World History: Change Gathers Steam: 1800-40 Essay

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French ideals and empire spread. Inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution, and supported by the expanding French armies, new republican regimes arose near France: the Batavian Republic in the Netherlands (1795-1806), the Helvetic Republic in Switzerland (1798-1803), the Cisalpine Republic in N Italy (1797-1805), the Ligurian Republic in Genoa (1797-1805), and the Parthenopean Republic in S Italy (1799). A Roman Republic existed briefly in 1798 after Pope Pius VI was arrested by French troops.
In Italy and Germany, new nationalist sentiments were stimulated oth in imitation of and in reaction to developments in France (anti-French and anti-Jacobin peasant uprisings in Italy, 1796-99). From 1804, when Napoleon declared himself emperor, to 1812, a succession of military victories (Austerlitz, 1805; Jena, 1806) extended his control over most of Europe, through puppet states (Confederation of the Rhine united W German states for the first time and Grand Duchy of Warsaw revived Polish national hopes), expansion of the empire, and alliances.
Among the lasting reforms initiated under Napoleon’s absolutist reign were: establishment of the Bank of France, centralization of tax collection, odification of law along Roman models (Code Napoleon), and reform and extension of secondary and university education. In an 1801 concordat, the papacy recognized the effective autonomy of the French Catholic Church. Some 400,000 French soldiers were killed in the Napoleonic Wars, along with 600,000 foreign troops. Last gasp of old regime. France’s coastal blockade of Europe (Continental System) failed to neutralize Britain.
The disastrous 1812 invasion of Russia exposed Napoleon’s overextension. After Napoleon’s 1814 exile at Elba, his armies were defeated (1815) at Waterloo, by British and Prussian roops. At the Congress of Vienna, the monarchs and princes of Europe redrew their boundaries, to the advantage of Prussia (in Saxony and the Ruhr), Austria (in Illyria and Venetia), and Russia (in Poland and Finland). British conquest of Dutch and French colonies (S Africa, Ceylon, Mauritius) was recognized, and France, under the restored Bourbons, retained its expanded 1792 borders.
The settlement brought 50 years of international peace to Europe. But the Congress was unable to check the advance of liberal ideals and of nationalism among the smaller European nations. The 1825 Decembrist prising by liberal officers in Russia was easily suppressed. But an independence movement in Greece, stirred by commercial prosperity and a cultural revival, succeeded in expelling Ottoman rule by 1831, with the aid of Britain, France, and Russia. A constitutional monarchy was secured in France by the 1830 Revolution; Louis Philippe became king.
The revolutionary contagion spread to Belgium, which gained its independence (1830) from the Dutch monarchy, to Poland, whose rebellion was defeated (1830-31) by Russia, and to Germany. Romanticism. A new style in intellectual and artistic life began to replace Neoclassicism and Rococo after the mid-18th cent. By the early 19th cent. , this style, Romanticism, had prevailed in the European world. Rousseau had begun the reaction against rationalism; in education (Emile, 1762) he stressed subjective spontaneity over regularized instruction.
In Germany, Lessing (1729-81) and Herder (1744-1803) favorably compared the German folk song to classical forms and began a cult of Shakespeare, whose passion and “natural” wisdom was a model for the romantic Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) movement. Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) set the model for the tragic, passionate genius. A new interest in Gothic architecture in England after 1760 (Walpole, 1717-97) spread through Europe, associated with an aesthetic Christian and mystic revival (Blake, 1757-1827).
Celtic, Norse, and German mythology and folk tales were revived or imitated (Macpherson’s Ossian translation, 1762; Grimm’s Fairy Tales, 1812-22). The medieval revival (Scott’s Ivanhoe, 1819) led to a new interest in history, stressing national differences and organic growth (Carlyle, 1795-1881; Michelet, 1798-1874), corresponding to theories of natural evolution (Lamarck’s Philosophie Zoologique, 1809; Lyell’s Geology, 1830-33). A reaction against classicism characterized the English romantic poets, beginning with Wordsworth (1770-1850).
Revolution and war fed an obsession with freedom and conflict, expressed by both poets (Byron, 1788-1824; Hugo, 1802-85) and philosophers (Hegel, 1770-1831). Wild gardens replaced the formal French variety, and painters favored rural, stormy, and mountainous landscapes (Turner, 1775-1851; Constable, 1776-1837). Clothing became freer, with wigs, hoops, and ruffles discarded. Originality and genius were expected in the life as well as the work of nspired artists (Murger’s Scenes from Bohemian Life, 1847-49).
Exotic locales and themes (as in Gothic horror stories) were used in art and literature (Delacroix, 1798-1863; Poe, 1809-49). Music exhibited the new dramatic style and a breakdown of classical forms (Beethoven, 1770-1827). The use of folk melodies and modes aided the growth of distinct national traditions (Glinka in Russia, 1804-57). Latin America. Haiti, under the former slave Toussaint L’Ouverture, was the first Latin American independent state (1804). All the mainland Spanish colonies won their independence (1810-24), under such leaders as Bolivar 1783-1830).
Brazil became an independent empire (1822) under the Portuguese prince regent. A new class of military officers divided power with large landholders and the church. United States. Heavy immigration and exploitation of ample natural resources fueled rapid economic growth. The spread of the franchise, public education, and antislavery sentiment were signs of a widespread democratic ethic. China. Failure to keep pace with Western arms technology exposed China to greater European influence and hampered efforts to bar imports of opium, which had damaged Chinese society and drained wealth overseas.
In the Opium War (1839-42), Britain forced China to expand trade opportunities and to cede Hong Kong. Triumph of Progress: 1840-80 Idea of Progress. As a result of the cumulative scientific, economic, and political changes of the preceding eras, the idea took hold among literate people in the West that continuing growth and improvement was the usual state of human and natural life. Darwin’s statement of the theory of evolution and survival of the fittest (Origin of Species, 1859), defended by intellectuals and scientists against theological objections, was taken as confirmation that progress was the atural direction of life.
The controversy helped define popular ideas of the dedicated scientist and ever-expanding human knowledge of and control over the world (Foucault’s demonstration of earth’s rotation, 1851; Pasteur’s germ theory, 1861). Liberals following Ricardo (1772-1823) in their faith that unrestrained competition would bring continuous economic expansion sought to adjust political life to the new social realities and believed that unregulated competition of ideas would yield truth (Mill, 1806-73).
In England, successive reform bills (1832, 1867, 1884) gave representation to the new ndustrial towns and extended the franchise to the middle and lower classes and to Catholics, Dissenters, and Jews. On both sides of the Atlantic, reformists tried to improve conditions for the mentally ill (Dix, 1802-87), women (Anthony, 1820-1906), and prisoners. Slavery was barred in the British Empire (1833); the U. S. (1865); and Brazil (1888). Socialist theories based on ideas of human perfectibility or historical progress were widely disseminated.
Utopian socialists such as Saint-Simon (1760-1825) envisaged an orderly, just society directed by a technocratic elite. A model factory town, New Lanark, Scotland, was set up by utopian Robert Owen (1771-1858), and utopian communal experiments were tried in the U. S. (Brook Farm, Mass. , 1841-47). Bakunin’s (1814-76) anarchism represented the opposite utopian extreme of total freedom. Marx (1818-83) posited the inevitable triumph of socialism in the industrial countries through a historical process of class conflict. Spread of industry.
The technical processes and managerial innovations of the English industrial revolution spread to Europe (especially Germany) and the U. S. , causing an explosion of industrial production, demand for raw materials, and competition for markets. Inventors, both trained and self-educated, provided the means for larger-scale production (Bessemer steel, 1856; sewing machine, 1846). Many inventions were shown at the 1851 London Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, the theme of which was universal prosperity. Local specialization and long-distance trade were aided by a revolution in transportation and communication.
Railroads were first introduced in the 1820s in England and the U. S. More than 150,000 mi of track had been laid worldwide by 1880, with another 100,000 mi laid in the next decade. Steamships were improved (Savannah crossed Atlantic, 1819). The telegraph, perfected by 1844 (Morse), connected the Old and New Worlds by cable in 1866 and quickened the pace of international commerce and politics. The first commercial telephone exchange went into operation in the U. S. in 1878. The new class of industrial workers, uprooted from their rural homes, lacked job security and suffered from dangerous overcrowded conditions at work and at home.
Many responded by organizing trade unions (legalized in England, 1824; France, 1884). The U. S. Knights of Labor had 700,000 members by 1886. The First International (1864-76) tried to unite workers nternationally around a Marxist program. The quasi-Socialist Paris Commune uprising (1871) was violently suppressed. Factory Acts to reduce child labor and regulate conditions were passed (1833-50 in England). Social security measures were introduced by the Bismarck regime (1883-89) in Germany. Revolutions of 1848.
Among the causes of the continent-wide revolutions were an international collapse of credit and resulting unemployment, bad harvests in 1845-47, and a cholera epidemic. The new urban proletariat and expanding bourgeoisie demanded a greater political role. Republics were roclaimed in France, Rome, and Venice. Nationalist feelings reached fever pitch in the Hapsburg empire, as Hungary declared independence under Kossuth, as a Slav Congress demanded equality, and as Piedmont tried to drive Austria from Lombardy. A national liberal assembly at Frankfurt called for German unification.
But riots fueled bourgeois fears of socialism (Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto, 1848), and peasants remained conservative. The old establishment — the Papacy, the Hapsburgs with the help of the Czarist Russian army — was able to rout the revolutionaries by 1849. The French Republic succumbed o a renewed monarchy by 1852 (Emperor Napoleon III). Great nations unified. Using the “blood and iron” tactics of Bismarck from 1862, Prussia controlled N Germany by 1867 (war with Denmark, 1864; Austria, 1866). After defeating France in 1870 (annexation of Alsace-Lorraine), it won the allegiance of S German states.
A new German Empire was proclaimed (1871). Italy, inspired by Mazzini (1805-72) and Garibaldi (1807-82), was unified by the reformed Piedmont kingdom through uprisings, plebiscites, and war. The U. S. , its area expanded after the 1846-48 Mexican War, defeated (1861-65) a secession attempt by slave states. The Canadian provinces were united in an autonomous Dominion of Canada (1867). Control in India was removed from the East India Co. and centralized under British administration after the 1857-58 Sepoy rebellion, laying the groundwork for the modern Indian State.
Queen Victoria was named Empress of India (1876). Europe dominates Asia. The Ottoman Empire began to collapse in the face of Balkan nationalisms and European imperial incursions in N Africa (Suez Canal, 1869). The Turks had lost control of most of both regions by 1882. Russia completed its expansion S by 1884 (despite the temporary setback of he Crimean War with Turkey, Britain, and France, 1853-56), taking Turkestan, all the Caucasus, and Chinese areas in the E and sponsoring Balkan Slavs against the Turks. A succession of reformist and reactionary regimes presided over a slow modernization (serfs freed, 1861).
Persian independence suffered as Russia and British India competed for influence. China was forced to sign a series of unequal treaties with European powers and Japan. Overpopulation and an inefficient dynasty brought misery and caused rebellions (Taiping, Muslims) leaving tens of millions dead. Japan was forced by the U. S. Commodore Perry’s visits, 1853-54) and Europe to end its isolation. The Meiji restoration (1868) gave power to a Westernizing oligarchy. Intensified empire-building gave Burma to Britain (1824-85) and Indochina to France (1862-95). Christian missionary activity followed imperial and trade expansion in Asia.
Respectability. The fine arts were expected to reflect and encourage the progress of morals and manners among the Victorians. Prudery, exaggerated delicacy, and familial piety were heralded by Bowdler’s expurgated edition (1818) of Shakespeare. Government-supported mass education inculcated a ork ethic as a means to escape poverty (Horatio Alger, 1832-99). The official Beaux Arts school in Paris set an international style of imposing public buildings (Paris Opera, 1861-74; Vienna Opera, 1861-69) and uplifting statues (Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, 1884).
Realist painting, influenced by photography (Daguerre, 1837), appealed to a new mass audience with social or historical narrative (Wilkie, 1785-1841; Poynter, 1836-1919) or with serious religious, moral, or social messages (pre-Raphaelites, Millet’s Angelus, 1858) often drawn from ordinary life. The Impressionists Monet, 1840-1926; Pissarro, 1830-1903; Renoir, 1841-1919) rejected the formalism, sentimentality, and precise techniques of academic art in favor of a spontaneous, undetailed rendering of the world through careful representation of the effect of natural light on objects.
Realistic novelists presented the full panorama of social classes and personalities, but retained sentimentality and moral judgment (Dickens, 1812-70; Eliot, 1819-80; Tolstoy, 1828-1910; Balzac, 1799-1850). Veneer of Stability: 1880-1900 Imperialism triumphant. The vast African interior, visited by European xplorers (Barth, 1821-65; Livingstone, 1813-73), was conquered by the European powers in rapid, competitive thrusts from their coastal bases after 1880, mostly for domestic political and international strategic reasons.
W African Muslim kingdoms (Fulani), Arab slave traders (Zanzibar), and Bantu military confederations (Zulu) were alike subdued. Only Christian Ethiopia (defeat of Italy, 1896) and Liberia resisted successfully. France (W Africa) and Britain (“Cape to Cairo,” Boer War, 1899-1902) were the major beneficiaries. The ideology of “the white man’s burden” (Kipling, Barrack Room Ballads, 1892) or of a “civilizing mission” (France) justified the conquests. W European foreign capital investment soared to nearly $40 billion by 1914, but most was in E Europe (France, Germany), the Americas (Britain), and the Europeans’ colonies.
The foundation of the modern interdependent world economy was laid, with cartels dominating raw material trade. An industrious world. Industrial and technological proficiency characterized the 2 new great powers — Germany and the U. S. Coal and iron deposits enabled Germany to reach 2d or 3d place status in iron, steel, and shipbuilding by the 1900s. German electrical and chemical industries were world leaders. The U. S. post-Civil War boom (interrupted by “panics” — 1884, 1893, 1896) was shaped by massive immigration from S and E Europe from 1880, government subsidy of railroads, and huge private monopolies (Standard Oil, 1870; U.
S. Steel, 1901). The Spanish-American War, 1898 (Philippine Insurrection, 1899-1902), and the Open Door policy in China (1899) made the U. S. a world power. England led in urbanization (72% by 1890), with London the world capital of finance, insurance, and shipping. Sewer systems (Paris, 1850s), electric ubways (London, 1890), parks, and bargain department stores helped improve living standards for most of the urban population of the industrial world. Westernization of Asia.
Asian reaction to European economic, military, and religious incursions took the form of imitation of Western techniques and adoption of Western ideas of progress and freedom. The Chinese “self-strengthening” movement of the 1860s and ’70s included rail, port, and arsenal improvements and metal and textile mills. Reformers such as K’ang Yu-wei (1858-1927) won liberalizing reforms in 1898, right after the European and Japanese “scramble for concessions. “

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