

• the frustrations of urban life and women’s exclusion from its public sphere

• the question of what a woman who has servants to take care of all the work does with her time

From there discuss the role of women in Enlightenment and revolutionary movements, along with the role of men who accepted the premise that liberty should extend to the female of the species. It may be useful to refer to the chapter’s Documents feature, particularly Documents 17.2, and 17.5.

Things to Do in the Classroom

Discussion Topics

1. Misconception/Difficult Topic (large or small group). “The American Revolution was ‘revolutionary.’” Ask students to discuss the chapter’s argument that there was very little about the American Revolution that was actually revolutionary and to compile a list of the main reasons the text gives to support that contention. Then, ask them to list any arguments that they can come up with for why it was revolutionary.

2. Contextualization (large or small group). “Why abolish slavery?” Ask students to draw up a list of reasons why people were increasingly willing to abolish slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, organizing them under the following headings:

• economic reasons

• political reasons

• cultural/religious reasons

When the students have finished, ask them to consider which of these reasons were new or had become noticeably more central in the abolitionist era.

3. Comparison (large or small group). “Nationalist expressions of the nineteenth century.” Display several nationalist images of the nineteenth century. Some readily available examples are:

• the statue of Vercingetorix at Alesia

• the statue of Alfred the Great at Winchester

• the statue of Hermann the German in the Thuringian Forest

Encourage students to discuss the following questions:

• When did the figure depicted actually live?

• What did he do?

• Why would he have become a nationalist rallying point in the nineteenth century?

Classroom Activities

1. Timeline exercise (large or small group). “Revolutions and ideas.” With your students, make a timeline of the major revolutionary movements covered in this chapter. Add to it important events in the history of the Enlightenment, as presented in Chapter 16. Then lead a discussion of what significance the chronological intersection of events might have.

2. Role-playing exercise (small group). “What to do with Louis XVI.” The class is the French National Assembly, convened to consider what to do with the deposed French king Louis XVI (and with his wife, Marie Antoinette). Choose three groups of advocates to argue the case for (1) execution, (2) exile, or (3) acquittal, and then have the Assembly as a whole vote on the appropriate sentence.

3. Clicker question. Revolutions did more harm than good. Agree or disagree.

Key Terms

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