by user








Complementary Course of BA Political Science/ BA English
(II Semester CUCBCSS - 2014 Admission onwards)
Calicut University P.O. Malappuram, Kerala, India 673 635
School of Distance Education
Complementary Course of BA Political Science/ BA English
Prepared by:
Associate Professor&Head
P.G.Department of History
C.A.S.College, Madayi
Scrutinized by:
Sri. Ashraf Koyilothan Kandiyil,
Chairman, Board of Studies in History of (UG),
Govt. College Mokeri.
Computer Section, SDE
Modern World History
Module - I
Module - II
Module - III
Modern World History
Page 4
The French Revolution: Ideas and Ideologies
Edmund Burke was one of the first to suggest that the philosophers of the
French Enlightenment were somehow responsible for the French Revolution,
and his argument was taken up, and elaborated on, by many historians,
including Tocqueville and Lord Acton. The philosophes undoubtedly provided
the ideas. It may well be that the collapse of the old regime was the
consequence of other factors - economic problems, social unrest, conflicting
ambitions of groups and individuals - but in the unfolding of the Revolution,
what was thought, what was said, and what was advocated, was expressed in
terms and categories that came from political theorists of the Enlightenment.
Those theorists were far from sharing the same ideas; but, then, the French
Revolution itself was not animated by a single revolutionary programme.Unlike
the English and American Revolutions, the French Revolution went through a
series of phases, each of which almost amounted to a revolution in itself; and
as the Revolutionists repudiated one policy to adopt another, more or less its
antithesis, they were able to turn from one philosopher of the Enlightenment,
to an alternative, competing or rival theorist from the same stable.
The first phase of the French Revolution was the one in which the dominant
ideas were those of Montesquieu, notably those expounded in his masterpiece,
L'Esprit des lois(The Spirit of the Laws) first published in 1753. Montesquieu
claimed that a liberal constitutional monarchy was the best system of
government for a people who prized freedom, on the grounds that by dividing
the sovereignty of the nation between several centers of power, it provided a
permanent check on any one of them becoming despotic. Montesquieu
suggested that the English had achieved this by sharing sovereignty between
the Crown, Parliament and the law courts. The French, he suggested, would
need, if they were to adopt the same idea, to make use of the estates with
which they were themselves already familiar: the Crown, the aristocratic
courts, the Church, the landed nobility and the chartered cities.
Montesquieu’s project gives a conspicuous share of the sovereignty to the
aristocracy – the class to which he himself belonged - both the noblesse de
robe in the courts and the noblesse de race on the land. Some of the people
most active in the earliest stages of the Revolution were aristocrats, who
undoubtedly identified the cause of national freedom with the interests of their
own estate. When the French Revolution began, Louis XVI took it to be an
enterprise on the part of some of his privileged subjects to do what the Whig
nobles of England had done in 1688, and replace an absolute monarch with a
constitutional monarch. It was in order to avoid being another James II of
England that Louis XVI tried to play the part of another William III.
The comte de Mirabeau, the leading orator among the revolutionists of this
early phase, was very much the disciple of Montesquieu in his demand for a
constitutional monarchy. On the more abstract level Mirabeau believed that
the only way to ensure freedom was to institute a divided sovereignty, but he
did not agree with Montesquieu as to which estates in France should have a
Modern World History
Page 5
share in that divided sovereignty. Despite being a nobleman himself, Mirabeau
was out of sympathy with most of his peers. Indeed one big difference between
the French liberal noblemen who were prominent in the early stages of the
French Revolution - Lafayette, Condorcet, Liancourt, Talleyrand, as well as
Mirabeau - and the English Whig aristocrats of 1688 is that they did not
represent the views of a large section of their own class.
Even before Mirabeau's death in April 1791, Montesquieu's dream of
devolving a large share of national sovereignty on to the peerage and the
Church had been rendered unrealizable by the attitude of the First, the
ecclesiastical, and the Second, or the noble Estates when the Estates-General
first met in May 1789. The privileged orders proved more eager to hold on to
their privileges than to accede to the powers Montesquieu had wished them to
have. Instead it was less privileged groups represented in the Third Estate the commons - who demanded to share the sovereignty of the nation with the
Nevertheless, while the idea of shared sovereignty continued to inform the
struggle for freedom, Montesquieu remained the most important political
philosopher of the French Revolution; even those orators and journalists who
invoked the name of John Locke as the great theorist of modern freedom did
not move far from Montesquieu's conception of things, since Montesquieu saw
himself as Locke's successor in the liberal tradition, and modestly claimed only
to wish to adapt Locke's general principles to the particular conditions of
But there was one element of Locke's thinking that Montesquieu was less
attracted to than were the Revolutionists of 1789 and that was Locke's theory
of the natural rights of man to life, liberty and property. The French
revolutionists made much of this because the American revolutionists had
done so in 1776. Lafayette, having taken part in person in the American war of
independence, and Condorcet, who had been made an honorary citizen of New
Haven, were among those most active in having the French Revolution justify
itself to the world and the people, by proclaiming the Declaration of the Rights
of Man and the Citizen as early as August, 1789. However, as later critics
pointed out, a 'declaration' has no force in law, and the proclamation made no
material difference to the institutions and procedures by which the
constitutional monarchy was governed. The division of sovereignty between the
Crown and the legislature was still thought of as the central achievement of
the Revolution of 1789.
What put an end to all this was the king's flight to Varennes, which made it
fairly obvious that he did not want to share his sovereignty with the
legislature; and the failure thereafter of liberal monarchists to patch up the
constitution gave a signal to those who had no desire for the people to share
sovereignty with the Crown. Thus the theory of divided sovereignty came to be
overthrown in favour of the theory of undivided sovereignty; the constitutional
monarchy gave way to a republic: Montesquieu, in effect, yielded to Rousseau.
Burke, with remarkable prescience, saw Rousseau as the chief ideologue of
the French Revolution as early as 1790; but it was only after the king's flight to
Varennes had undermined his liberal reputation that republicanism came to
the fore- front of the revolutionary agenda. As Rousseau replaced
Montesquieu, his conception of the meaning of liberty replaced that of L'Esprit
Modern World History
Page 6
des lois. Where Montesquieu had understood freedom as being unconstrained
and unimpeded in doing what one chooses to do so long as it is lawful,
Rousseau defined freedom as ruling oneself, living only under a law which one
has oneself enacted. On Rousseau's philosophy of freedom, there was no
question of the people dividing and diminishing sovereignty, because the
people were to keep sovereignty in their own hands. In Rousseau's conception
of a constitution, the nation became sovereign over itself.
The second phase of the French Revolution can be dated as it is in the
revolutionary calendar from September 1792, or Vendemiaire of Year One, to
Napoleon's coup d'etat in November 1799, or 19 Brumaire of Year Eight. This
is the republican phase, for which Rousseau not only furnished the
terminology of revolutionary discourse, but was generally acknowledged to
have done so. Unlike Montesquieu, whose name had been cited with the same
passionless respect as that of Aristotle or Locke, Rousseau was idolized and
venerated. His body was disinterred from its grave in Ermononville, taken in a
solemn procession to Paris and placed in the Pantheon.
It is said that not many people had actually read the book called The Social
Contract where Rousseau expounded his republican theories, but Rousseau
had made his ideas well known in more popular writings and his personality
became familiar through his Confessions.
He had contrived to make himself known as the man of the people, one who
had not only proclaimed his love of virtue and freedom, but had demonstrated
that love in an exemplary life and a constant struggle against oppression. He
was the plebeian among philosophers, Jean-Jacques the martyr and champion
of the poor; but he also provided arguments which served the purposes of the
Terror. For while he said a people could only be free if it ruled itself, Rousseau
also said that a man could be forced to be free; he suggested the cult of a civil
religion being established in place of Christianity; he authorized the head of
the republic to overrule the dictates of private consciences together with the
use of state powers to suppress immorality as well as crime.
It would be unfair to Rousseau to say that Robespierre put the theory of The
Social Contract into practice, but he used Rousseau's language, and exploited
– while distorting – several of Rousseau's ideas in the course of his reign of
terror. At all events, the discrediting of Robespierre did not result in the
discrediting of Rousseauism. Whereas the departure of Cromwell from the
scene had left the English with a lasting hatred of republican government, the
execution of Robespierre did not mean that the French had ceased to be
republicans. The idea that the nation might be sovereign over itself has never
ceased to command a widespread and profound assent in France; and no
French king was ever to be secure on his throne after that belief took root in
the French national consciousness.
When the First French Republic was brought to an end by Napoleon, his
coup d'etat did not mark the end of the French Revolution, but only its
passage to the third, or imperial, phase. Again he had to look no further for his
ideas than to those provided by the French Enlightenment. This time it was
the turn of Voltaire, and his doctrine of enlightened absolutism. This theory,
like that of Rousseau, kept the sovereignty of' the state undivided, but in
Modern World History
Page 7
Voltaire's case it was not transmitted to the people but kept, without question,
in the hands of the monarch.
Voltaire proclaimed himself to be, like Montesquieu, a disciple of the English
philosophers, and having visited England at much the same time, he described
the English kingdom, in much the same terms, as the homeland of liberty.
Again, like Montesquieu, Voltaire named Locke as the prince of English
philosophers, and there can be no doubt that he owed much to Locke's
inspiration. Voltaire's own Traite sur la tolerance, for example, adds little to
the arguments of Locke's Letter for Toleration. But Voltaire did not join
Montesquieu in subscribing to the theory of divided sovereignty and
constitutional government as set forth in Locke's Two Treatises of Government.
Voltaire was far more attracted to the political ideas of another Englishman,
Francis Bacon, the philosopher of progress. Although Bacon had died in 1626,
Voltaire considered him the most up- to-date of thinkers: one whose message
had a kind of actuality and relevance for eighteenth-century France that
exceeded even that of Locke, whose message was mainly a message to the
English, who already had experience of parliamentary government which the
French had not.
Voltaire admired Bacon first as a man of science. It was not that Bacon had
made any scientific discoveries of his own; he simply proclaimed the doctrine
that science can save us. What was distinctive about his approach was his
stress on utility. Science, he suggested, was not just an intellectual exercise to
give us knowledge, but a practical enterprise to give us mastery over our world.
Once men knew how nature worked, they could exploit nature to their
advantage, overcome scarcity by scientific innovations in agriculture, overcome
disease by scientific research in medicine, and generally improve the life of
man by all sorts of developments in technology and industry.
Voltaire thrilled to this vision of progress, and he was no less excited by the
programme Bacon sketched out as a means of achieving it. First, the abolition
of traditional metaphysics and of idle theological disputes on which
scholarship was wasted. Second the repudiation of old-fashioned legal and
political impediments to the efficient organization of a progressive state. Bacon
was frankly in favour of an enlarged royal prerogative at the expense of the
rights of the Church, Parliament and the courts. Voltaire approved. Bacon had,
in his time, the scheme of fostering the desire of James I to become an
absolute monarch so that he himself might enact the role of philosopher at the
elbow of a mighty king; Bacon failed, but Voltaire was more than sympathetic
to his effort.
Besides, the Baconian plan seemed to him to have a better chance of
success in France, because France had had, in Voltaire's opinion, an
altogether happy experience of absolute monarchy under the Bourbon kings of
the seventeenth century. One can readily understand Voltaire's admiration for
Henri IV; it is less easy to understand his veneration for Louis XIV, the
persecutor of Protestants, the oppressor of dissent and the protector of the
pious. It has been suggested that Louis XIV appealed to the aesthetic side of
Voltaire's imagination, which saw the king as an artist imposing unity on the
chaos of society. In any case, Voltaire saw no necessary threat to freedom in
the centralization of royal government. On the contrary, he considered that in
Modern World History
Page 8
French experience the great enemies of liberty were the Church and the
institutions controlled by the nobility, including the parliaments. By
suppressing or emasculating such institutions, a strong central government
could enlarge the citizen's liberty; it had done so in the past in France and
could do so in the future. He would not accept Montesquieu's doctrine of
power checking power to produce freedom through equilibrium. For Voltaire,
one single power that can be trusted is needed not to counter-balance, but
rather to subdue those other powers which menace freedom.
The idea of 'philosopher-king', of course, dates back at least as far as Plato.
In the eighteenth century, several European monarchs were persuaded by
Enlightenment philosophy to try to enact the role, among them, the Empress
Catherine of Russia, the Emperor Joseph of Austria, as well as several lesser
princes. Frederick of Prussia was the one who approached Voltaire in person,
and invited him to join his Court at Potsdam. It was a doomed enterprise.
Voltaire found himself unable to control the mind of a king who considered
himself a philosopher already, and who wanted no advice, but only praise.
The French kings took no interest whatever in Voltaire's ideas: but Napoleon
did. And once Napoleon had seized power, he made the Baconian, or
Voltairean, project his own. Napoleon could fairly claim to be something other
than a military dictator. He introduced what he thought of as scientific
government. He gave his patronage to those intellectuals who saw themselves
as the heirs of the Enlightenment: to Destutt de Tracy, Volney, Cabanis and
Daunou, exponents of what they called the 'science of ideas.' He furthered the
creation of such essentially Baconian institutions as the Polytechnique, the
lycees, and the several ecoles normales. He made education a central feature of
imperial policy, and he made that education state education.
Assuredly, Napoleon modified the Voltairean theory of enlightened
absolutism in directions that Voltaire would not have approved. Napoleon
introduced something approaching a democratic element by making his
despotism plebiscitary, something which the earlier phases of the French
Revolution had made almost inevitable. Voltaire had never cared much for
democracy, because he considered the majority of people to be hopelessly
unenlightened, but once the people had been brought into the French political
arena, Napoleon saw that there was no way of pushing them out. They had
only to be persuaded to let themselves be led, and Napoleon, of course, proved
something of a genius in doing this. Voltaire, had he lived, might have admired
him for this, but he would not have admired, or approved either of Napoleon's
re-establishment of the Catholic Church or his military adventures. It was
Frederick's wars which did most to alienate Voltaire; and Napoleon's wars
would have, pleased him no more; especially as' Napoleon's conquests seemed
to diminish rather than increase his attachment to the ideals of science and of
Nevertheless, one cannot deny that the fifteen years of Napoleon's consulate
and empire, while rejecting the institutions of the republic, did much to
consolidate and perpetuate the institutions which the earlier phases of the
Revolution had introduced into France, and which the ideas of the
Enlightenment had inspired. Napoleon was not a counter-revolutionary in any
sense. Even his restoration of the Church was the introduction of a cult over
Modern World History
Page 9
which he kept control rather than to which he submitted. The only French
royal and noble titles that he recognized were those of his own creation. He
kept the republican character of his empire, much as the Romans had done in
the ancient world.
Indeed the very fact that the Romans had transformed their re- public into an
empire made it all the easier for Napoleon to do so in France. Once the French
revolutionists had rid themselves of their king, they began increasingly to
think of themselves as the Romans of the modern world. Their art and
architecture, the military organization of their new army, even the names of
civil ranks such as 'consul' and 'senator' were conscious copies of the Roman
model. In doing this they did not depart very far from the more modern and
democratic ideas of Rousseau; for although Rousseau preferred Sparta to
Rome, and believed that freedom could only be realized in a small city state,
he, too, was all in favour of reviving Roman ideals in place of Christian ideals,
and looked forward to the emergence of a new man in the shape of the citizensoldier of antiquity reborn.
Rousseau even made the singular prediction that the island of Corsica
would one day produce a leader who would astonish the world. That leader
owed much of his success, while that success lasted, to adopting the policies of
Voltairean enlightened despotism while dressing them all up in republican
language and trappings that were inspired by Rousseau; it was not a genuine
synthesis, because it took the substance from one and the appearances from
the other, but at least it enabled Napoleon to achieve all the popularity he
needed in France, so that his regime could only be overthrown by a coalition of
foreign governments and armies.
Towards the end of the 18th century, Europe was shaken by an uprising
staged by the French people against autocracy and aristocracy. The French
Revolution began with the fall of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 and continued
till Napoleon Bonaparte rose to power. This event is regarded as a landmark by
most historians as tremendous changes took place in France and these
changes had a significant effect on the other countries in Europe. The English
revolutions of 1672 and 1688 were political and religious, while the American
Revolution of 1776 was mainly political. However the French Revolution of
1789 was political, social, religious and economic for it swept away the existing
political institutions and aimed at establishing a more egalitarian society, and
responsible government than what was in existence earlier.
Causes of the French Revolution:
Political Causes.
The French rulers were not interested in the welfare of the people. This
naturally created discontent among the people. France attained the height of
glory under Louis XIV who ruled for twelve years. However, his highly
expensive wars and lavish style of living weakened France, economically as
well as politically. He gave good advice to his successor Louis XV saying "Do
not imitate my fondness for building and for war, but work to lessen the
misery of my people."
Modern World History
Louis XV considered state business to be a bore and engaged himself in
pursuing worldly pleasures. His constant source of enjoyment was Madame de
Pompadour and Madame du Barry. He appointed and dismissed ministers and
even declared wars only to please these women. When his ministers attempted
to discuss affairs of the state with him, he merely remarked, "After me, the
deluge." He was indifferent to the fact that the treasury was empty after the
wars. He adopted a policy of repression by strict press censorship, arbitrary
imprisonment of those seeking reform, banning and burning literature
criticizing the government, thus endangering personal liberty in France.
Though his successor Louis XVI was intelligent and meant to do well, he
lacked the will power to carry out any reforms. Further, he was badly
influenced by flattering courtiers and his ill - advised Queen Marie Antoinette
who lacked consideration for the people. When she was told that the people
had no bread, she remarked casually, "Let them eat cake".
Social Causes.
There were several invidious distinctions and unjust privileges in the French
society that led to the Revolution. French society was divided into three social
classes or Estates.
(A) The First Estate was made up of the higher clergy, such as the
archbishops, bishops, and the abbots on the one hand and the lower
clergymen on the other. The bishops and archbishops led a very luxurious life
in their palaces. However the priests had to suffer along with the peasants. So
they were antagonistic to each other. Like the nobles, the higher clergy was
exempted from paying most of the taxes.
(B) The Second Estate was composed of about 80,000 families in France, who
belonged to the nobility. The nobles owned the most of the land, held
important positions in the French administration and in the army, and were
largely free from the payment of taxes. They lived a life of lordly ease and
luxury and enjoyed great privileges.
(C) The Third Estate comprised of the bulk of the French population. They were
the peasants and farmers, craftsmen, businessmen, professional people,
workers, laborers and the common men. Their life was full of misery and social
degradation. In spite of their education and wealth, the French middle class
that is the bourgeoisie, were despised by the first two Estates, and were deeply
offended by the social discrimination leveled at them. The peasants were over
burdened with taxes, which reduced them to penury. They were humiliated by
the nobles who destroyed their fields while hunting. This explains why the
Third Estate led the Revolution.
Economic Causes.
The French system of taxation was unjust owing to inequality. The
clergymen and noblemen owned about three-fifths of the entire land. However
they paid less than one-fifth of the total direct taxes in the country. On the
other hand, a member of the Third Estate paid 152 francs as income tax,
whereas he should have paid only 14 francs, if the distribution were equal.
Further the nobles and clergy were totally exempted from direct taxes levied on
personal property and land.
The empty national purse was the spark that set the French Revolution
aflame. While the French peasants were starving and dying, the nobles were
Modern World History
enjoying themselves. The French government mishandled the national
economy. It had no regular budget. It wasted money without proper planning.
The national debt kept on increasing. Necker, the Controller of Finance in
1776, was succeeded by Claonne who borrowed 300 million dollars in 3 years.
The result of his "philosophy of borrowing" was that the royal treasury became
completely empty by the August of 1786.
Intellectual Awakening.
One of the most important factors leading to the Revolution was the
influence of the philosophy of the age. The three great intellectual giants of the
age were Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau, who revolutionized the thinking
of the members of the Third Estate with their new ideas and revolutionary
(a) Charles Montesquieu (1689 - 1775), a lawyer and student of constitutional
government summed up his ideas in his book L’ Esprit Des Lois (The Spirit of
the Laws). Here he puts forward the theory of the separation of powers.
According to this theory, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary should
be separate and independent of each other. If not, there would be dictatorship
and tyranny. Through his writings, Montesquieu exposed grand monarchy in
France, in its true colors and deeply influenced the minds of the people.
(b) Francis Aronet Voltaire (1694 - 1778) was an internationally famous writer and
critic, much sought after by Louis XV of France, Frederick the Great of Prussia
and Catherine the Great of Russia. Through his poems, biographies, histories,
essays and dramas he attacked traditions and beliefs as well as existing
institutions like the church and the state. Macaulay rightly comments about
Voltaire who launched the French people on a fresh course of political
thought, "Of all the intellectual weapons ever wielded by man the mockery of
Voltaire was the most terrible."
c) The spirit behind the French Revolution was Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778),
one of the greatest philosophers of the age. His famous work Social Contract
influenced the people greatly. He stated that originally there was a contract
between the king and the people, to the effect that the king would promote and
protect the interests and welfare of the people and in return, the people would
offer sovereignty and loyalty to the king. This contract had been broken by the
French king. Hence the people had to revolt and overthrow the autocratic
government. They had to break free of the feudal bonds. The ’Social contract’
lit the outrage of revolution.
(d) There were other intellectuals such as the Encyclopaedists who condemned
slavery, inequality in taxation, unjust things, the incompetence of government
and the wasteful wars. Diderot was the editor of the ’Encyclopedia’ which
prepared the people for the Revolution intellectually.
(e) Thomas Paine an English writer penned The Rights of Man and escaped
from England to France to avoid imprisonment.
Religious Causes
Religious intolerance persisted in France. For example, the Edict of Nantes
had been revoked by Louis XIV and the Huguenots were persecuted. Thus the
misery of the people increased, owing to religious persecution.
Influence of the English and the American Revolutions
The Bloodless or Glorious Revolution had a deep influence on the French
philosophers. It inspired them to active political and economic reforms. The
Modern World History
American Revolution had a greater influence on them. They felt that if the
Americans could revolt and overthrow the government of England, they should
also revolt and overthrow the corrupt and autocratic government of Louis XVI.
The French had been led by Lafayette in the American Revolution and were so
highly influenced by it that Arthur Young remarked, "The American Revolution
has laid the foundation for another in France, if the government does not take
care of itself."
Course of the Revolution
The Estates General, an assembly of the three estates was summoned by
the king on May 5, 1789 at Versailles, to save France from bankruptcy. It was
called after an interval of 150 years. In the past, each Estate sat separately.
However this time the Third Estate demanded that all the three Estates should
sit together as a "National Assembly", but the first two estates rejected this
The Third Estate found the entrance of their meeting place blocked by the
royal army on June 20, 1789 as a royal session was to be held there. Hence
they rushed to a nearby place that was originally a tennis court and took the
famous ‘Tennis Court Oath’ "Never to separate and to reassemble wherever
circumstances shall require, until the constitution of the kingdom shall be
The Royal Session on June 23, 1789 was attended by all the three estates.
The king passed an order that the three estates should sit separately and vote
by order. However Count Mirabeau sent a message to the king that "We are
here by the will of the people and that we shall not leave except at the point of
the bayonet."Finally, the king was forced to yield and on June 27, 1789
permitted the clergy and the nobility to sit with the Third Estate as a "National
Assembly" and to vote "by head".
When the National Assembly began its work, the royal soldiers moved
towards Paris and Versailles, causing the hunger stricken people of Paris to
revolt against authority. During the revolt that lasted three days, shops were
looted; the houses of the nobles and the clergy were burnt along with the
feudal title deeds. July 14, 1789 saw the fall of the Bastille, a royal fortress
and symbol of Bourbon autocracy. C. D. Hazen aptly sums up, "The seizure of
the Bastille was everywhere regarded in France and abroad as the triumph of
An army of women marched from Paris to Versailles shouting "Bread! Bread!
Bread!" This happened on October 5, 1789. The royal palace was invaded by
the mob, which killed several soldiers and servants of the palace. The king was
forced to move to Versailles with his family. After ten days, the National
Assembly shifted from Versailles to Paris.
The work done by the National Assembly was significant.
(i) Feudalism and serfdom was abolished in August 1789 by the National
Assembly, which wiped out feudal obligations, dues, privileges, and titles.
(ii) The church was nationalized by the National Assembly. The church
property was confiscated and the number of clergy was reduced, so as to solve
Modern World History
the problem of raising money. The clergy were declared to be government
officers, whom the government paid and whom the people elected. A civil
constitution was drawn up for the clergy, in order to reorganize the church of
(iii) The ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen’ was chalked out.
It became the preamble to the constitution of 1791 and is as important a
document as the English Magna Karta (1215) and the American Bill of Rights
(1776). It contained 17 Articles and included the following fundamental rights:
A. "Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. These (rights) are
liberty, security and resistance to oppression."
C. "Law is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to
participate personally or through his representative, in its formation. It
must be the same for all."
D. "No person shall be accused, arrested or imprisoned except in the cases
and according to the forms prescribed by law."
E. "Private Property is an inviolable and sacred right."
F. "Sovereignty resides in the nation."
G. "All officials of the state are responsible."
Dr. J.E. Swain states that "The entire world acclaimed it as a victory for
democracy."(For details see the following title ‘Declaration of the Rights of man
and of the citizen’)
iv) The church property was confiscated to save the state from financial ruin,
and a paper currency known as assignats, was issued on the backing of its
The Constitution of 1791 was drawn up by the National Assembly, which
assumed the title of the Constituent Assembly. The Constitution of 1791 was
the first written constitution of France. It established a constitutional or
limited monarchy and was based on the principle of separation of powers. A
unicameral legislature was set up, called the Legislative Assembly and it
consisted of 745 members, indirectly elected for two years by all "active
The Constitution of 1791 provided for a hereditary king with the power to
appoint ministers, but not to form the Legislative Assembly. The Ministers
could not sit in the Legislature. The king had a "suspense veto" to suspend an
act of the Legislative Assembly for six years, but he could not dismiss the
Assembly. The judges were to be elected. There was to be a jury for criminal
cases and a Supreme Court to be set up in Paris. Other courts were also set
(v) France was divided into 83 departments for administrative convenience and
efficiency. These were further subdivided into districts, cantons and
communes. Elected officials would replace the royal officers in administrative
work. Louis XVI decided to flee to Germany owing to his loss of power. However
he was caught and brought back to Paris where he took an oath to support the
Constitution. The National Assembly was dissolved on September 20, 1791
and election to the Legislative Assembly was held.
Modern World History
The Legislative Assembly, consisting of 745 members, met on October 1,
1791, and represented three political parties. The Constitutionalists were in
favor of a constitutional form of government. The Girondists were moderates
who wanted a republican form of government. The Jacobins were republicans
of the extreme type. The king vetoed certain laws passed by the Legislative
Assembly which suspended the king on August 10, 1792, and also the
Constitution of 1791.
King Leopold II of Austria and the King of Prussia decided to invade France,
in order to restore the Bourbon monarchy. France declared war on Austria and
Prussia on April 20, 1792, and inflicted a crushing defeat on its enemies on
September 20, 1792. On receiving the news of the French victory, the National
Convention was called on September 21, 1792, to prepare a new constitution.
It proclaimed the First French Republic on September 22, 1792.
King Louis XVI was found guilty of high treason by the National Convention
and was guillotined on January 21; 1793.After the execution of King Louis
XVI, the first coalition consisting of England, Holland, Spain, Sardinia, Austria
and Prussia was formed against the First French Republic. However, it was
completely smashed by the French armies under their military leader Carnot.
The National Convention entrusted all executive authority to the "Committee
of Public Safety", consisting of 12 members led by Robespierre. It let loose a
‘reign of terror’ in France, from 1793 to 1794. During this period royalists and
others as Marie Antoinette, Danton, St. Just and Madame Rolland were
guillotined. About 2,500 people were guillotined in Paris and about 10,000
people, in other parts of France. In the words of Madame Rolland, "O liberty,
what crimes are committed in the name!" The ’reign of terror’ came to an end
with the revolt of the Parisian mob against Robespierre who was guillotined on
March 13, 1794.
After the ‘reign of terror,’ a committee of nine members was appointed by
the National Convention to draft a new constitution. After ruling France from
1792 to 1795, the Convention was dissolved and the new constitution came to
be called the Constitution of the Year Third (1795). It provided for a bicameral
legislature, entrusted with legislative work. The executive authority was vested
in the hands of a Directory of five, chosen by the legislature. The Directory
appointed Napoleon Bonaparte, to deal with the invading armies. When the
domestic affairs of France deteriorated and the government was almost
paralyzed, the legislature was dissolved by a coup d’etat and Napoleon
Bonaparte became the supreme master of France.
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, 1789
(Approved by the National Assembly of France, August 26, 1789)
The Representatives of the French people, organized in National Assembly,
considering that ignorance, forgetfulness, or contempt of the rights of man are
the sole causes of public miseries and the corruption of governments, have
resolved to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, inalienable, and
sacred rights of man, so that this declaration, being ever present to all the
members of the social body, may unceasingly remind them of their rights and
duties; in order that the acts of the legislative power, and those of the
executive power, may at each moment be compared with the aim and of every
political institution and thereby may be more respected; and in order that the
Modern World History
demands of the citizens, grounded henceforth upon simple and incontestable
principles, may always take the direction of maintaining the constitution and
welfare of all. In consequence, the National Assembly recognizes and declares,
in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following
rights of man and citizen:
1. Men are born free and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions
can be based only on public utility.
2. The aim of every political association is the preservation of the natural and
imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and
resistance to oppression.
3. The sources of all sovereignty reside essentially in the nation; no body, no
individual can exercise authority that does not proceed from it in plain terms.
4. Liberty consists in the power to do anything that does not injure others;
accordingly, the exercise of the rights of each man has no limits except those
that secure the enjoyment of these same rights to the other members of
society. These limits can be determined only by law.
5. The law has only the rights to forbid such actions as are injurious to society.
Nothing can be forbidden that is not interdicted by the law, and no one can be
constrained to do that which it does not order.
6. Law is the expression of the general will. All citizens have the right to take
part personally, or by their representatives, and its formation. It must be the
same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its
eyes, are equally eligible to all public dignities, places, and employments,
according to their capacities, and without other distinction than that of their
virtues and talents.
7. No man can be accused, arrested, or detained, except in the cases
determined by the law and according to the forms it has prescribed. Those who
procure, expedite, execute, or cause arbitrary orders to be executed, ought to
be punished: but every citizen summoned was seized in virtue of the law ought
to render instant obedience; he makes himself guilty by resistance.
8. The law ought only to establish penalties that are strict and obviously
necessary, and no one can be punished except in virtue of a law established
and promulgated prior to the offense and legally applied.
9. Every man being presumed innocent until he has been pronounced guilty, if
it is thought indispensable to arrest him, all severity that may not be
necessary to secure his person ought to be strictly suppressed by law.
10. No one should be disturbed on account of his opinions, even religious,
provided their manifestation does not upset the public order established by
11. The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious
of the rights of man; every citizen can then freely speak, write, and print,
subject to responsibility for the abuse of this freedom in the cases is
determined by law.
12. The guarantee of the rights of man and citizen requires a public force; this
force then is instituted for the advantage of all and not for the personal benefit
of those to whom it is entrusted.
13. A general tax is indispensable for the maintenance of the public force and
for the expenses of administration; it ought to be equally apportioned among
Modern World History
all citizens according to their means.
14. All the citizens have a right to ascertain, by themselves or by their
representatives, the necessity of the public tax, to consent to it freely, to follow
the employment of it, and to determine the quota, the assessment, the
collection, and the duration of it.
15. Society has the right to call for an account of his administration by every
public agent.
16. Any society in which the guarantee of the rights is not secured, or the
separation of powers not determined, has no constitution at all.
17. Property being a sacred to and inviolable right, no one can be deprived of
it, unless legally established public necessity evidently demands it, under the
condition of a just and prior indemnity.
Consequences of the Revolution
1. A major result of the Revolution was the destruction of feudalism in
France. All the laws of the old feudal regime were annulled. Church lands
and lands held in common by the community were bought by the middle
classes. The lands of nobles were confiscated. Privileged classes were
2. After Napoleon seized power. The Napoleonic Code was introduced. Many
elements of this Code remained in force for a long time; some of them exist
even to this day.
3. Another lasting result of the Revolution in France was the building up of a
new economic system in place of the feudal system which had been
overthrown. This system was capitalism. Even the restored monarchy
could not bring back the feudal system or destroy the new economic
institutions that had come into being.
4. The French Revolution gave the term ‘nation’ its modern meaning. A
nation is not the territory that the people belonging to it inhabit but the
people themselves. France was not merely the territories known as France
but the ‘French people’.
5. From this followed the idea of sovereignty, that a nation recognizes no law
or authority above its own. And if a nation is sovereign, that means the
people constituting the nation are the source of all power and authority.
There cannot be any rulers above the people, only a republic in which the
government derives its authority from the people and is answerable to the
people. It is interesting to remember that when Napoleon became emperor
he called himself the ‘Emperor of the French Republic’. Such was the
strength of the idea of people’s sovereignty.
6. It was this idea of the people being the sovereign that gave France
her military strength. The entire nation was united behind the army
which consisted of revolutionary citizens. In a war in which almost all of
Europe was ranged against France, she would have had no chance with
just a mercenary army.
7. Under the Jacobin constitution, all people were given the right to
vote and the right of insurrection. The constitution stated that the
government must provide the people with work or livelihood. The happiness
of all was proclaimed as the aim of government. Though it was never really
put into effect, it was the first genuinely democratic constitution in history.
8. The government abolished slavery in the French colonies.
Modern World History
9. Napoleon’s rise to power was a step backward. However, though he
destroyed the Republic and established an empire, the idea of the republic
could not be destroyed.
10. The Revolution had come about with the support and blood of common
people— the city poor and the peasants. In 1792, for the first time in
history, workers, peasants and other non-propertied classes were
given equal political rights.
11. Although the right to vote and elect representatives did not solve the
problems of the common people. The peasants got their lands. But to the
workers and artisans— the people who were the backbone of the
revolutionary movement—the Revolution did not bring real equality. To
them, real equality could come only with economic equality.
12. France soon became one of the first countries where the ideas of social
equality, of socialism, gave rise to a new kind of political movement.
Impact of French Revolution on the World
 The French Revolution had been a world-shaking event. For years to come
its direct influence was felt in many parts of the world. It inspired
revolutionary movements in almost every country of Europe and in South
and Central America.
 For a long time the French Revolution became the classic example of a
revolution which people of many nations tried to emulate.
 The impact of the French Revolution can be summed up, in the words of T.
Kolokotrones, one of the revolutionary fighters in the Greek war of
independence: “According to my judgment, the French Revolution and the
doings of Napoleon opened the eyes of the world. The nations knew nothing
before, and the people thought that kings were gods upon the earth and that
they were bound to say that whatever they did was well done. Through this
present change it is more difficult to rule the people.”
 Even though the old ruling dynasty of France had been restored to power in
1815, and the autocratic governments of Europe found themselves safe for
the time being, the rulers found it increasingly difficult to rule the people.
 Some of the changes that took place in many parts of Europe and the
Americas in the early 19th century were the immediate, direct
consequences of the Revolution and the Napoleonic wars.
 The wars in which France was engaged with other European powers had
resulted in the French occupation of vast areas of Europe for some time.
 The French soldiers, wherever they went, carried with them ideas of liberty
and equality shaking the old feudal order. They destroyed serfdom in areas
which came under their occupation and modernized the systems of
 Under Napoleon, the French had become conquerors instead of liberators.
The countries which organized popular resistance against the French
occupation carried out reforms in their social and political system. The
leading powers of Europe did not succeed in restoring the old order either
in France or in the countries that the Revolution had reached.
 The political and social systems of the 18th century had received a heavy
blow. They were soon to die in most of Europe under the impact of the
revolutionary movements that sprang up everywhere in Europe.
Revolutions in Central and South America
Modern World History
The impact of the Revolution was felt on the far away American continent.
Revolutionary France had abolished slavery in her colonies. The former
French colony of Haiti became a republic. This was the first republic
established by the black people, formerly slaves, in the Americas.
 Inspired by this example, revolutionary movements arose in the Americas
to overthrow foreign rule, to abolish slavery and to establish independent
 The chief European imperialist powers in Central and South America were
Spain and Portugal. Spain had been occupied by France and Portugal was
involved in a conflict with France.
 During the early 19th century, these two imperialist countries were cut off
from their colonies, with the result that most of the Portuguese and
Spanish colonies in Central and South America became independent.
 The movements for independence in these countries had earlier been
inspired by the successful War of American Independence. The French
Revolution ensured their success.
 By the third decade of the 19th century, almost entire Central and South
America had been liberated from the Spanish and the Portuguese rule
and a number of independent republics were established. In these
republics slavery was abolished.
 It, however, persisted in the United States for a few more decades where it
was finally abolished following the Civil War about which you have read
before in this chapter. Simon Bolivar, Bernardo O’Higgins and San
Martin was the great leaders in South America at this time.
Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821)
“France has more need of me than I have need of France. “– Napoleon
Napoleon Bonaparte later known as Emperor Napoleon I was a French
military and political leader who is considered one of the most influential
figures in European history.
Napoleon was born on the island of Corsica in 1769. His family had received
French nobility status when France made Corsica a province in that year, and
Napoleon was sent to France in 1777 to study at the Royal Military School in
Brienne. In 1784, Napoleon spent a year studying at the Ecole Militaire in
Paris, graduating as a Second Lieutenant of artillery. Sent to Valence on a
peacetime mission, Napoleon whiled away the hours there educating himself in
history and geography.
During the tumultuous years of the French Revolution, Napoleon fought
well for the Republic, helping to defeat the British at Toulon. For his services
there, he was made a Brigadier General. After the Directory came to power,
Napoleon married Josephine de Beauharnais and gained command of the
French army in Italy, where, after defeating the Austrians in 1797, he
negotiated the Treaty of Campo Formio. This victory boosted Napoleon to
widespread popularity when he returned to France. Eager to get rid of this
potential challenger, the Directory agreed to let Napoleon take an army on an
Egyptian campaign to capture Egypt and hamper British shipping to India.
Napoleon's campaign in Egypt did not go as planned, and when he heard that
the Directory was losing power, he abandoned his army and rapidly returned
to Paris to take advantage of the situation, becoming the first of three consuls
in the new government proclaimed in 1799.
Modern World History
As First Consul, Napoleon began a program to consolidate his power. He
ended the current rift between France and the Church by instituting the
Concordat of 1801. France was then involved in several wars. In 1802,
Napoleon signed the Peace of Amiens, a temporary peace with the British. In
order to be able to concentrate solely on his European affairs, he sold France's
Louisiana territory to the U.S. in 1803. And in 1804, he set the foundation for
much of Europe's legal system by establishing the Napoleonic Code. In 1804,
Napoleon did away with the Consulate and crowned himself Emperor in an
extravagant coronation ceremony.
In 1805, Napoleon was planning an invasion of England when the Russian
and Austrian armies began marching towards France. Napoleon's forces
defeated them at Austerlitz, but not before the British fleet had destroyed
Napoleon's navy at Trafalgar. At this time, Napoleon expanded his Empire by
creating the Confederation of the Rhine in Germany and the Grand Duchy of
Warsaw in Poland. By now, Napoleon controlled almost all of Western Europe
with the exception of Spain. He decided to try and destroy the economy of his
major enemy, Britain, by instituting the Continental System, under which all
European ports would refuse to accept British shipments. He failed in this
task, and in trying to force Spain to comply touched off the Peninsular War.
Russia and Prussia, however, did cooperate with Napoleon for a few years
under the Treaty of Tilsit (1807).
In 1810, Josephine, although the mother of two children by her previous
husband, had not yet provided Napoleon with any heirs; distressed by this, he
had his marriage to her annulled and married the 18-year-old Austrian
archduchess Marie Louise. She gave birth to a son in 1811. Around this time,
Czar Alexander I withdrew Russia from the Continental System. In 1812,
Napoleon's Grand Army entered Russia in order to punish Alexander, but the
ravages of the deadly Russian winter decimated his army. Meanwhile, affairs in
France began to look unstable. Napoleon rushed back to Paris and raised a
new army, only to be defeated by a coalition of European forces at Leipzig in
Napoleon was then exiled to the isle of Elba, where he plotted his return.
With the great powers of Europe deep in negotiations over how to re divide the
continent, Napoleon escaped from Elba, sneaked into France, and raised a new
army in the period known as the Hundred Days. In June 1815, the armies of
Wellington and Blucher defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Napoleon was again
exiled, this time to distant Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died in
Napoleon used to name himself ‘the child of Revolution’ and he was a
supporter of the principles of Revolution, viz., liberty, equality and fraternity,
but he laid greater stress on equality than liberty.
Napoleon used to say that the people of France demanded equality, for
many people had been massacred in France due to liberty. Hence after
becoming the first consul, he worked in such a way that all the powers were
concentrated at one point.
He also tried to establish the ancient regime in France.- With this aim in
view he handed over all the powers of administration of the departments to the
Prefects of Arrondisement, to the sub-Prefects and of the Communes to the
Modern World History
Mayors but he himself had the power of appointing all these officials.
Thus he captured the real powers of the provincial government by placing
all these officials under the central government.
In fact, he reestablished the ancient regime of Louis XIII's time, and with all
the rights of Judiciary and Executive vested in him, he used to live in the
palace of Tuileries like the absolute Bourbon kings.
Napoleon took away the liberty of the people but provided then equality. He
completely abolished the distinction between the lower class and the upper
class. Anybody could get the highest post in the government on the basis of
Napoleon used to appoint his servants from all sections like Cromwell. He
got the cooperation of Jacobins Girondists both and pardoned the emigres.
Consequently forty thousand families came back to France.
Beautification and Art
Napoleon was a great lover of art and he encouraged it a lot. H wanted to
beautify the city of Paris and for this purpose he had se several artistic objects
to Paris from Italy. Napoleon asked the crafts of France to make beautiful
articles, and thus hundreds of unemployed craftsmen could get work. He also
encouraged literature. Once remarked in this context:
"People complain that we have no literature that is the fault of Minister of the
Seeing the need of the country, Napoleon carried out m constructive works.
He built many wide roads in Paris and shady trees were planted on both sides
of these roads. The Royal palace of Versailleslooked much more beautiful than
ever during the regime of Napoleon.
The royal palaces of St. Cloud, Fontainbleau and Rambouillet were
renovated and their grandeur and splendour was enhanced. Thus he made
every effort for the beautification of Paris.
The Legion of Honour
Napoleon established the Legion of Honour in order to inject feeling of
honour among the French people. The people were ad to it on the basis of their
merit and not on that of hereditariness.
Those who influenced Napoleon by their ability, courage or by any other
work of outstanding quality were given the title of Legion of Honour.
He also developed a new kind of nobility by awarding pieces of land to his
well wishers. In fact, both these were against the principles of Revolution
because it gave birth to new classes.
But Napoleon thought that the instituting of the Legion of Honour was
necessary to encourage his supporters.
Economic Reforms
The economic condition of France had deteriorated rapidly during the
course of Revolution. The taxes were not realised properly. The trade and
commerce and agriculture were badly affected.
The assignats were being devalued rapidly. The government of France was
almost on the verge of bankruptcy. Napoleon paid his earnest attention to
reforming the ailing economy. First of all, he cut down the state expenditure
and the responsibility for collecting taxes was made over to the central government.
Modern World History
It proved to be beneficial for the government as well as for the tax-payers. To
increase the credit of France he established a Bank of France. Hayes writes
about it, "It is one of the soundest financial institutions in the world."
He abolished the guild system and prohibited the merchants from making
fresh guilds, because according to Napoleon Bonaparte these guilds were the
centers of corruption and indiscipline.
In order to settle the disputes between the merchants and the labourers, an
Industrial Committee was formed by Napoleon, but the merchants had their
majority in this committee.
Napoleon never endeavoured to bring about economic equality in France. He
used to say that the principle of equality in every sphere was not practicable.
Educational Reforms
Napoleon carried out several reforms in the field of education but he was of
the opinion that the educational institutions should be under the control of the
state. He used to say:
"There will never be a fixed political state of things in this country until we
have a body of teachers instructed on established principles. So long as the
people are not taught from their earliest years, whether they ought to be
Republicans or Royalists, Christians or infidels, the state cannot properly be
called a nation."
During the consulate period, education was nationalized by Napoleon. The
payment of the salaries of the trained teachers in various schools was made by
the government but the teachers and the students had to swear fidelity
towards the country.
The courses of Paris University and the affiliated colleges were decided by
the government. Some limitations were placed on the study of politics,
philosophy and history.
Napoleon used to think that the study of these subjects raised several
problems in the smooth way of life. The following schools were flourishing in
France during the reign of Consuls:
(i) Primary Schools:
These schools were under public control and the communes looked after
their management through prefects and sub-prefects, but the state had no
control over them.
(ii) Grammar Schools:
The Secondary or the Grammar Schools were under the supervision of the
Central Government; and Latin, Greek and French were taught in these
(iii) High Schools:
They were meant for higher education. They were established in big towns,
and the courses in these schools were decided by the government and
appointments of the teachers were also made the government.
(iv) Vocational Schools:
Vocational schools were established vocational training, and military
schools were also opened to imp military training to the students. A Normal
School was also started the training of the teachers.
(v) Paris University:
All the educational institutions controlled by the University of Paris. It was
essential to pass the Higher Secondary Examination to get admission in the
Modern World History
Religious Reforms (Concordat)
Napoleon used to say that "a state without a religion is like a without a
compass." He explained his religious policy in these words a attaining power:
"The people must have a religion and that religion must be under the control
of the government people say that I am a Papist. I am nothing. I was a
Mohammedan in Egypt; I shall be a Catholic France for the good of the people.
I do not believe in religion the Idea of God."
The National Assembly of France had framed a civil constitution for the
clergy who had created a breach with the Pope but Napoleon wanted to narrow
down these differences due to the following reason
1. The clergy and the vast majority of the French people were dissatisfied. Not
only France but most of the European countries had a great reverence for the
Pope; hence, Napoleon wanted to befriend the Pope.
2. There were a number of Bishops in France who propagating against the
Revolution in the country. They getting honorarium from the British
Government. Napoleon wanted to patronise them for the safety of the country
but could not be done without the active cooperation of the Pope.
After a prolonged discussion he succeeded in arriving at agreement on 15th
July, 1801 which is known as the Concordat in the history of Europe. The
following were the terms of this agreement
(i) The Pope agreed to the decision of the revolutionary period that the property
of the Church which was confiscated during the course of Revolution would
not be given back.
(ii) The educational institutions would be controlled by the state. No official of
the Church was to be allowed to open educational institution without the prior
permission of state.
(iii) No clergyman was to be allowed to leave his parish.
(iv) All the Bishops would be appointed by the Pope from the proposed list of
the state. The lower clergy were to be appointed by the Bishops.
(v) All the officials of the Church would receive their salary and take an oath of
loyalty to the government.
(vi) The clergymen who were imprisoned during the course of Revolution were
to be released; and those who had fled France, were to be permitted to return
to France.
(vii) Catholicism was declared the state religion and the right of public worship
was granted to the Catholic Church.
Thus the Church became a part of the state due to the Concordat, and
Napoleon received the favours of his opponent Church. He did never approve
the atrocities perpetrated by the miscreants in the name of liberty.
Napoleon held the view that the French Revolution was an outcome of social
maladjustment and economic inequality. He, therefore, curtailed liberty and
chose equality.
Napoleonic Code
Napoleon's set of civil laws, the Code Civil—now often known as the
Napoleonic code—was prepared by committees of legal experts under the
supervision of Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, the Second Consul.
Napoleon participated actively in the sessions of the Council of State that
revised the drafts. The development of the code was a fundamental
Modern World History
change in the nature of the civil law legal system with its stress on
clearly written and accessible law. Other codes were commissioned by
Napoleon to codify criminal and commerce law; a Code of Criminal
Instruction was published, which enacted rules of due process.
The Napoleonic code was adopted throughout much of Europe, though only
in the lands he conquered, and remained in force after Napoleon's defeat.
Napoleon said: "My true glory is not to have won 40 battles...Waterloo will
erase the memory of so many victories. ... But...what will live forever is my
Civil Code." The Code still has importance today in a quarter of the world's
jurisdictions including in Europe, the Americas and Africa. Dieter
Langewiesche described the code as a "revolutionary project" which spurred
the development of bourgeois society in Germany by the extension of the right to
own property and acceleration towards the end of feudalism. Napoleon
reorganized what had been the Holy Roman Empire, made up of more than a
thousand entities, into a more streamlined forty-state Confederation of the Rhine;
this provided the basis for the German Confederation and the unification of Germany in
1871. The movement toward national unification in Italy was similarly
precipitated by Napoleonic rule. These changes contributed to the development
of nationalism and the nation state.
Continental System
The Continental System or Continental Blockade (known in French as
Blocus continental) was the foreign policy of Napoleon I of France in his
struggle against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland during the
Napoleonic Wars. It was a large-scale embargo against British trade,
inaugurated on November 21, 1806. This embargo ended on April 11, 1814
after Napoleon's first abdication.
The United Kingdom was an important force in encouraging and financing
alliances against Napoleonic France. Napoleon didn't have the resources to
attempt an invasion of the United Kingdom or to defeat the Royal Navy at sea.
His one attempt to do so ended with defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Napoleon resorted instead to economic warfare. As a result of the Industrial
Revolution, Great Britain was emerging as Europe's manufacturing and
industrial centre, and Napoleon believed it would be easy to take advantage of
embargo on trade with the European nations under his control, causing
inflation and great debt.
The Plan.
In November 1806, having recently conquered or allied with every major
power on the European continent, Napoleon issued the Berlin Decree
forbidding his allies and conquests from trading with the British. The UK
responded with the Orders in Council of 1807 issued 11 November 1807.
These forbade French trade with the UK, its allies or neutrals, and instructed
the Royal Navy to blockade French and allied ports. Napoleon retaliated with
the Milan Decree of 1807, which declared that all neutral shipping using
British ports or paying British tariffs were to be regarded as British and seized.
Napoleon's plan to defeat Britain was to destroy its ability to trade. As an
island nation, trade was the most vital lifeline. Napoleon believed that if he
Modern World History
could isolate Britain economically, he would be able to invade the nation after
the economic collapse. Napoleon decreed that all commerce ships wishing to
do business in Europe must first stop at a French port in order to ensure that
there could be no trade with Britain. He also ordered all European nations and
French allies to stop trading with Britain, and he threatened Russia with an
invasion if they did not comply as well.
Failure of the System.
The main flaw in the Continental Plan was that Britain still had naval
dominance, which meant that Napoleon could only enforce his law on land.
Effect of the System.
Its effect on the UK and on British trade is uncertain, but thought to be
much less harmful than on the continental European states; food imports in
Britain dropped and the price of staple foods rose. The continental European
states needed British goods and Napoleon had put in place internal tariffs, all
favoring France and hurting the other nations. The embargo encouraged
British merchants to seek out new markets aggressively and to engage in
smuggling with continental Europe. Napoleon's exclusively land-based
customs enforcers could not stop British smugglers, especially as these
operated with the connivance of Napoleon's chosen rulers of Spain, Westphalia
and other German states, who faced severe shortages of goods from the French
Britain, by Orders in Council (1807), prohibited its trade partners from
trading with France. The British were able to counter the plan by threatening
to sink any ship that did not come to a British port or chose to comply with
France. This double threat created a difficult time for neutral nations like the
United States of America. In response to this prohibition, compounded by the
Chesapeake Incident, the U.S. Congress passed the Embargo Act of 1807 and
eventually Macon's Bill No. 2. This embargo contributed to the general ill will
between the two countries (Britain and the U.S.), and together with the issue of
the impressments of foreign seamen, eventually led to armed conflict between
the U.S. and the UK in the War of 1812.The embargo also had an effect on
France itself. Ship building and its trades such as rope-making declined, as
did many other industries that relied on overseas markets, e.g. the linen
industries. With few exports and a loss of profits, many industries were closed
Portugal openly refused to join the Continental System. In 1793, after the
French declaration of war against Great Britain, Portugal signed with Great
Britain a treaty of mutual help. After the Treaty of Tilsit of July 1807, Napoleon
attempted to capture the Portuguese Fleet and the House of Braganza, and to
occupy the Portuguese ports. He failed. King John VI of Portugal took his fleet
and transferred the Portuguese Court to Brazil with a Royal Navy escort. The
Portuguese population rose in revolt against the French invaders, the British
Army under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington intervened, and the
Peninsular War began in 1808. Napoleon also forced the Spanish royal family
to resign their throne in favor of Napoleon's brother, Joseph.
Sweden, Britain's ally in the Third Coalition, refused to comply with French
demands and was invaded by Russia in February 1808.Also; Russia chafed
under the embargo, and in 1812 reopened trade with the UK. Russia's
Modern World History
withdrawal from the system was the main incentive for Napoleon to force a
decision to invade, which was the turning point of the war.
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European
states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and
held in Vienna from September 1814 to June 1815. The objective of the
Congress was to provide a long-term peace for Europe by settling critical
issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic. The goal
was not simply to restore old boundaries, but to resize the main powers so
they could balance each other off and remain at peace. The leaders were
conservatives with little use for republicanism or revolution. France lost all its
recent conquests, while Prussia, Austria and Russia made major territorial
gains. Prussia added smaller German states in the west and 40% of
the Kingdom of Saxony; Austria gained Venice and much of northern Italy.
Russia gained parts of Poland. The new kingdom of the Netherlands created
just months before, and included formerly Austrian territory that in 1830
became Belgium.
Historian Paul Schroeder argues that the old formulas for "balance of
power" were in fact highly destabilizing and predatory. He says the Congress of
Vienna avoided them and instead set up rules that produced a stable and
benign equilibrium.[1]The Congress of Vienna was the first of a series of
international meetings that came to be known as the Concert of Europe, which
was an attempt to forge a peaceful balance of power in Europe. It served as a
model for later organizations such as the League of Nations in 1919 and
the United Nations in 1945.
The immediate background was Napoleonic France's defeat and surrender
in May 1814, which brought an end to twenty-five years of nearly continuous
war. Negotiations continued despite the outbreak of fighting triggered
by Napoleon’s dramatic return from exile and resumption of power in France
during the Hundred of March–July 1815. The Congress's "Final Act" was signed
nine days before his final defeat at Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
In a technical sense, the "Congress of Vienna" was not properly a Congress:
it never met in plenary session, and most of the discussions occurred in
informal, face-to-face, sessions among the Great Powers of Austria, Britain,
France, Russia, and sometimes Prussia, with limited or no participation by
other delegates. On the other hand, the Congress was the first occasion in
history where, on a continental scale, national representatives came together
to formulate treaties, instead of relying mostly on messengers and messages
between the several capitals. The Congress of Vienna settlement, despite later
changes, formed the framework for European international politics until the
outbreak of the First World War in 1914.
Modern World History
Great Britain was a veritable champion of liberalism. It was also the first
country to destroy autocracy. However, democracy was built up, by reforms in
the 19th century.
1. Origin of Democracy in England-The ’Witan’ (Great Council)
In the 9th century, England was ruled by Anglo-Saxon tribes. They ruled in
consultation with the people. King Alfred formed a Consultative Council,
known as the ’Witan’ (the Council of the wise men), which was composed of
several learned men. This Council played a definite role in the administration
of the country. It laid the seeds of democracy in England. The Anglo-Saxon
kings made laws, gave grants of land, administered justice and decided
matters such as war and peace, with the counsel and the consent of the
During the period of the Normans, the ’Witan’ was known as the ’Great
Council.’ A ’Town-moot’ looked after the administration of the village; a
’Hundred-moot’ was in charge of administering about a hundred villages. The
’county-moot’ was a bigger council than the ’Hundred-moot.’ Between 829 and
1066 AD, there was a tendency towards feudalism in England, until it had
been conquered by the Normans.
Monarchical Form of Government in England.
The Normans (1066-1154) conquered England in the eleventh century. They
established a monarchical form of government. They wiped out feudal elements
by setting up a strong central government. However, an important role
continued to be played by the ’Witan’ (now known as the ’Great Council’) in the
administration of the country. Its consent was declared in every legislation and
sometimes, with regard to taxation. At times, it functioned as the Supreme
Court of Justice for civil as well as criminal cases.
2. Magna Karta - The Great Charter (1215): Autocratic Rule of King John
The rule of King John, during the Norman period, was noted for its bad
government. The barons were grossly insulted by the king. King John harassed
the common man too, in several ways. He imposed heavy taxes without the
counsel and consent of the Great Council. He also imposed Octopi duties on
goods and restricted their movement, without the council’s consent. The rights
of the clergy and the nobles were also interfered with. The nobles, the barons
and the bishops, therefore united under the leadership of Bishop Stephen
Langton as protest against his tyranny. They prepared a Charter of Rights.
This had the support of the common men who were disgruntled. Finding
himself all alone, King John accepted the articles offered by the barons. On
June 15, 1215 he affixed his seal on the ’Great Charter’, which is referred to as
the ’Magna Karta.’
The Magna Karta: The Great Charter (1215)
The Magna Karta was of special importance because; the people came
together and successfully forced the king to publicly accept their demands.
Modern World History
This kind of incident occurred for the first time in the constitutional England.
The foundation of democracy in England was laid by the Charter, which put
restrictions on the absolute and autocratic power of the king. The Magna Karta
consisted of sixty-three articles. The following are some of the important ones:
1. The King will not impose any tax without the counsel and consent of the
Great Council.
2. No one will be imprisoned, on mere suspicion, without trial.
3. To no man will we sell, to no man will we deny or delay, right or justice.
4. Private disputes will be determined in the King’s court at some fixed
5. Freedom of election shall be guaranteed to the clergy.
6. The traditional rights of the nobles and clergy will be protected.
Finally, the barons and nobles were empowered by the king to choose twentyfive of their number, to see that the articles of the Magna Karta were observed.
3. Establishment and Development of Parliament:Simon-De-Montfort, the "Father of
After King John’s death, government was carried on by the Great Council,
since his son and successor Henry III was nine years old at the time. On
coming of age, the young king dissolved the Great Council and levied arbitrary
taxes on the people. Owing to Henry III’s misconduct, the nation was forced to
renew its resistance, under the dynamic leadership of Simon de Montfort, Earl
of Leicester. A meeting of the nobles, the clergy and the representatives of the
countries and towns (boroughs), was called by Simon de Montfort in January
1265, in order to decide the methods of government administration and of
levying taxes. This meeting became famous as the Parliament of Simon-deMontfort. This earned him the title of "Father of Parliament."
Model Parliament (1295) under Edward.
In 1295, King Edward attempted to curb the nobles and the clergy, by
securing the support of the third estate, consisting of the common people. To
do so, he summoned the first complete English Parliament including
representatives from all sections of society. This meeting came to be referred to
as the "Model Parliament." On November 5, 1295, King Edward confirmed the
articles of the Charter, which stated, among other issues that the king would
not be able to levy taxes, without common consent. Thus Parliament’s consent
became essential for levying any new tax. There was a gradual progress of this
representative institution, which has led the British Parliament to be regarded
as the "Mother of Parliaments."
Medieval Parliament in England.
Parliament in the medieval period was basically a Parliament of Estates.
Each of the three estates, namely the Estate of the Clergy, the Estate of the
Lords Temporal and the Estate of the Commons was represented in the
Parliament. The duration of the medieval Parliament was only for one session,
lasting for a little more than a month. The Parliament was usually called once
a year and this custom was converted into law by the statutes of 1330 and
Gradually Parliament was divided into two chambers - the House of Lords
and the House of Commons. During the rule of King Henry IV, in 1407,
financial bills began to be discussed only in the House of Commons. This led
Modern World History
to the Lower House being regarded as the real representative body of the
people. The bills were then sent to the House of Lords. After both Houses had
agreed among themselves, they had to make their report through the Speaker
of the House of Commons.
Dispute between the king and the Parliament.
During the Tudor period, the dispute regarding where the final authority
rested, continued to rage between the king and the Parliament. Nevertheless,
the Tudor monarchs generally worked in agreement with the Parliament. The
struggle between the king and the Parliament during the Stuart period
increased tremendously. James I (1603-25) was a strong champion of the
doctrine of the Divine Right of kings. He made laws as he pleased and people
were forced to obey them.
The reign of Charles I (1625-49) saw the peak of the struggle between the
king and the Parliament. His attempts to rule and tax the people, without the
consent of the Parliament, led to failure in 1628. He was forced to call a
parliament, which laid certain conditions on him in the famous document
known as "The Petition of Rights." It included the following terms:
Loans and taxes, without consent of Parliament, were illegal.
No one should be imprisoned without a fair trial.
Martial law should not be imposed during peacetime.
People should be forced to meet the expense of the army.
The Petition of Rights was an important step in the evolution of
parliamentary democracy in England. Though the ’Petition of Rights’ was
accepted by Charles I, he dissolved the Parliament and ruled from 1629 to
1640 without a parliament. He was finally forced to call a parliament in 1640,
which continued to work for 20 years. It thus came to known as the "Long
The Long Parliament had great achievements to its credit. The king’s
tyrannical and unjust courts were disbanded. The self-seeking advisors to the
king, Strafford and Laud, were tried and sentenced to death. The tenure of
Parliament was fixed at three years. When the king refused to summon the
Parliament, it did so on its own, which enraged the king. He then organized his
own army. In turn, an army was organized by the parliament, under the
leadership of Oliver Cromwell. The king was defeated and the parliament found
him guilty of tyranny, treason and treachery. He was then sentenced to death
and beheaded in 1649. Thus the institution of monarchy in England was put
to an end by the Long Parliament.
After this, England became a Commonwealth or a Republic that is a country
ruled by the elected members of the Parliament, in the absence of a king. All
powers were concentrated in the hands of Oliver Cromwell who was called the
"Great Protector."A new written constitution was drafted, with all military,
judicial and administrative powers, being concentrated in the hands of
Cromwell. He was succeeded by his son Richard who was forced to resign,
after the army revolted against him. England then invited Charles II (1660-85)
the son of Charles I (1625-49) from France to rule England in 1660.
4. The Glorious Revolution of 1688
During his reign of twenty-three years, Charles II ruled with the consent of
Parliament, as far as possible. However, he was succeeded by his younger
Modern World History
brother, James II in 1685, who ruled as an absolute autocrat. In 1688,
Parliament proclaimed its own sovereignty, by choosing a king of its own
liking. William of Orange, who was the Protestant ruler of Holland and the sonin-law of James II, was sent for. He had been invited to rule. This invitation
was accepted by William and his wife Mary. They came to England with an
As he would not be able to fight against the Parliament and William of
Orange, James II escaped to France. Since this revolutionary change occurred
in 1688 without any bloodshed, it is known as "the Glorious Revolution."A
Convention Parliament was summoned by William. It passed a Declaration of
Rights and offered the crown to William and Mary, on condition that they
agreed to respect the English laws. This offer was accepted by William and
Mary, bringing an end the long struggle between Parliament and the king,
establishing the supremacy of Parliament and constitutional laws in England.
The Parliament became supreme after the Glorious Revolution and passed a
Bill of Rights (1689), which obtained the consent of King William and Queen
Mary in 1689. The following were its main provisions:
1. The pretended power of suspension or execution of laws by regal
authority, without consent of Parliament, is illegal.
2. The pretended power of dispersion with, or execution of laws by regal
authority, as it had been as assumed and exercised recently, is illegal.
3. Levy of money for, or to the use of the crown, by pretence or prerogative,
without grant of Parliament for longer time, or in any other manner than
the same is, or shall be granted, is illegal.
4. It is the right of the subjects to petition the King.
5. The raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom, in time of
peace, without the consent of Parliament is against the law.
6. The election of members of Parliament ought to be free.
7. The freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in parliament ought
not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place, out of
8. Excessive bail ought not to be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor
cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
9. Jurors should be duly empanelled and returned.
Finally, for redress of all grievances, and for amendment, for
strengthening and preserving laws, Parliament ought to be summoned
as frequently as possible.
The crown was then bestowed upon William and Mary jointly. In case of
default of their offspring, succession would be followed by Princess Anne and
her offspring. Further, in default of her issue, the rule reigns would shift upon
the issue of William by any wife other than Mary.
Significance of the Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights is one of the most important of the English statutes. It
holds the same rank as the Great Charter of John, the confirmation of the
Charters by Edward I and the Petition of Rights under Charles I. It is however
regarded as more important because it changed the succession to the throne.
Simultaneously, a number of sovereigns were brought in, possessing only a
Modern World History
parliamentary title. Thus the crown, which was so powerful in the
17thcentury, lost its relative significance in the 18th century. Thereafter, the
leading members of Parliament, and not the king, began to conduct the
government of England. Parliament, which had formerly acted as a check upon
the supreme power, now became the supreme power itself.
The Act of Settlement was also passed in 1701. It stated:
1. that whosoever should, hereafter, come to occupy the throne of England,
was required to join in communion with the Church of England, as by law
2.that all the business of government formerly transacted in the Privy Council
should still be transacted there.
3.that no person, who had an office, or place of profit, under the King, or
received a pension from the Crown, should be capable of serving as a member
of the House of Commons and
4.that judge’s commission should be for life, or for good behavior and that
their salaries should be ascertained and established. However they could be
removed after a joint address of both Houses of Parliament.
5. Rise of a Responsible Council of Ministers
Another important development was that of the responsible Council of
Ministers, and then referred to as the Cabinet. There was a gradual
development of the cabinet. This has been called "the very pivot of
government", by Professor F.C. Montague.
The king had to choose as Ministers those who commanded the confidence of
the House of Commons that is those who held the opinions of the majority in
the House. Thus began the practice of selecting ministers from the party,
which enjoyed the majority support in the House of Commons. According to
the Act of Settlement (1701), the House of Hanover came to power, after the
Stuarts. Since King George I did not know English, he was the first king who
stayed away from these meetings, giving rise to the custom that the cabinet
meets together, apart from the sovereign.
In the absence of the king, another President had to be chosen. The minister
who was most respected by the party was naturally selected as the leader.
Thus, the Prime Minister was the leader of the party, commanding majority
support of the House of Commons. In this sense, Sir Robert Walpole was the
first Prime Minister and during his long term of office (1721-1742), he worked
as the mouthpiece of the ministry in Parliament, as well as in the royal closet,
according to Professor F.C. Montague.
After his defeat in the House of Commons in 1742, Sir Robert Walpole
resigned as the Prime Minister thus establishing the practice that the Prime
Minister and his cabinet were responsible to the House of Commons in
6. Reform Act Of 1832
Though the Parliament became supreme after the Glorious Revolution of
1688, it could not be regarded as the real representative of the people until the
19th century, since the right to vote was restricted only to the rich and to
property holders. Hence wealthy industrialists and rich landlords dominated
the Parliament. Owing to the growth of industries and factories there was a
growth of labor force. This led to an agitation of the industrial workers; they
Modern World History
demanded their representatives in Parliament. For this reason, the Reforms
Bill of 1832 was passed by the Parliament.
Provisions of the Reform Act of 1832.
By the Reform Act of 1832, fifty-six boroughs with less than 2,000
inhabitants were disfranchised. The one hundred and forty three seats secured
under the Reform Act of 1832 were distributed in the following manner:
a. Twenty-two new boroughs, either large towns or districts of London were
given two members each.
b. Twenty-one of less importance, received one member each.
c. The counties secured sixty-five additional members.
d. Of the remaining seats, eight were given to Scotland and five to Ireland.
The franchise was also extended. Thus the right to vote was extended to
copyholders and lease holders in counties as well as tenants-at-will, paying a
rent of $50 or upwards. All householders in boroughs, paying a rent of $10
and upwards, were given the franchise.
Separate Reform Acts were passed for Scotland and Ireland
The Reform Act of 1832 had significant effects:
The parliamentary influence exercised by ministers, as well as the
parliamentary power of the landed interest, was greatly reduced. This was
achieved by extinction of rotten boroughs, by extension of franchise to many
new towns and boroughs and also by establishing household franchise in all
Several differences began to arise between the House of Commons, which
was dominated by the middle class, and the House of Lords, which was
dominated by the landed interest. In these differences, based on public policy,
the House of the Lords had to yield to the House of Commons. However the
new electors under the Reforms Act of 1832 did not comprise of a considerable
part of the laboring class. They were generally prosperous persons.
7. Representation of the People Act, 1867
By 1832, the industrial revolution was at its zenith. Owing to the
introduction of free trade between 1840 and 1860, great impetus was given to
trade and manufacturers. However the gains of agriculture were lessened. The
artisan class began to agitate for political power. In 1838; a "People’s Charter"
was drawn up. It was signed by thousands of people all over the country who
demanded that the Charter should be accepted by the government. This
popular movement which is known as the Chartist Movement put forward the
following demands.
a. Universal suffrage or giving the right to vote to all adult males in the
b. Vote by secret ballot.
c. Equal electoral districts.
d. Annual Parliaments.
e. Removal of the property qualification for membership of the Parliament
and payment to members of Parliament.
As a result of the growing strength of the ’Chartist Movement’, the
Representation of the People Act, was passed in 1867. It was introduced by
Benjamin Disraeli.
Modern World History
The main provision of the Representation of the People Act, 1867 were as
1. By this Act, a number of small boroughs were wholly or partially
2. Eleven new boroughs were created, and a few large cities and towns
received one more member.
3. Twenty-five additional members were given to the English counties, and
one was given to the University of London.
4. The franchise was extended in counties, to occupiers rated at $12 a
5. The franchise was extended in boroughs to all householders whatsoever
and to lodgers paying $10 a year.
6. In 1868 separate Acts were passed to introduce household franchise into
Scotch and Irish boroughs.
Lord Derby regarded the Reform Act of 1867 as ’a leap in the dark.’
The Secret Ballot Act introduced by Gladstone in 1872 ended the practices of
bribery as well as of intimidating influential candidates.
8. Representation of the People Act, 1884
There were several causes that led to the Act of 1884. Since household
suffrage was granted in the boroughs, it would have to be also given to the
counties. Thus the way was paved for the equal representation of equal
numbers. Among the main provisions of the Representation of the People Act,
1884 was the extension of the household franchise and ledger franchise to the
counties. In this way, the whole body of agricultural laborers in England and
Scotland, and of small farmers in Ireland, secured the franchise.
9. Parliamentary Act, 1911
There were many events that culminated in the passing of the Parliament
Act of 1911.
The conflict between the Houses of Parliament was renewed after the
Liberals returned to power in December 1905. The Unionists suffered a
crushing defeat on the tariff question, and the General Election took place in
December 1905.In the first session of the new parliament in 1906 the
Government’s Education Bill and the Plural Voting Bill were defeated by the
Unionists. It was possible to enforce the supremacy of the House of Commons
in the following two ways:
1. An alternation could be made in the composition of the House of Lords.
2. The powers of the House of Lords could be reduced.
In 1907, the government realized that an alternation in the character of the
House of Lords would be undesirable unless its veto over legislation was
removed. In 1909, the Budget of 1909 was rejected by the Upper Chamber,
and hence the electorate began to appeal for a mandate to reduce the power of
the Upper Chamber.
In the General Election of 1910, the Liberals lost over a hundred seats,
while the Unionists remained a minority. The Government then introduced its
proposals for constitutional reforms in the form of the Parliament Act of 1911.
Provisions of the Parliament Act of 1911.
If a money bill was passed by the House of Commons and sent to the House
of Lords, at least one month before the close of the session, the Lords could
Modern World History
amend or reject it. However the Bill would secure the royal assent. A Bill
certified by the speaker of the House of Commons, as dealing with some
alteration of taxation, was defined as a 'Money Bill.'
A Public Bill, other than a Money Bill or a Bill for extension of the duration
of Parliament, beyond five years would receive royal assent, if it was passed by
the House of Commons in three successive sessions, whether in the same
parliament or not and was sent to the House of Lords, at least one month
before the end of the session, even though it was rejected by the Lords in each
of those three sessions.
The duration of Parliament was reduced from seven to five years. All nonofficial members of the House of Commons would receive a salary of $400 a
year. Thus the financial and legislative supremacy of the House of Commons
was registered by the Parliament Act of 1911.
10. Representation of the People Acts 1918 & 1928
The Female Suffrage Movement
It was widely believed that women were not made to govern. In 1867, John
Stuart Mill had spoken in favor of voting rights for women. This created a
favorable atmosphere for the ’Female Suffrage Movement.’ Under the
leadership of influential women such as Mrs. Fawcett, Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence
and the Pankhurst several women suffrage societies sprang up, and began to
work towards women’s claim to franchise. During the World War I (1914-18),
women had played a vital role and had substituted for men in some service.
Thus their demands were granted as a reward of appreciation, after the World
War I.
In 1918, the ’Representation of the People Act’ was passed by Parliament in
1918, granting franchise to all men over twenty-one and to all women of thirty
years and above.
The works of electoral reform was completed by the Representation of the
People Act of 1928, which granted the right to vote, to all women over twentyone years. Thus the rule of the people was established step by step.
Question of Slavery and American Civil War
Subsequent to the Mexican War, the most important development in the
American society was the growth of secessionist tendency in the Southern
States. A temporary compromise was achieved in 1850 but once again came
up with more vigour through the Kansass –Ne-Braska Act of 1854.The
secessionist tendency gathered momentum after the Dredscot decision of 1857
and the conflict between Northerners and Southerners in America became
more severe. This conflict finally led to the American Civil War and effected
disruption in the democratic process of America.
Causes of the Civil War.
One important cause of the civil war was the basic economic difference
between the North and the South. The North had grown greatly in industry
and commerce. The areas generally known as the North included in 1850 New
England States (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut
and Rhode Island) New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The North
was an industrial area and was making progress in many fields America's chief
deposits of coal and iron were in the Northern states. America's finance had
found its centre at New York. The protective tariff gave the Northern
manufactures the chance of capturing the ever growing home market and the
Modern World History
railroads enabled them to carry their goods throughout the States, it was not
only in trade and industry that the North was making progress but it was
forging ahead in other fields. Most of the Northerners were educated and this
made democracy loving and hate the institution of slavery. The South on the
other hand was agricultural and less progressive. The easiest definition of the
South would be “all states where slavery was legal”. The most important
southern states were the cotton growing states like South Carolina, Georgia,
Alabamrna, Mississippi etc, the economic life of the South was dependent
upon slave labor. Compared to the north the south was making very little
progress. Her average standard of living was lower. The people were mostly
illiterate and this made them narrow minded. Most of the South was
unanimous in defending slavery. This basic difference in the way the
northerners and the southerners make a living, some historians say was the
basic cause of the Civil War.
Northern congressmen usually wanted a high protective’ tariff, a centralized
banking system and internal improvements at federal expense. Southern
Congress men were usually against these proposals. For many southerners
federal aid to railroads tying the north and west together, a protective tariff
and a centralized bank were means of enriching the northerners at the
expense of the South. In the north changes took place quickly and the pace of
living was faster. There was constant agitation for free public school women's
rights and rights for workers. In the south life was much less hurried and
changes came slowly. Many planters lived aristocratic semi feudal kinds of life.
Even many southerners who did not own plantations became accustomed to
southern way of life. Many a southerner hated thought of change. This social
difference also brought about a misunderstanding between the north and the
Many southern leaders maintained for many years after the war that the
southern states had seceded from the Union not to preserve slavery but to
protect states right. Some historians blame a number of political leaders of
1850’s for exaggerating the friction between the North and the South. If hot
headed abolitionists and hot headed southerners, the historians say, had not
stirred that passion of the people the war might have been avoided.
Another important cause of the civil war was the intimacy established
between the North and the West. The construction of new roads and canals
made the West less and less dependent upon the Mississippi river and this
also reduced the contacts between the south and the west. Another reason
why the westerners became friendlier with the North was the fact that the
Westerner like northerner believed in a strong federal government. They knew
that it was the federal Government, which had passed laws and constructed
roads that facilitated expansion to the West. Federal laws also gave them
protection from Red Indian attacks. In future the Westerners knew that they
would need the help for strong federal government. The North at that time was
making great progress in industrial field. All the important banks were
situated there.
All exports Irion and all imports Lo U.S.A. passed through nor hem ports.
The Westerners naturally understood the benefit, of allying, more and more
with the rich industrial north. The northern were also eager to cultivate
friendship with the west. The West, the north knew, was expanding both in
Modern World History
area and in population. The West would supply enough raw materials for the
northern factory and profile a ready market for northern goods. The close
alliances between the north and the West created fear in the minds of the
southerners. The Southerners were worried over the fact that at North with
Western votes would .make the congress pass laws favorable to their interests.
The-west would give the north a valuable political ally. The Southerners feared
the permanent economic and political domination of the nation by the North
supported by the West. Thus by the second half of the 19th Century the
relations between the North and South were strained. “I fear northerner and
southerner are aliens ….We differ like Celts and Anglo Saxons” This statement
of the Southerner in 1860 expresses the feeling of many southerners at this
Journalists and writers played an important role in opening the eyes of the
Northerners to the evils of slavery and thereby paying the way for the outbreak
of the Civil war. In 1831 Garrison an uncompromising anti-slavery leader
published his new paper. The Liberator- In this newspaper Garrison spared no
violence in his language to rouse the people of U.S.A. to the evils of slavery. He
argued that the North must quit the Union if the South does not abolish
slavery. Times proved that a single book would exert a far greater influence
upon the people than the press. Uncle Tom's Cabin written by Mrs. Herriot
Broacher Stowe gave a touching account of the miserable life of the slave. Mrs.
Stowe had ever been to slave territory and she had no personal experiences on
the miseries of a slave. But her book which describes the story of a faithful
slave. Uncle Tom flogged to death by his cruel master and of the barefooted
slave girl Eliza pursued by blood hounds as she flees across the frozen river,
her baby in her arms, stirred the feelings of many. People in North and in
Europe and even some southerners she tears as they read the novel or
watched the play based on it. So great was the sensation created by the novel
that year later Lincoln greeted Mrs. Stowe as the ' Little woman who brought
about the civil war.
The controversy over the issue of slavery also contributed to the outbreak of
the civil war. Soon after the colonization of America Negroes had been brought
to America to do the hard work in the plantations. The northern ship owners
and many Europeans profited from this trade. In few cases the African chiefs
used to sell the war captives to these men. Also the Arabs used to raid African
territories and capture by force many Negroes who were later on brought to
America. At first the Negroes were not made slaves but gradually slavery was
introduced. Since labor was scarce in America and Americans knew that they
would have to return e Negroes alter the specified time they decided to convert
the Negroes o the position of slaves. The white master imposed many
restrictions m the slaves. He was denied all sorts of freedom and used as a
tool. le white masters forbade the slaves to carry weapons to go to out after
dusk and even to learn to read and write. The evils of slavery aroused anger
in the minds of the northerners who fought for the liberation of slaves.
The Northerner and Southerner had their own agreements for and against
slavery. The southerner argued that slavery was the essential basis of
southern, prosperity, which depended on cotton growing. Cotton formed two
thirds of America’s exports and therefore, it was not wise to abolish slavery.
Further it was argued that just as the northerner had invested his money in
Modern World History
his factory, machinery, raw materials, etc, the southerner had invested his
money in the form of slaves. Therefore, it was unjust to ask him to abolish
slavery. Slavery, the southerner argued was the only way of getting the lazy
Negroes to work and the only way of civilizing them. The northerner on the
other hand argued that slavery was immoral and unjust. It was a great
injustice to make human being the slave of mother human being. Slavery, they
asserted, was a contradiction of the free arid democratic ideals for which
U.S.A. stood. The Northerner brought economic arguments against slavery.
According to him slavery was a heavy capital investment which decreased in
value as the slave grew older and become sick. Therefore, cotton growing could
be more economically manage on free labor. When these arguments were going
on between the northerner and the southerner steps were being taken for the
abolition of slavery. In 1808 the legal import of slaves was forbidden. Antislavery societies came to be formed in many parts of the North.
The Northerners were divided into two groups those wanted to abolish
.slavery completely were called Abolitions. Many of the northerners were of the
opinion that slavery should be tolerated where it existed. However, they were
opposed to the extension into the territories of United States and therefore, the
creation of any new slave state. This group was called the free soldiers. The
controversy over slavery led to the outbreak of open conflicts between the
northerners and southerners. The Missouri compromise of 1820 had provided
a temporary solution for the sectional conflicts. In 1846 a bill was introduced
in the congress providing that slavery should be forbidden in any territory
taken from Mexico. This would not affect Texas already a slave state. But it
would apply to California and other territories taken from Mexico, The
southerners oppose the bill. In 1848 after a sudden increase of population
California was formed into a state. The California constitution prohibited
slavery throughout the territory. When California asked for admission to the
Union, the southern members protested and refused to accept the
constitution. The South even talked of secession from the Union. This meant
Civil War. The hopes of the nation rested with Senator Henry Clay who
introduced certain proposals which came to be known as the compromise of
1850. The Compromise consisted of these proposals (1) Admission of California
as a free State (2) Creation of the territories of Utah arid New Mexico without
reference to slavery (3) prohibition of slave law trade in the district of Columbia
(4) A fugitive slave providing for the capture and return to their owners of
escape slaves. The north protested against the fugitive slave law. One
important result produced by the compromise of 1850 was that it increased
the eagerness to capture the island of Cuba. Being a larger and fertile territory
the acquisition of Cuba, the southerners believed would not only enhance the
financial resources of U.S.A. but also provide for the creation of new state
which might be admitted slave states.
In 1854 the sectarian conflicts became severe when a new bill Kansas
Nebraska Bill was introduced in the Congress. The territory to the West of
Lowe and Missouri was formed into two states Kansas and Nebraska. The
provision in the bill, which made the northerners angry, was that the principle
of popular sovereignty should in these two territories. Both the territories were
north of the parallel 36’30 (36 degree 0 minute) where according to the
Missouri compromise of 1820 slavers' was forbidden. But the new bill
Modern World History
specifically cancelled this provision. Tension arose as a result of the
controversy over the Kansas Nebraska Bill. To Kansas went pro-slavery men of
the South and free soldiers of the North for the northerners and southerners
wanted to have enough of their people to vote whether the territory should be
organized as a free state or as slave state. The free soldiers and the pro-slavery
men established their Governments in Kansas. Open riots soon broke out and
many people were killed. Kansas was referred to as bleeding Kansas. Rivalry
between the pro-slavery men and anti-slavery men took its bad form not only
outside the Congress but also within the congress. All these strained the
relations between the southerner and created an atmosphere in which there
was no room for compromise. Finally Kansas was admitted in the union in
1861 as a free state.
Another important incident that stimulated the passions of the people was
the red Scott case. Dred Scott was a slave who was taken from the slave state
of Missouri into the free state of Illinois, then into a free territory and after a
few years back again to Missouri. Later the slave red Scott sued for his
freedom. The case was taken to the Supreme Court. The chief justice of the
Supreme Court was Roger Jamey. The court stated that no slaves even if free
could become the citizen of U.S.A. Accordingly since Scott was not a citizen he
was not eligible to sue in a federal court. The Supreme Court's judgments
against Scott’s right to sue and the Court’s opinion have together come to be
called the Dred Scott Decision. The opinions given by Roger Jamey contained
the following points. The Missouri compromise of 1820 was unconstitutional
because the congress has no right to prohibit slavery in Louisiana. The
northerners in general protested vehemently against this idea. They argued
that if the congress could not prohibit slavery in the territories how could the
legislature created by Congress do so. If indeed according to the Court, slavery
was legal in all the territories then the principle of popular sovereignty would
be illegal. The southerners in general were delighted with the Court's opinion.
But the northern were unhappy over it. What was the reasoning behind this
opinion? A slave Taney argued that the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights
says that the Congress may not interfere with a man's property without due
process of law.
The newly formed Republican Party demanded the repeal of the fugitives
slave law and the Kansas Nebraska Bill. It also demanded the establishment of
the principle that the Congress had the right to permit or abolish slavery. Free
speech, free press, Free State, freedom and liberty were the slogans of the
Republican Party. The Republicans acquired the able leadership of Abraham
Lincoln. Though Lincoln was defeated in the Senatorial election from the state
of Illinois by Stephen A .Douglas, he won a greater Victory in the presidential
election of I860.Lincoln's victories in the election came as a shock to the
southern. The Southerners knew that Lincoln would surely bring about the
abolition of slavery. As soon as the news of victory was made known south
Carolina and six other slave states Georgia, Florida Texas, Alabama. Louisiana
and Mississippi withdrew from the Union and formed the conference States of
America. It elected Jefferson Davis as the President. Lincoln's appeal to the
conference rate states to come back to the Union and thereby avoid the
possibility of the Civil War fell on deaf ears. In April the Confederate army
attacked Fort Sumter (situate in S.Carolina) at that time occupied by the
Modern World History
Union Army. That began the Civil War. Soon after four more states N. Carolina,
Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee withdrew from the Union and joined the
confederacy thus making the number of Confederate States II.
Course of the Civil War.
As soon as the civil war broke out Lincoln concentrated his attention in
bringing out victory for the north. He was particular that at any cause the
Union should be preserved by bringing the confederate states. The north
introduced blockade around southern harbors. The north aimed at capturing
Richmond, the capital of the confederate states and Vicksburg and Nashville
the two confederate centers in the west. The Union army under Grant captured
Nashville arid advanced to Vicksburg On the strength of these victories Lincoln
issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This proclaimed the emancipation of
all slaves in the rebel states from January 1, 1863. Soon after the Union army
was defeated but the confederate army under Lee carried the war in to the
north by invading Pennsylvania.The Union army won victory. The confederate
defeat at Greensburg (Pennsylvania) and the following day at Vicksburg turned
the mood of the northerners from gloom to glee. The darkest days of the
confederacy came in April 1865 when Richmond fell into the Union Army. On
the April 9, 1866, the confederate army surrendered and the civil war came to
an end. The rejoicing of the north was turned into sorrow when Lincoln was
shot dead a few days after when he was attending performance at Ford's
The civil war brought a lot of destruction in terms of human lives, money
etc. A large number of people were killed. It is surprising to note that the civil
war cause the death of a larger number of people that the first and second
world wars caused. The Civil War left behind it feeling of hatred between the
north and the south. The civil war was a victory for democracy. Slavery was
abolished and more people were given the right to vote. The power of the
Congress increased considerably during -the period following the civil war.
Before that the congress had almost nothing to say on such questions as to
who is a citizen and who has the right to vote. The civil rights Act and the 14 th
Amendment proved that the congress had acquired great powers in the period
after the Civil War. Another important result of the civil war was the victory of
the northern industrialists over the southern agriculturists. After the Civil War
industrial growth became tremendous when Republican Party passed laws
favorable to industry. After the civil -war free public education was made
available to southern Negroes. Many schools were built and thousands of
Negroes learned how to read and write. Some Negroes even went for higher
education. However, many Negroes protested bitterly that the grievances in the
14th and I5lh amendments were not respected. The Civil War and the abolition
of slavery failed or remove the grievances of Negroes. Even today to a certain
extent racial discrimination is going on in U.S.A.
The civil war marked the victory of Republican Party over the Democratic
Party. The republicans won votes by asserting that their party had preserved
the Union. They also aroused hatred against the Democratic Party repeatedly
saying that the Southern democrats were responsible for the death and
crippling of many Americans in the Civil War. Almost every important
president until the time of Woodrow Wilson was elected from the Republican
Modern World History
Party. The Civil war gave an opportunity for a few men to acquired money by
unscrupulous methods. Helping to build the strong spirit of nationalism was
the memory of the martyred President Abraham Lincoln. The legend even today
exerts an influence over the minds of the people of America.
The civil war produced for the north a great hero in Abraham Lincoln a
man eager, above all others, to weld the union together again, not by force and
expression but by warmth and generosity. Although he had to use great
powers both in war and in peace, he never ignored the principles of democratic
self government. Born in Kentucky in 1809 and brought by his parents to
Illinois at an early age Lincoln had worked his way from poverty. He studied
law and was soon recognized as one of the ablest lawyers the State. Lincoln
became nationally famous in 1858 when he competed for the post of Senator
from Illinois against Stephen A Douglas. In the first paragraph of his open
campaign speech Lincoln struck the key note of American history for the seven
years to follow. "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this
government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not
expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall but I do
expect it will cease to divide". Lincoln and Douglas engaged in a series of seven
debates in the ensuing months of 1858. Senator Douglas was a little man with
a brilliant mind and a deep musical voice. The Little giant his friends called
him were always well dressed and always seemed polished. The locally well
known Lincoln was tall arid lean with sad eyes and a high pitched voice that
was far from musical.
In one debate Lincoln asked Douglas an embarrassing question how could
Douglas say that he believed in both the red Scott Decision and the principle of
popular sovereignty when they contradicted each other, Douglas was in an
embarrassing position. If he said that he favored the court's opinion opponents
of slavery would not vote for him. On the other hand he would not get the votes
of slave states. Douglas answered that the slave holders had legal right to keep
slaves in the territories but suppose the people of a territory under the
principle of popular sovereignty did not want slavery in their territory, and
then their territorial legislature without prohibiting slavery would not pass
laws friendly to slavery. Actually this would mean that slave owners would not
have local laws protecting their slave property. As a result they would
eventually be obliged either to sell their slaves or to move out of the territory.
The answer Douglas gave is called the Free Port Doctrine after Illinois town in
which the debate took place. Though Lincoln was defeated in the Senatorial
election he won the Presidential election of 1860. In his inaugural address, he
refused to recognize the secession considering it a legally void. His speech
ended with plea for restoration of the bonds of Union. In your hands Lincoln
addressed the Southerners "my dissatisfied fellow countrymen and not in mine
is the momentous issue of the civil war".
The most important problems confronting the president were the problems
of how to stop the secession movement and what to do at Fort Sumter. It was
now too late to restore the Union by compromise. To withdraw the army from
Fort Sumter at the demand of the confederates would be recognition of the
legality of secession. On the other hand if the army continues to remain a Fort
Sumter to supply it with provisions only and not with arms. The confederate
Modern World History
states attacked Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. This resulted in the outbreak of
the civil war between the north and the south. As soon as the civil war broke
out four slave states N Carolina Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee withdraw
from the Union and joined the confederacy. As a war president Lincoln
exhibited great ability in fighting the war bringing victory to the north. The first
thing that he did was to organize an efficient army to fight against Southern
harbors. On measure that Lincoln advocated had been subject to a lot of
criticism. There was a group of four slave states that had not joined the
confederacy- Maryland Missouri, Kentucky and Delaware. If these states joined
the confederacy, then the capital city would be surrounded by enemy states
and that would mean the victory of the confederate state. To prevent these
states from joining the confederacy Lincoln suspends the writ Habeas Corpus
and tyrannically punished all those who sympathized with the secession
movement. This measure prevented the withdrawal of these four states. Critics
had condemned this action of Lincoln saying that Lincoln had acted as a
dictator. But Lincoln justified the action by saying that it was necessary for
that situation.
While the north was winning victorious, Lincoln issued the Emancipation
Proclamation. This was to free the slaves in the rebel states from January 1st
1863.The Emancipation Proclamation had many limitations. The whole state to
Tennessee was excluded certain parts of Virginia and Louisiana were
.exempted and none of the Union slave states was included. In fact slaves were
to be emancipated only in territories under confederate control. The Richmond
Examiner criticized the proclamations as the most stupid political blunder yet
known in American history. The London Times wrote- while the President
leaves slavery untouched where his decree cannot be enforced. In spite of great
opposition London was re-elected in 1864. In his second inaugural address he
asked his supporters to follow a policy of "malice towards none and charity for
all". Soon after the inauguration, a ceremony was held for the dedication of a
national grave yard for the soldiers who died in the battle of Gettysburg. On
that occasion Lincoln uttered these memorable words- Four score and seven
years ago our forefathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation
conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created
equal. The world will not nor long remember what we say here, but it can never
forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to
the unfinished work that they have for so nobly carried on that the nation
under God shall have a new birth if freedom and that the Government of the
people, for the people, by the people shall not perish from the earth. In April
1865 the confederate army surrounded to the Union army and the war came to
an end. Few days later Lincoln was shot dead. There seems to be no
disagreement on the fact that Lincoln more than anyone else was responsible
for the victory of the north in the civil war.
Contribution of Lincoln to Democracy.
Lincoln had a great faith in democracy. He took inspiration from the
Declaration and considered Jefferson as the most distinguished politician of
American history. With his great love for democracy Lincoln was from the very
beginning opposed to slavery and he was determined that he would fight for
the liberties of the Negro slaves. Lincoln's love for liberty made him support the
Republican Party. He said ' When there is a conflict between one man's liberty
Modern World History
and another man's property the democratic party supports property'. The
Republicans, he pointed out, cared more for the liberty of men. Lincoln gave a
beautiful definition to democracy in his famous Gettysburg speech. He was a
lover of peace and accepted war only when it seemed necessary to save the
Union. As an apostle of freedom, a lover of democracy, a champion of the
rights of the Negroes and as a President who guided nation successfully during
the dark days of the civil war. Lincoln stands great, in the history of U.S.A. The
story of Lincoln, as a writer says, is the story of a great man who shoulders the
moral burdens of a sinful people suffers for them, redeems them, with
Christian virtues malice towards none and charity for all and is destroyed at
the pitch of his success.
The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863
The Emancipation
a presidential
proclamation and executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln on
January 1, 1863, as a war measure during the American Civil War, directed to
all of the areas in rebellion and all segments of the executive branch (including
the Army and Navy) of the United States. It proclaimed the freedom of slaves in
the ten states that were still in rebellion. Because it was issued under the
President's war powers, it necessarily excluded areas not in rebellion - it
applied to more than 3 million of the 4 million slaves in the U.S. at the
time.The Proclamation was based on the president's constitutional authority
as commander in chief of the armed forces; it was not a law passed by
Congress. The Proclamation also ordered that suitable persons among those
freed could be enrolled into the paid service of United States' forces, and
ordered the Union Army (and all segments of the Executive branch) to
"recognize and maintain the freedom of" the ex-slaves. The Proclamation did
not compensate the owners, did not outlaw slavery, and did not grant
citizenship to the ex-slaves (called freedmen). It made the eradication
of slavery an explicit war goal, in addition to the goal of reuniting the Union.
Around 20,000 to 50,000 slaves in regions where rebellion had already been
subdued were immediately emancipated. It could not be enforced in areas still
under rebellion, but as the Union army took control of Confederate regions, the
Proclamation provided the legal framework for freeing more than 3 million
slaves in those regions. Prior to the Proclamation, in accordance with
the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, escaped slaves were either returned to their
masters or held in camps as contraband for later return. The Proclamation
applied only to slaves in Confederate-held lands; it did not apply to those in
the four slave states that were not in rebellion (Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware,
and Missouri, which were unnamed), nor to Tennessee (unnamed but occupied
by Union troops since 1862) and lower Louisiana (also under occupation), and
specifically excluded those counties of Virginia soon to form the state of West
Virginia. Also specifically excluded (by name) were some regions already
controlled by the Union army. Emancipation in those places would come after
separate state actions and/or the December 1865 ratification of the Thirteenth
Amendment, which made slavery and indentured servitude, except for those
duly convicted of a crime, illegal everywhere subject to United States
On September 22, 1862, Lincoln had issued a preliminary proclamation that
he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any state (or part of a state)
Modern World History
that did not end their rebellion against the Union by January 1, 1863. None of
the Confederate states restored themselves to the Union, and Lincoln's order,
signed and issued January 1, 1863, took effect. The Emancipation
Proclamation outraged white Southerners who envisioned a race war, angered
some Northern Democrats, energized anti-slavery forces, and undermined
forces in Europe that wanted to intervene to help the Confederacy. The
Proclamation lifted the spirits of African Americans both free and slave. It led
many slaves to escape from their masters and get to Union lines to obtain their
The Emancipation Proclamation broadened the goals of the Civil War. While
slavery had been a major issue that led to the war, Lincoln's only mission at
the start of the war was to maintain the Union. The Proclamation made freeing
the slaves an explicit goal of the Union war effort, and was a step toward
abolishing slavery and conferring full citizenship upon ex-slaves. Establishing
the abolition of slavery as one of the two primary war goals served to deter
intervention by Britain and France.
Unification of Italy
Italy at mid-century was split into several parts. In the north, Austria had
Lombardy and Venetia. To the west was the rival Kingdom of SardiniaPiedmont, consisting of the mainland territories of Piedmont, Nice, and Savoy,
plus the island of Sardinia. The Kingdom was ruled by King Victor Emmanuel
II (1849-1861) from the Savoy dynasty. He was the only ruler from a native
Italian family. South of Lombardy was the duchies of Parma, Modena, and
Tuscany. In the middle of Italy, along both coasts, were the Papal States ruled
by the Pope. South of the Papal States was the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies,
consisting of Sicily and the mainland section forming the bottom half of the
Italian boot.
The groundwork for Italian unification was laid by a literary and political
movement known as Risorgimento, or resurgence, which sought the
resurrection of the Italian nation. A key figure in this movement was Giuseppe
Mazzini (1805-1872), who began as a member of a secret revolutionary society,
the Carbonari. Mazzini founded a new movement, Young Italy, which sought to
create a unified Italian republic through a series of popular referendums. He
encouraged national revolutions among other groups, such as the Irish and
the Poles, and was a leader in the short-lived Roman Republic of 1849.
Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) was a disciple of Mazzini and a very able
military leader. After participating with Mazzini in an abortive republican
uprising against the King of Sardinia in 1834, Garibaldi gained fame for
military exploits in South America. He returned to Italy in 1848 and fought
first against the Austrians and then against the French. He put up a gallant
but hopeless struggle to maintain the Roman Republic of 1849.
The most successful leader of the Risorgimento movement was Camillo di
Cavour (1810-1861). He was from a prominent Piedmontese family and a
successful entrepreneur. In 1847, Cavour founded a liberal newspaper, Il
Risorgimento. While Cavour favored constitutionalism and opposition to
Austria, unlike Mazzini and Garibaldi he was not a republican. He favored the
achievement of Italian unity under the royal house of Savoy. In 1852, he
Modern World History
became prime minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont. The failure of the
revolutions of 1848 and 1849 tended to discredit the schemes of Mazzini and
Garibaldi and gave Cavour the opportunity to take the lead in seeking Italian
Cavour began by strengthening the Sardinian economy.He patronized the
construction of highways, canals, docks, and railroads. He concluded trade
treaties to increase commerce, reformed the credit system, and sought to limit
the influence of the church. These efforts were calculated to make Sardinia a
model state that its Italian neighbors would want to join.
Cavour realized that he would need the help of a major power to fight
Austria, whose Italian possessions constituted the biggest obstacle to Italian
unification. He had Sardinia join the side of Britain, France, and Turkey
against Russia in the Crimean War (1853-56). The war did not involve any
issues of national interest for Sardinia, but attendance at the peace conference
following the war gave Cavour an opportunity to call big power attention to the
issue of Italian unity.
The French Connection
Cavour determined that Sardinia would form an alliance with France against
Austria. He saw the use of French troops as the best hope of pushing Austria
out of the Italian peninsula. He succeeded in negotiating with Emperor
Napoleon III (Louis Napoleon) the Pact of Plombièrs in July 1858. France
agreed to join Sardinia in a war against Austria, providing the blame for
starting the war could be put on Austria. If the war were won, Sardinia would
get the Austrian possessions of Lombardy and Venetia. In turn, France would
get Nice and Savoy from Sardinia. Italy would be reorganized as a
confederation, with the Pope as President.
Louis Napoleon consented to such an agreement, not only to get Nice and
Savoy which were on the French side of the Alps and long coveted by France,
but for other reasons as well. The Bonaparte family was of Italian (Corsican)
origin, and Louis Napoleon had been linked as a young man to the Italian
unification movement. In attacking reactionary Austria, he could endear
himself to French liberals at home. He may also have been persuaded by the
Italian nationalist, Felice Orsini 1819-1858), who threw a bomb at Napoleon in
January of 1858 for his failure to do more for the cause of Italian unity.
By encouraging revolutionaries and deserters in Austria’s Italian territories
and rejecting a related Austrian ultimatum, Cavour provoked Austria into an
attack on Sardinia on April 29, 1859. This was the excuse France needed to
join Sardinia in a war against Austria. Major battles were fought at Magenta
(June 4, 1859) and Solferino (June 24, 1859). While both battles brought
Austrian retreats, they were bloodier and less decisive than Napoleon III would
have liked. Moreover, revolts in the central Italian states by people wanting to
join Sardinia meant that Sardinia might actually grow to be a rival of France.
Most menacing for France, Prussia and other German states were threatening
to come to the aid of Austria. These factors led Napoleon III, without consulting
his Sardinian allies, to sign an agreement with the Austrian Emperor, Francis
Joseph (1848-1916), at Villafranca in July. The agreement gave most of
Modern World History
Lombardy to France, who could then cede it to Sardinia. Austria kept Venetia,
and the states of central Italy were restored to their former rulers.
The failure to obtain Venetia as agreed at Plombièrs so angered Cavour that
he resigned as premier (he returned to office in January 1860). Sardinia did
get Lombardy from France. The French did not dare to claim Nice and Savoy.
The central Italian states of Romagna (which had been part of the Papal
States), Parma, Modena, and Tuscany resisted restoration of their rulers and
voted to join Sardinia. Napoleon and the returned Cavour negotiated an
agreement whereby France acquiesced in the annexation of these states by
Sardinia in return for finally receiving Nice and Savoy.
The Role of Garibaldi
The next episode in the story of Italian unification is truly extraordinary and
romantic. Giuseppe Garibaldi, who fought the Austrians and French in 18481849, had returned to fight the Austrians in the war of 1859. Learning of the
proposed giveaway of Nice (his birthplace) and Savoy to France, Garibaldi
organized an army to protect these territories from the French. Cavour, fearing
the consequences of antagonizing the French, diverted Garibaldi by finding
him another mission. A revolt had broken out against Francis II (1859-1861),
the King of the Two Sicilies. Cavour secretly persuaded Garibaldi to use his
volunteers to support this revolt. Publicly, Cavour distanced himself from the
scheme. Garibaldi’s army of a thousand Red Shirts landed at Marsala in Sicily
on May 11, 1860. Enjoying rapid success, Garibaldi captured Palermo, the
capital of Sicily by the end of May. In late August, he crossed over to the
mainland. Naples, the mainland capital, fell on September 7, 1860. Thousands
had deserted from the royal Sicilian army to join Garibaldi. His attractive
personality brought many other volunteers.
Cavour became concerned about Garibaldi’s successes.He feared that
Garibaldi might become a rival to the Sardinian King, Victor Emmanuel II, or
provoke intervention by either the French or Austrians. He hastily had a
Sardinian army attack the Papal States, defeating the Pope’s forces. This
Sardinian army joined Garibaldi for the final sweep against the Bourbon King
of the Two Sicilies. Garibaldi nobly honored his previous pledge to support the
Sardinian monarch. On March 17, 1861, the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed,
with Victor Emmanuel II as King. Cavour was not to serve the new country
long. He died on June 6, 1861.
Completing the Kingdom of Italy
The only significant parts of the Italian peninsula not initially included in
the new kingdom were Venetia, which was under the control of the Austrians,
and Rome, which was under the Pope, who was still backed by French troops.
In 1866, Italy joined Prussia in a war against Austria. When the Prussians
won, Italy’s reward was Venetia. When, in 1870, French troops withdrew from
Rome so they could be used to defend France against Prussia; Italian forces
seized Rome, which became the capital of the kingdom. Italian unity had at
last been obtained more by diplomacy and astute timing than by military
Unification of Germany
At the beginning of the 19th century, Germany was a vast mosaic of states.
This formed a part of the Holy Roman Empire. The two largest states in it were
formed of the territorial possessions of Austria and Prussia. There were some
Modern World History
secondary states in northern and central Germany. There were hundreds of
small states. Some were free cities and others were ecclesiastical states. The
Holy Roman Emperor, who for the past 300 years had been chosen from the
Hapsburg family of the Austrians, was now only a formal authority. People of
varied blood spread in Germany. The confederation of Rhine had already been
formed by Napoleon I. He had prepared the ground for the unification of
Germany. He reduced the number of German states by combining smaller
states with the larger ones. These states were united to form the Rhine
As the sentiments of the Germans were crushed, Napoleon’s power in
Germany was undermined. Besides this, there was also a predominance of the
diplomats like Metternich who crushed the liberal movements of the Germans
(1815 - 1848). One remarkable fact was that the Prussian Emperor framed a
federal constitution for the people of Germany, which was highly opposed by
The nationalist movement made progress only after 1848. The German
empire is the result of the policy of blood and iron carried out by Prussia in the
three wars which were crowded into the brief period of six years, i.e. 18641870. Prussia was in favor of German unification and was opposed to Austria.
A new era begins with the coming of Bismarck in German history. He
became the chancellor of Germany. He deprived Austria from assuming the
leadership of Germany. He approved the unification of Germany under the able
and supportive leadership of Prussia. Bismarck made friendship with France
and also Russia. This was against Austria. He succeeded in his policy of blood
and iron. He accomplished the Unification of Germany and crowned the
Prussian King as the Emperor of Germany. For carrying out his policy ahead,
he had to wage three wars, with Austria, France and Denmark.
The issue of Schleswig and Holstein
These two duchies were under Denmark, but they widely differed in
constitution and were organized as a territory of Denmark. The Duchy of
Holstein was a part of German federation. The people of Denmark and
Germany lived together in these two duchies. A conflict over the issue of
nationalism arose between them. Both Germany and Denmark desired to
capture the duchies.
The King of Denmark desired the possession of the two duchies, Schleswig
and Holstein. The Duke of Augustenberg opposed this. Even Prussia and
Germany were against this move. The new King of Denmark took possession of
Schleswig in 1863.
A war broke out between Austria and Prussia in 1864. The treaty of Vienna
was signed this year. According to this, the two duchies were to be handed
over to Prussia and Austria. However, Bismarck played his own game, and so
even though Austria got Holstein, she was unhappy and discontented.
After the violation of the Treaty of Gastein, Austria was badly insulted by
Prussia. As it was very humiliating, Austria declared war with Prussia. During
this war the army of Prussia captured Holstein and Austria was rooted from
here. Bismarck signed a treaty with Italy and France and as according to
treaty, they remained neutral in the war. However, Italy also promised to give
military aid to Bismarck. She was defeated in the battle of Custozza and
Laussa. In the war of Sadowa, Prussia defeated Austria.
Modern World History
The Treaty of Prague
According to this treaty Austria lost Venetia to Italy and Holstein to Prussia.
Austria also had to pay heavy war indemnities. The previous German
Federation was dissolved and the North German Federation was established.
The North German States were merged with Prussia.
Relations with France (1870)
France was opposed to the German unification. Napoleon III was jealous of
the growing power of Prussia and the influence she had over German affairs.
The policy adopted by Napoleon III failed and the French turned against him.
At this time Austria and England, not to mention Russia, sided with Bismarck.
During the war, France was badly defeated. Napoleon III had to surrender after
the war of Sedan and was taken prisoner. In France, a Third Republic was
established. She had to accept the decisions of Frankfurt and pay war
indemnities. Later, even Alsace and Lorraine were handed over to Prussia.
The Final German Unification
The United German National Federation was established and the Prussian
Emperor was declared the Emperor of the whole of Germany. A cabinet of
ministers and a bicameral legislature was formed to assist the new Emperor in
this administration of the nation. The North German federation became the
German Empire.
Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)
Bismarck was responsible for transforming a collection of small German
states into the German empire, and was its first chancellor.
Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck was born into an aristocratic family at
Schönhausen, northwest of Berlin, on 1 April 1815. He attended a prestigious
school in Berlin followed by the University of Göttingen. He then entered the
Prussian civil service but was bored by his job and in 1838 resigned. For
nearly a decade, he helped his father manage the family estates.
In 1847, Bismarck married Johanna von Puttkamer, who provided him with
stability. It was a year of significant change in his life, when he also embraced
the Christian tradition of Lutheranism, and began his political career in the
Prussian legislature, where he gained a reputation as an ultra-conservative
royalist. In 1851, King Frederick Wilhelm IV appointed Bismarck as Prussian
representative to the German Confederation. He then served as ambassador to
Russia and France. In 1862, he returned to Prussia and was appointed prime
minister by the new king, Wilhelm I.
Bismarck was now determined to unite the German states into a single
empire, with Prussia at its core. With Austrian support, he used the expanded
Prussian army to capture the provinces of Schleswig and Holstein from
Denmark. He then escalated a quarrel with Austria and its German allies over
the administration of these provinces into a war, in which Prussia was the
victor. Prussia then annexed further territory in Germany.
Unable to persuade the southern German states to join with his North
German Confederation, he provoked hostilities with France as a way of uniting
the German states together. The German victory in the Franco-Prussian War
won over the southern German states, and in 1871 they agreed to join a
German empire. Wilhelm I of Prussia became emperor.
As 'chancellor' of the new Germany, Bismarck concentrated on building a
powerful state with a unified national identity. One of his targets was the
Modern World History
Catholic Church, which he believed had too much influence, particularly in
southern Germany. He also worked to prevent the spread of socialism, partly
by introducing health insurance and pensions.
Abroad, Bismarck aimed to make the German empire the most powerful in
Europe. In 1879, he negotiated an alliance with Austria-Hungary to counteract
France and Russia. Italy later joined the alliance. To avoid alienating Britain,
Bismarck arranged the two Mediterranean Agreements of 1887, designed to
preserve the status quo against a Russian threat.
In 1890, Bismarck resigned after disagreeing with the new emperor,
Wilhelm II. He retired to his estate near Hamburg and died there on 30 July
Modern World History
The Industrial Revolution was a significant landmark in the history of
mankind. No other event in modern history; has had such a tremendous effect
on the life of the common man and it has opened up wider vistas of human
1. Meaning
The term 'Industrial Revolution' was first used by the historian Arnold
Toynbee, to describe the economic development in England, from 1760 to
1840. Charles Beard gives a good description of the Industrial Revolution,
which he calls a great transformation brought about by discoveries and
inventions that changed the methods of production and distribution of the
means of life and of the economic functions of society. During the 18th
century, Britain and Europe witnessed this transformation caused by the mass
production of consumer goods with the help of the newly invented machines.
The Industrial Revolution thus refers to the transformation in the method of
production, from man-made, to machine made goods. Being mechanical in
nature, the Industrial Revolution was peaceful. However it proved to be
destructive as well as constructive, and indeed very noisy.
2. Features of the Industrial Revolution
There were several outstanding features of the Industrial Revolution:
There was a change from the ’Domestic System’ to the ’Factory System.’ In
the Domestic System, people used to work in their own homes, on handoperated machinery that they owned. The capitalists distributed the raw
material to the people and collected the finished product, by paying wages for
it. However, in the Factory System, many workmen were assembled in one
unit. They worked on power-driven machines, under supervision, thus
establishing a wage tie between capital and labor.
1. Under the Domestic System, there was a very small output. Under the
Factory System, large quantities of goods could be manufactured, owing
to power driven machines and mass production.
2. Manufacturers used new basic materials such as iron and steel.
3. New energy sources like coal, electricity, petroleum and steam were
made use of.
4. New machines were invented such as the Spinning Jenny, the Power
Loom, the Cotton Gin, Davy’s Safety Lamp and the Steam Engine.
5. Science was increasingly applied to industry.
6. There was an agrarian revolution, which made a great improvement in
the quality and quantity in agriculture.
7. Finally the Industrial Revolution introduced radical socio-economic,
political, cultural and psychological changes in society.
3. Origin of the Industrial Revolution.
Modern World History
The Industrial Revolution first started in England from where it rapidly
spread to the U.S.A. and later to Europe. Several factors were responsible for
the advent of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain.
1. England had sufficient money to finance new industries. Overseas trade,
commerce and industry were encouraged by England's naval supremacy.
2. There was political and social stability in England, so people could invest
their savings in new enterprises.
3. England began to manufacture practical and inexpensive articles, which
could be exported if they were produced on a large scale. Hence England
invented new techniques and machines to produce such articles.
4. Many agriculturists, who became unemployed owing to the Agriculture
Revolution, were available as laborers in mills, factories and workshops. These
laborers were able to move freely from place to place for jobs in factories. Coal,
a cheap fuel, was available in large quantities for running factories, mills and
5. Napoleon’s Continental System of preventing the import of English goods
into Europe enabled England to blockade the continental ports. Thus England
bought raw materials at low rates and supplied finished products at high
prices to her colonies.
6. Many Spanish and French artisans who were persecuted owing to their
religion went and settled down in England, thus giving an impetus to English
7. The English colonies were ruthlessly exploited for raw materials and as
markets for finished products.
8. Scientific discoveries were encouraged by the Royal Society of London. The
inventive genius of the English, as seen in scientists like Sir Humphrey Davy,
George Stephenson, Dr. Edmund Cartwright and James Watt, favored the
Industrial Revolution.
9. New inventions and new methods of production went hand in hand, giving
rise to many factories over a span of a hundred years in Britain's countryside.
4. Course of the Industrial Revolution.
Textile Industry.
The Industrial Revolution first started in the textile industry in England, in
the techniques of ’spinning’ as well as of ’weaving’.
1. Hargreaves’ Spinning Jenny, 1764: Spinning was an extremely slow
process, with the spinner spinning only one thread at a time, with the
help of the spinning wheel. In 1764, James Hargreaves invented a
machine called the ’Spinning Jenny.’ It enabled a spinner to spin as
many as eight to ten threads at a time, on his new machine. This
increased the production of yarn.
2. Arkwright’s Water-Frame, 1769: In 1769, Richard Arkwright invented
a machine run by waterpower instead of manpower. Hence it came to be
called the ’Water-Frame’. This second machine could produce stronger
and finer yarn than the Spinning Jenny. It increased the production of
threads to a very great degree, as it worked on water force.
3. Crompton’s Spinning Mule, 1778: Samuel Crompton removed the defects of
the Spinning Jenny and Water Frame, with his machine known as ’Spinning
Modern World History
Mule’. A spinner could now spin threads of stronger and better quality on this
4. Cartwright’s Automatic Loom, 1785: In 1733, John Kay had invented a
device called the ’Flying Shuttle’, which speeded up the weaving of cloth. It
helped the weaver to do the work of two or three people at a time. In 1785, Dr.
Edmund Cartwright invented the Automatic or Power Loom. It could do the
work of many people at a time, since it worked on waterpower.
5. Whitney’s Cotton Gin, 1793: Eli Whitney invented a machine called the
’Cotton Gin.’ It separated the seeds from the fibres of raw cotton. So cotton
could be produced in large quantities for spinning and weaving of cloth.
Eventually, inventions were made involving new techniques and processes for
bleaching, dyeing and printing fabrics.
Basic Industrial Materials.
1. Coal: Wood was used in large quantities as a fuel in Great Britain, before
the Industrial Revolution. However, as the supply of timber diminished, and
since wood was not able to withstand the strain of new techniques and
processes, coal and steel was brought into use by industrialists. Thus coal
mining became an important industry.
2. Davy’s Safety Lamp, 1816: In 1816, Sir Humphry Davy invented a machine
called Davy’s Safety Lamp.’ It could save the lives of the miners by giving them
a warning, in case of any danger in the mines.
3. Steel: Large Quantities of iron and steel were required to make new
machines. This led to the establishment of smelting plants and foundries in
Great Britain. In 1856, Henry Bessemer discovered a process by which
impurities could be removed from iron. This purified refined iron came to be
known as ’steel’, which helped in making more accurate tools, implements,
weapons and machines.
Transport and Communication.
1. Macadam’s Roads (1756-1836): John Macadam found out a new process of
road building. Heavy stones were placed at the bottom of the roadbed and
smaller stones at the top, with a mud-binder between them, in order to
produce a hard surface. Later, tar was used in place of mud binder. These
Macadamized roads became popular in Great Britain, and also in the U.S.A.,
Canada and France.
2. Trevithick’s Locomotive (1801): Since roads were not sufficient to meet the
needs of transportation, railroads became necessary. Therefore in 1801,
Richard Trevithick invented the first steam locomotive.
3. Stephenson’s Rocket (1814): George Stephenson is regarded as ’the father of
the railway locomotive’, because he made great improvements on Trevithick’s
locomotive in his ’Rocket’ in 1814. It moved at a speed of twenty nine miles an
4. Canals: John Smeaton (1724-1792) built the Forth and Clyde canals, while
Charles Telford constructed the Ellesmere canal and the Caledonian Canal.
5. Fulton’s Clermont (1807): In 1807, Robert Fulton invented the steamboat
called the ’Clermont’. It completed the one hundred and fifty five-mile trip on
the River Hudson from New York to Albany, in thirty-two hours, at a speed of
about five miles an hour.
Motive Force
Modern World History
1. Steam Power: Initially manpower and river water was used as the motive
force in order to run all kinds of machines. However, this proved to be
inadequate, when the new machines were invented. Further water and windpower proved to be limited resources. Hence, a new motive force was sought
and discovered in the form of steam power.
2. Steam Engine (1705): Thomas Newcomer invented the first steam engine in
1705, in order to pump water out of the mines.
3. Watt’s Beelzebub (1769): In 1769, James Watt invented a better steam
engine called the ’Beelzebub.’ This engine was also used to shift spinning and
weaving machines in the textile industries.
4. Electricity: In 1800, Giuseppe Count Alexandra Volta invented the Voltaic
Cell and Michael Faraday invented the Dynamo. These inventions led to the
production of electric power, which was widely used in industries.
1. Tull’s seed Drill: Jethro Tull (1674-1740) experimented with farming on a
scientific basis. He invented a Seed Drill that would distribute the seeds evenly
in rows, over a large piece of land.
2. Townsend’s Crop Rotation: The discovery of a new method of ’Crop
Rotation’, was made by Viscount Townsend (1674-1738). This enabled one to
keep land always under cultivation, without letting it lie idle for a season. This
helped to double the yield per acre.
3. Scientific Breeding of Animals: Robert Bake well (1725-1795) introduced
scientific breeding of farm animals. He found through experiments, that by
selective breeding of farm animals, he could improve the quality of cattle,
horses and sheep.
5. Spread of the Industrial Revolution.
Though the Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain, it soon spread to
Europe and the U.S.A. Thus machines for industry were imported from
England, by Belgium, France and Germany. In these countries, bobbin lace
machines, textile machines, as well as industries for making the machines, led
to the spread of the Industrial Revolution on the Continent. England
maintained her industrial lead. However, the French textile manufacturers
produced cloth that was excellent in design and quality. So also Germany was
renowned for fine metal products. A huge industrial empire was also
established in the U.S.A. With further inventions of the automobile, aero plane,
radio, telephone and television in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Industrial
Revolution spread throughout the world, where it still continues as an ongoing
process in various countries.
6. Consequences of the Industrial Revolution.
The Industrial Revolution revolutionized art, architecture, literature and
science, as also the social, economic, political and cultural life of the people.
A. There were several Economic Effects.
 Under the Factory system there was large-scale production. This resulted in
a low cost of production per unit. There was also uniformity and a high quality
in production.
Modern World History
 There was a growth of joint stock companies or corporations. Ownership
passed from individuals or partnership to joint stock companies or
There was a growth of industrial combination of independent firms. This was
known as the Trust Movement in Britain.
 Commerce and banking became worldwide in its scope.
 It led to the development of capitalism, since the capitalists owned the
means of production like wealth, land and machinery. Hence the capitalists
became the supreme masters of industry.
Two classes, the capitalist and the laboring classes were created by the
Revolution. The capitalists were the masters of industries, the managers of
mills and the proprietors of workshops, who amassed great wealth, owing to a
high profit margin. The laboring class was a mere tool in the factories. Thus,
the gap between the rich and the poor went on widening.
England grew very wealthy on account of industrialization. It became a leading
country, in the field of industry, trade, commerce and finance.
B. The Industrial Revolution also had many Social effects.
1. The Revolution had a harmful effect on family life. All the family members
used to help the head of the family, in the family profession before the advent
of the Revolution. With the Revolution, the father and at times, the entire
family shifted to a nearby city for employment in factories and mills. This led
to the growth of new cities in Great Britain, which broadened the people’s
2. The cities were overcrowded, owing to migration from villages and also
because of high birth rates. The housing shortage in the city forced people to
live in dull and dingy rooms. It also led to the creation of slums, which caused
various diseases and premature deaths.
3. Where the parents were too old, the children had to earn. The easy
availability of women and children for working in mills, led to low wages and
unemployment. The factory owners preferred to employ unskilled workers,
since they were cheaper.
4. Home life was poisoned due to such pathetic conditions. The standards of
morality decreased. Women and children imitated such vices as drinking,
which were noticeable only among men.
5. Finally, the comforts and luxuries in people’s lives increased, owing to the
inventions in the various fields. The new means of transport and
communications and the new methods of production served to be a boon to
mankind in an important way.
C. The Industrial Revolution encouraged Colonialism and Imperialism.
England, the U.S.A., Russia and many European countries built large colonial
empires. They needed colonies for securing raw materials at low prices for their
industries. They also used the colonies as markets for setting their finished
products at high prices.
D. However, many problems were created for labor.
1. The life of the working classes grew miserable and burdensome. A factory or
mill worker toiled for fourteen or sixteen hours a day. Many factories or mills
Modern World History
had no sanitation facilities. They did not even have safety guards on machines
which led to frequent accidents. There were no provisions for the care of the
injured and the sick.
2. In 1800, parliamentary laws in England forbid the formation of trade
unions. In 1825, some liberals persuaded Parliament to legalize trade unions.
After this, many trade unions were formed everywhere in Europe and in the
U.S.A. Their main demands included an eight- hour workday, the right of trade
unions to bargain collectively with the employer, sanitary and safer working
conditions, enhanced wages and prohibition of child labor.
3. In 1867, the Reform Act was passed, permitting the workers of Great Britain
to enjoy these political rights. In the U.S.A. as well as in most of the
industrialized countries of Europe, workers were allowed to enjoy political
4. The workers then agitated for social legislation that would improve their
working and living conditions. In 1880, Germany, under Chancellor Bismarck,
undertook social legislation providing for accident insurance, regulation of
child labor, maximum hours of work, old age insurance and inspection and
supervision of factories and mines by government. Other countries also
imitated Germany’s attempt to aid labor.
E. Growth of Socialism and Communism.
Social evils sprang up, owing to the factory system and communism. Some
early socialists like Saint Simon, Charles Fourier, Louis Blanc and Robert
Owen stood up to remove these evils. They were called the Utopians. The
socialist movement was a peaceful one up to 1848. It aimed at eliminating the
capitalist class and substituting some form of working class ownership and
control of the means of production. In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
issued the ’Communist Manifesto’ which introduced scientific socialism or
Communism. Later, in 1867, Marx and Engels published the first of three
volumes, entitled Das Capital, in which they explained the sum and substance
of Marxian Socialism or Communism. The ideas of Marx influenced world
thought. Thereafter Soviet Russia adopted Communism, while other European
countries like Britain and France began to follow socialism.
One of the most important features of the Industrial Revolution was the rise
of the Factory System, and the recasting of the whole industrial organization of
the kingdom. When "power" replaced human muscles in driving machines,
employers largely ceased to give their work out to men and women who bought
or hired machines for use in their own homes. Instead, they gathered all the
machines together in a single factory, or mill, where the "power" could be
applied to all at once with the least trouble and expense. And thither the
workers had to come, so that the man now came to the machine, not the
machine to the man.
Thus the factory system grew up. All over the coal and iron fields great
towns sprang into existence. The old "domestic," or home, system of industry
and the combination of agriculture with manufacture disappeared for ever.
Enormous businesses were built up, employing armies of workmen; the whole
character of industry changed, becoming far more adventurous and
speculative; year by year England sent more and more goods to seek markets
Modern World History
all over the world; and the wealth of the nation, and the power and importance
of the commercial classes, grew ever greater.
The British Agricultural Revolution was the unprecedented increase in
agricultural production in England due to increases in labour and land
productivity that took place between 1690 and 1800, although it had its
beginnings in the 17th century.
One factor was the move in crop mixing to turnips and clover in place of
fallow in the late eighteenth century. Turnips can be grown in winter and are
deep rooted, allowing them to gather minerals unavailable to shallow rooted
crops. Clover fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere into a form of fertilizer. This
permitted the intensive arable cultivation of light soils on enclosed farms. By
1750, agricultural output grew faster than the population. This increase in the
food supply allowed the population of England and Wales to increase from 5.5
million in 1700 to over 9 million by 1801. Because the Agricultural Revolution
freed up labour, providing an escape from the Malthusian trap, it is often cited
as one of the causes of the Industrial Revolution.
Major developments and innovations
The British Agricultural Revolution was the result of the complex interaction
of social, economic and farming technology changes. Major developments and
innovations include:
 Norfolk four-course crop rotation: Fodder crops, particularly turnips and
clover, replaced leaving the land fallow.
 The Dutch improved the Chinese plough so that it could be pulled with
fewer oxen or horses.
 Enclosure: the removal of common rights to establish exclusive ownership of
 Higher output of livestock due to more intensive farming with higher labour
 Development of a national market free of tariffs, tolls and customs barriers
 Transportation infrastructures, such as improved roads, canals and, later,
 Land conversion, land drains and reclamation
 Increase in farm size
.Selective breeding
Crop rotation
One of the most important innovations of the British Agricultural Revolution
was the development of the Norfolk four-course rotation, which greatly
increased crop and livestock yields by improving soil fertility and reducing
Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops
in the same area in sequential seasons to help restore plant nutrients and
mitigate the build-up of pathogens and pests that often occurs when one plant
species is continuously cropped. Rotation can also improve soil structure and
fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants. Turnip roots, for
example, can recover nutrients from deep under the soil. The Norfolk System,
as it is now known, rotates crops so that different crops are planted with the
result that different kinds and quantities of nutrients are taken from the soil
as the plants grow.
Modern World History
During the Middle Ages, the open field system had initially used a two-field
crop rotation system where one field was left fallow or turned into pasture for a
time to try to recover some of its plant nutrients. Later they employed a three
year, three field crop rotation routine, with a different crop in each of two
fields, e.g. oats, rye, wheat, and barley with the second field growing a legume
like peas or beans, and the third field fallow. Normally from 10–30% of the
arable land in a three crop rotation system is fallow. Each field was rotated
into a different crop nearly every year. Over the following two centuries, the
regular planting of legumes such as peas and beans in the fields that were
previously fallow slowly restored the fertility of some croplands. The planting of
legumes helped to increase plant growth in the empty field due to
the bacteria on legume roots' ability to fix nitrogen (N2) from the air into the
soil in a form that plants could use. Other crops that were occasionally grown
were flax and members of themustard family.
Convertible husbandry was the alternation of a field between pasture and
grain. Because nitrogen builds up slowly over time in pasture, ploughing up
pasture and planting grains resulted in high yields for a few years. A big
disadvantage of convertible husbandry was the hard work in breaking up
pastures and difficulty in establishing them. The significance of convertible
husbandry is that it introduced pasture into the rotation.
The farmers in Flanders (in parts of France and current day Belgium)
discovered a still more effective four-field crop rotation system,
using turnips and clover (a legume) as forage crops to replace the three-year
crop rotation fallow year.
The four-field rotation system allowed farmers to restore soil fertility and
restore some of the plant nutrients removed with the crops. Turnips first show
up in the probate records in England as early as 1638 but were not widely
used till about 1750. Fallow land was about 20% of the arable area in England
in 1700 before turnips and clovers were extensively grown. Guano and nitrates
from South America were introduced in the mid-19th century and fallow
steadily declined to reach only about 4% in 1900.[7] Ideally, wheat, barley,
turnips and clover would be planted in that order in each field in successive
years. The turnips helped keep the weeds down and were an excellent forage
crop—ruminant animals could eat their tops and roots through a large part of
the summer and winters. There was no need to let the soil lie fallow as clover
would re-add nitrates (nitrogen-containing salts) back to the soil. The clover
made excellent pasture and hay fields as well as green manure when it was
ploughed under after one or two years. The addition of clover and turnips
allowed more animals to be kept through the winter, which in turn produced
more milk, cheese, meat and manure, which maintained soil fertility.
The mix of crops also changed, replacing some low-yielding types, such as
rye, with higher-yielding types such as wheat or barley. Grain yields also
increased as new and better seed was introduced. Wheat yields increased by
about 25% between 1700 and 1800, and then by about another 50% between
1800 and 1850.
The Dutch and Rotherham swing (wheel-less) plough
The Dutch acquired the iron tipped, curved moldboard, adjustable
depth plough from the Chinese in the early 17th century. It had the advantage
of being able to be pulled by one or two oxen compared to the six or eight
Modern World History
needed by the heavy wheeled northern European plough. The Dutch plough
was brought to Britain by Dutch contractors who were hired to drain East
Anglican fens and Somerset moors. The plough was extremely successful on
wet, boggy soil, but soon was used on ordinary land.
British improvements included Joseph Foljambe's cast iron plough
(patented 1730), which combined an earlier Dutch design with a number of
innovations. Its fittings and coulter were made of iron and the mouldboard and
share were covered with an iron plate, making it easier to pull and more
controllable than previous ploughs. By the 1760s Foljambe was making large
numbers of these ploughs in a factory outside of Rotherham, England, using
standard patterns with interchangeable parts. The plough was easy for a
blacksmith to make, but by the end of the 18th century it was being made in
rural foundries. By 1770 it was the cheapest and best plough available. It
spread to Scotland, America, and France.
Europe, agriculture was feudal since
the Middle
traditional open field system, many subsistence farmers cropped strips of land
in large fields held in common, and divided the produce. They typically worked
under the auspices of the aristocracy or the Catholic Church, which owned
much of the land.
As early as the 12th century, some fields in England tilled under the open
field system were enclosed into individually owned fields. The Black in 1349
and on sparked the break-up of the feudal system in England. Many farms
were bought by yeomen who enclosed their property and improved the use of
their land. More secure control of the land allowed the owner to make
innovations that improved yields. Other husbandmen rented property they
"share cropped" with the land owners. Many of these enclosures were
accomplished by acts of Parliament in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The process of enclosing property accelerated in the 15th and 16th
centuries. The more productive enclosed farms meant that fewer farmers were
needed to work the same land, leaving many villagers without land and grazing
rights. Many of them moved to the cities in search of work in the emerging
factories of the Industrial Revolution. Others settled in the English
colonies. English Poor Laws were enacted to help these newly poor.
Some practices of enclosure were denounced by the Church, and legislation
was drawn up against it; but the large, enclosed field was needed for the gains
in agricultural productivity from the 16th to 18th centuries. This controversy
led to a series of government acts, culminating in the General Enclosure Act of
1801 which sanctioned large-scale land reform.
The process of enclosure was largely complete by the end of the 18th
Development of a national market
Markets were widespread by 1500 with about 800 locations in Britain.
These were regulated and not free. The most important development between
the 16th century and the mid-19th century was the development of private
marketing. By the 19th century, marketing was nation-wide and the vast
majority of agricultural production was for market rather than for the farmer
and his family. The 16th-century market radius was about 10 miles, which
could support a town of 10,000.
Modern World History
The next stage of development was trading between markets, requiring
merchants, credit and forward sales, knowledge of markets and pricing and of
supply and demand in different markets. Eventually the market evolved into a
national one driven by London and other growing cities. By 1700, there was a
national market for wheat.
Legislation regulating middlemen required registration, addressed weights
and measures, fixing of prices and collection of tolls by the government.
Market regulations were eased in 1663, when people were allowed some selfregulation to hold inventory, but it was forbidden to withhold commodities
from the market in an effort to increase prices. In the late 18th century, the
idea of “self regulation” was gaining acceptance.
The lack of internal tariffs, customs barriers and feudal tolls made Britain
“the largest coherent market in Europe”.
Transportation infrastructures
High wagon transportation costs made it uneconomical to ship commodities
very far outside the market radius by road, generally limiting shipment to less
than 20 or 30 miles to market or to a navigable waterway. Water transport
was, and in some cases still is, much more efficient than land transport. In the
early 19th century it cost as much to transport a ton of freight 32 miles by
wagon over an unimproved road as it did to ship it 3000 miles across the
Atlantic. A horse could pull at most one ton of freight on a Macadam road,
which was multi-layer stone covered and crowned, with side drainage. But a
single horse could pull a barge weighing over 30 tons.
Commerce was aided by the expansion of roads and inland waterways. Road
transport capacity grew from threefold to fourfold from 1500 to 1700.
Railroads would eventually reduce the cost of land transport by over 95%;
however they did not become important until after 1850.
Land conversion, drainage and reclamation
Another way to get more land was to convert some pasture land into arable
land and recover fen land and some pastures. It is estimated that the amount
of arable land in Britain grew by 10–30% through these land conversions.
The British Agricultural Revolution was aided by land maintenance
advancements in Flanders, and the Netherlands. Due to the large and dense
population of Flanders and Holland, farmers there were forced to take
maximum advantage of every inch of usable land; the country had become a
pioneer in canal building, soil restoration and maintenance, soil drainage, and
land reclamation technology. Dutch experts like Cornelius Vermuyden brought
some of this technology to Britain.
Water-meadows were utilized in the late 16th to the 20th centuries and
allowed earlier pasturing of livestock after they were wintered on hay. This
increased livestock yields, giving more hides, meat, milk, and manure as well
as better hay crops.
Rise in capitalist farmers
With the development of regional markets and eventually a national market,
aided by improved transportation infrastructures, farmers were no longer
dependent on their local market and were less subject to having to sell at low
prices into an oversupplied local market and not being able to sell their
surpluses to distant localities that were experiencing shortages. They also
Modern World History
became less subject to price fixing regulations. Farming became a business
rather than solely a means of subsistence.[21]
Under free market capitalism, farmers had to remain competitive. To be
successful, farmers had to become effective managers who incorporated the
latest farming innovations in order to be low cost producers.
Selective breeding
England, Robert
Bakewell and Thomas
Coke introduced selective
breeding as a scientific practice, mating together two animals with particularly
desirable characteristics, and also using inbreeding or the mating of close
relatives, such as father and daughter, or brother and sister, to stabilize
certain qualities in order to reduce genetic diversity in desirable animals
programmes from the mid-18th century. Arguably, Bakewell's most important
breeding programme was with sheep. Using native stock, he was able to
quickly select for large, yet fine-boned sheep, with long, lustrous wool.
The Lincoln Longwoolwas improved by Bakewell, and in turn the Lincoln was
used to develop the subsequent breed, named the New (or Dishley) Leicester. It
was hornless and had a square, meaty body with straight top lines. Bakewell
was also the first to breed cattle to be used primarily for beef. Previously, cattle
were first and foremost kept for pulling ploughs as oxen or for dairy uses, with
beef from surplus males as an additional bonus, but he crossed long-horned
heifers and a Westmoreland bull to eventually create the Dishley Longhorn. As
more and more farmers followed his lead, farm animals increased dramatically
in size and quality. In 1700, the average weight of a bull sold for slaughter was
370 pounds (168 kg). By 1786, that weight had more than doubled to 840
pounds (381 kg).
British Agricultural Revolution in perspective
Despite its name, the Agricultural Revolution in Britain did not result in
crop yields nearly as high as in China, where intensive cultivation had been
practiced for many centuries. The British Agricultural Revolution's significance
is the rate of increase in food supply compared to population growth, and the
market conditions and technological changes that were happening when it
British agriculture 1800–1900
New fertilizers, besides the organic fertilizers in manure, were slowly found
as massive sodium nitrate (NaNO3) deposits found in the Atacama
Desert, Chile, were brought under British financiers like John Thomas
Northand imports were started. Chile was happy to allow the exports of these
sodium nitrates by allowing the British to use their capital to develop the
mining and imposing a hefty export tax to enrich their treasury. Massive
deposits of sea bird guano (11–16% N, 8–12% phosphate, and 2–3% potash),
were found and started to be imported after about 1830. Significant imports
of potash obtained from the ashes of trees burned in opening new agricultural
lands were imported. By-products of the British meat industry like bones from
the knacker's yards were ground up or crushed and sold as fertilizer. By about
1840 about 30,000 tons of bones were being processed (worth about
£150,000). An unusual alternative to bones was found to be the millions of
tons of fossils called coprolites found in South East England. When these were
dissolved insulphuric acid they yielded a high phosphate mixture (called
"super phosphate") that plants could absorb readily and increased crop yields.
Modern World History
Mining coprolite and processing it for fertilizer soon developed into a major
industry—the first commercial fertilizer. Higher yield per acre crops were also
planted as potatoes went from about 300,000 acres in 1800 to about 400,000
acres in 1850 with a further increase to about 500,000 in 1900. [31]Labour
productivity slowly increased at about 0.6% per year. With more capital
invested, more organic and inorganic fertilizers, and better crop yields
increased the food grown at about 0.5%/year—not enough to keep up with
population growth.
The British population in 1800 was about 8.7 million increasing to 16.7
million in 1851 and 41.6 million by 1901. This corresponds to a rate of
population increase from 1801 to 1851 of 1.84% per year and a rate of
population increase of 3.00% per year from 1851 to 1901. Not only did the
need for more food increase but the need for more shoes, clothes, carriages,
horses, homes, and furniture increased at the same or a greater rate as more
products became available. The fast-growing coal mining industry could
provide plentiful coal for heating. Burning all this coal gave London a severe
smog problem during nearly all winter months. Canals,macadam roads, and
after about 1832 railroads helped lower the cost of transportation of people,
coal, agricultural, and industrial products. The rate of population increase was
much faster than the rate of increased agricultural yield per acre (hectare),
which increased at about a rate of 0.5% per year from 1800 to 1850 and 0.2%
per year from 1850 to 1900.[32]
In addition to needing more land for cultivation there was also needed more
pasture land to grow more poultry, livestock, and draft horses and other
agricultural products. The British Agricultural Statistics for this period show
this competition for more land for cultivation and more land for pasturage in
Britain was won by the need for more pasture as the arable land actually
decreased from about 7.5 million hectares in 1800 to about 6.0 million
hectares in 1900. The number of acres under wheat cultivation decreased from
about 1.5 million hectares in 1800 to about 0.6 million hectares in 1900.
So many cheap agricultural imports were coming into Britain after
the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) and the resumption of American trade after
the War of 1812 (1812–1815) that the Corn Laws (protective tariffs) were
passed to protect cereal grain producers in Britain against competition from less
expensive imports. These laws were in force between 1815 and 1846. The Corn
Laws were removed in 1846 at the onset of the potato blight hitting much of
Europe. The blight that ruined most of the Irish potato crop and brought
devastation to the Irish people in 1846–50 also occurred in England, Wales,
and Scotland, and the rest of Europe. The effect of the potato late blight
(Phytophthora infestans) infestation on the potatoes common to Ireland,
known today as Irish Potatoes, was much less in other countries since a much
smaller percentage of the diet of the people of England, Wales, Scotland, and
the rest of Europe was centered on potatoes. In addition the citizens of Britain
had the capital to buy and import more food from other countries—most of the
Irish were too poor to do this. Several hundred thousand Irish died in the Irish
potato famine and several hundred thousand more emigrated to England,
Wales, Scotland, Canada, Australia, Europe, and the United States. This
massive Irish emigration continued till about 1921 when the population had
been reduced from about 8.3 million in 1840 to 4.3 million by 1921.
Modern World History
Between 1873 and 1879 British agriculture had wet summers that damaged
grain crops. Cattle farmers were hit by foot - and - mouth disease and sheep
farmers by sheep liver rot. The poor harvests, however, masked a greater
threat to British agriculture: growing imports of foodstuffs from abroad. The
development of the steam ship and the development of extensive railway
networks in Britain and the USA allowed US farmers with much larger and
more productive farms to export hard grain to Britain at a price that undercut
the British farmers. At the same time, large amounts of cheap corned beef
started to arrive from Argentina, and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869
and the development of refrigerator ships(reefers) in about 1880 opened the
British market to cheap meat and wool from Australia, New Zealand,
and Argentina. The Long Depression was a worldwide economic recession that
began in 1873 and ended around 1896. It hit the agricultural sector hard and
was the most severe in Europe and the United States, which had been
experiencing strong economic growth fuelled by the Second Industrial
Revolution in the decade following the American Civil War. By 1900 half the
meat eaten in Britain came from abroad and tropical fruits such as bananas
were also being imported on the new refrigerator ships.
Seed planting
Before the introduction of the seed drill, the common practice was to plant
seeds by broadcasting (evenly throwing) them across the ground by hand on
the prepared soil and then lightly harrowing the soil to cover the seed. Seeds
left on top of the ground were eaten by birds, insects, and mice. There was no
control over spacing and seeds were planted too close together and too far
apart. Alternately seeds could be laboriously planted one by one using
a hoe and/or a shovel. Cutting down on wasted seed was important because
the yield of seeds harvested to seeds planted at that time was around four or
The seed drill was introduced from China to Italy in the mid-16th century
where it was patented by the Venetian Senate.Jethro Tull invented an
improved seed drill in 1701. It was a mechanical seeder which distributed
seeds evenly across a plot of land and at the correct depth. Tull's seed drill was
very expensive and not very reliable and therefore did not have much of an
impact. Good quality seed drills were not produced until the mid-18th century.
Sound advice on farming began to appear in England in the mid-17th
century, from writers such as Samuel Hartlib, Walter Blith and others, but the
overall agricultural productivity of Britain started to grow significantly only in
the period of the Agricultural Revolution. It is estimated that the productivity
of wheat was about 19 bushels per acre in 1720 and that it had grown to 21–
22 bushels in the middle of the 18th century. It declined slightly in the
decades of 1780 and 1790 but it began to grow again by the end of the century
and reached a peak in the 1840s around 30 bushels per acre, stabilizing
The Agricultural Revolution in Britain proved to be a major turning point in
history. The population in 1750 reached the level of 5.7 million. This had
happened before: in around 1350 and again in 1650. Each time, either the
appropriate agricultural infrastructure to support a population this high was
not present or plague or war occurred (which may have been related), a
Modern World History
Malthusian catastrophe occurred, and the population fell. However, by 1750,
when the population reached this level again, an onset in agricultural
technology and new methods without outside disruption, and also the effects
of sugar imports, allowed the population growth to be sustained.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the substantial gains
in British agricultural productivity were rapidly offset by competition from
cheaper imports, made possible by advances in transportation, refrigeration,
and many other technologies.
(1) First Stage: Monopoly Trade and Plunder:
The first stage had two basic objectives. In order to make trade more
profitable indigenously manufactured goods were to be bought cheap. For this
competitors were to be kept out, whether local or European. Territorial
conquest kept local traders out of the lucrative trade while rival European
companies were defeated in war. Thus, the characteristic of the first stage was
monopoly of trade.
Secondly, the political conquest of the colony enabled plunder and seizure of
surplus. For example, the drain of wealth from India to Britain during the first
stage was considerable. It amounted to two to three% of the national income of
Britain at that time. Colonialism was superimposed on the traditional systems
of economy and polity. No basic changes were introduced in the first stage.
(2) Second Stage: Era of Free Trade:
The interest of the industrial bourgeoisie of the metropolis in the colony was
in the markets available for manufactured goods. For this it was necessary to
increase exports from the colony to pay for purchase of manufactured imports.
The metropolitan bourgeoisie also wanted to develop the colony as a producer
of raw materials to lessen bourgeoisie also wanted to develop the colony as a
producer of raw materials to lessen dependence on non-empire sources.
Increase of exports from the colony would also email it to pay for the high
salaries and profits of merchants. The industrial bourgeoisie opposed plunder
as a form of appropriation of surplus on the ground that it would destroy the
goose that laid the golden eggs.
The colony was to be integrated with the world capitalist economy and the
mother country. Capitalists were allowed to develop plantations, trade,
transport, mining and industries. The system of transport and
communications was developed to facilitate the movement of massive
quantities of raw materials to the ports for export. -Liberal imperialism was the
new political ideology. The rhetoric of the rulers was to train the people in selfgovernment.
(3) Third Stage: Era of Finance Capital:
The third stage saw intense struggle for markets and sources of raw
materials and food grains. Large scale accumulation of capital in the
metropolis necessitated search for avenues for investment abroad. These
interests were best served where the imperial powers had colonies. This led to
more intensive control over the colony in order to protect the interest of the
imperial power.
The third stage often did not take off. Colonialism had so wrecked the
economies of some colonies that they could hardly absorb any capital
Modern World History
investment. In many colonies the older forms of exploitation continued. In
India, for example, the earlier two forms continued, even in the third stage.
Laissez-faire, (French: “allow to do”), policy of minimum governmental
interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society. The origin of the
term is uncertain, but folklore suggests that it is derived from the answer
Jean-Baptiste Colbert, controller general of finance under King Louis XIV of
France, received when he asked industrialists what the government could do
to help business: “Leave us alone.” The doctrine of laissez-faire is usually
associated with the economists known as Physiocrats, who flourished in
France from about 1756 to 1778. The policy of laissez-faire received strong
support in classical as it developed in Great Britain under the influence of
economist and philosopher Adam Smith.
Belief in laissez-faire was a popular view during the 19th century; its
proponents cited the assumption in classical economics of a natural economic
order as support for their faith in unregulated individual activity. The British
economist John Stuart Mill was responsible for bringing this philosophy into
popular economic usage in his Principles of Political Economy (1848), in
which he set forth the arguments for and against government activity in
economic affairs.
Laissez-faire was a political as well as an economic doctrine. The pervading
theory of the 19th century was that the individual, pursuing his own desired
ends, would thereby achieve the best results for the society of which he was a
part. The function of the state was to maintain order and security and to avoid
interference with the initiative of the individual in pursuit of his own desired
goals. But laissez-faire advocates nonetheless argued that government had an
essential role in enforcing contracts as well as ensuring civil order.
The philosophy’s popularity reached its peak around 1870. In the late 19th
century the acute changes caused by industrial growth and the adoption of
mass-production techniques proved the laissez-faire doctrine insufficient as a
guiding philosophy. Although the original concept yielded to new theories that
attracted wider support, the general philosophy still has its advocates.
Socialism is the collective ownership by all the people of the factories, mills,
mines, railroads, land and all other instruments of production. It means
production to satisfy human needs, not as under capitalism, for sale and
Socialism means direct control and management of the industries and social
services by the workers through a democratic government based on their
nationwide economic organization.
Under socialism, all authority will originate from the workers, integrally
united in Socialist Industrial Unions. In each workplace, the rank and file will
elect whatever committees or representatives are needed to facilitate
production. Within each shop or office division of a plant, the rank and file will
participate directly in formulating and implementing all plans necessary for
efficient operations.
Besides electing all necessary shop officers, the workers will also elect
representatives to a local and national council of their industry or service—and
Modern World History
to a central congress representing all the industries and services. This allindustrial congress will plan and coordinate production in all areas of the
All persons elected to any post in the socialist government, from the lowest
to the highest level, will be directly accountable to the rank and file. They will
be subject to removal at any time that a majority of those who elected them
decide it is necessary.
Such a system would make possible the fullest democracy and freedom. It
would be a society based on the most primary freedom—economic freedom.
For individuals, socialism means an end to economic insecurity and
exploitation. It means workers cease to be commodities bought and sold on the
labor market, and forced to work as appendages to tools owned by someone
else. It means a chance to develop all individual capacities and potentials
within a free community of free individuals. It means a classless society that
guarantees full democratic rights for all workers.
Socialism does not mean government or state ownership. It does not mean a
closed party-run system without democratic rights. Those things are the very
opposite of socialism.
"Socialism," as the American Socialist Daniel De Leon defined it, "is that
social system under which the necessaries of production are owned, controlled
and administered by the people, for the people, and under which, accordingly,
the cause of political and economic despotism having been abolished, class
rule is at end. That is socialism, nothing short of that." And we might add,
nothing more than that!
Socialism will be a society in which the things we need to live, work and
control our own lives—the industries, services and natural resources—are
collectively owned by all the people, and in which the democratic organization
of the people within the industries and services is the government. Socialism
means that government of the people, for the people and by the people will
become a reality for the first time.
Socialism has never existed. It did not exist in the old U.S.S.R., and it does
not exist in China. Socialism will be a society in which the things we need to
live, work and control our own lives—the industries, services and natural
resources—are collectively owned by all the people, and in which the
democratic organization of the people within the industries and services is the
government. Socialism means that government of the people, for the people
and by the people will become a reality for the first time.
To win the struggle for socialist freedom requires enormous efforts of
organizational and educational work. It requires building a political party of
socialism to contest the power of the capitalist class on the political field, and
to educate the majority of workers about the need for socialism.It requires
building Socialist Industrial Union organizations to unite all workers in a class
conscious industrial force, and to prepare them to take, hold and operate the
tools of production.
Communism, the political and economic doctrine that aims to replace
private property and a profit-based economy with public ownership and
communal control of at least the major means of production (e.g., mines, mills,
and factories) and the natural resources of a society. Communism is thus a
Modern World History
form of socialism—a higher and more advanced form, according to its
advocates. Exactly how communism differs from socialism has long been a
matter of debate, but the distinction rests largely on the communists’
adherence to the revolutionary socialism of Karl Marx.
Like most writers of the 19th century, Marx tended to use the
terms communism andsocialism interchangeably. In his Critique of the Gotha
Programme (1875), however, Marx identified two phases of communism that
would follow the predicted overthrow of capitalism: the first would be a
transitional system in which the working class would control
the government and economy yet still find it necessary to pay people according
to how long, hard, or well they worked; the second would be fully realized
communism—a society without class divisions or government, in which the
production and distribution of goods would be based upon the principle “From
each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Marx’s followers,
especially the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Ilich Lenin, took up this
In State and Revolution (1917), Lenin asserted that socialism corresponds to
Marx’s first phase of communist society and communism proper to the second.
Lenin and the Bolshevikwing of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’
Party reinforced this distinction in 1918, the year after they seized power in
Russia, by taking the name All-Russian Communist Party. Since then,
communism has been largely, if not exclusively, identified with the form of
political and economic organization developed in the Soviet Union and adopted
subsequently in the People’s Republic of China and other countries ruled by
communist parties.
For much of the 20th century, in fact, about one-third of the world’s
population lived under communist regimes. These regimes were characterized
by the rule of a single party that tolerated no opposition and little dissent. In
place of a capitalist economy, in which individuals compete for profits,
moreover, party leaders established a command economy in which
the state controlled property and its bureaucrats determined wages, prices,
and production goals. The inefficiency of these economies played a large part
in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the remaining communist
economic competition while holding fast to one-party rule. Whether they will
succeed in this endeavour remains to be seen. Succeed or fail, however,
communism is clearly not the world-shaking force it was in the 20th century.
Historical background
Although the term communism did not come into use until the 1840s—it is
derived from the Latin communis, meaning “shared” or “common”—visions of a
society that may be considered communist appeared as long ago as the 4th
century BCE. In the ideal state described in Plato’s Republic, the governing
class of guardians devotes itself to serving the interests of the whole
community. Because private ownership of goods would corrupt their owners by
encouraging selfishness, Plato argued, the guardians must live as a large
family that shares common ownership not only of material goods but also of
spouses and children.
Modern World History
Other early visions of communism drew their inspiration from religion. The
first Christians practiced a simple kind of communism—as described in Acts
4:32–37, for example—both as a form of solidarity and as a way of renouncing
worldly possessions. Similar motives later inspired the formation of monastic
orders in which monks took vows of poverty and promised to share their few
worldly goods with each other and with the poor. The English humanist
Sir Thomas More extended this monastic communism in Utopia (1516), which
describes an imaginary society in which money is abolished and people share
meals, houses, and other goods in common.
Other fictional communistic utopias followed, notably City of the Sun (1623),
by the Italian philosopher Tommaso Campanella, as did attempts to put
communist ideas into practice. Perhaps the most noteworthy (if not notorious)
of the latter was the theocracy of theAnabaptists in the Westphalian city of
Münster (1534–35), which ended with the military capture of the city and the
execution of its leaders. The English Civil Wars (1642–51) prompted
the Diggers to advocate a kind of agrarian communism in which the Earth
would be “a common treasury,” as Gerrard Winstanley envisioned in The Law
of Freedom (1652) and other works. The vision was not shared by
the Protectorate led by Oliver Cromwell, which harshly suppressed the Diggers
in 1650.
It was neither a religious upheaval nor a civil war but a technological and
economic revolution—the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th
centuries—that provided the impetus and inspiration for modern communism.
This revolution, which achieved great gains in economic productivity at the
expense of an increasingly miserable working class, encouraged Marx to think
that the class struggles that dominated history were leading inevitably to a
society in which prosperity would be shared by all through common ownership
of the means of production.
Marxian communism
Karl Marx was born in the German Rhineland to middle-class parents of
Jewish descent who had abandoned their religion in an attempt to assimilate
into an anti-Semitic society. The young Marx studied philosophy at the
University of Berlin and received a doctorate from the University of Jena in
1841, but he was unable, because of his Jewish ancestry and his liberal
political views, to secure a teaching position. He then turned to journalism,
where his investigations disclosed what he perceived as systematic injustice
and corruption at all levels of German society. Convinced that German (and,
more broadly, European) society could not be reformed from within but instead
had to be remade from the ground up, Marx became a political radical. His
views soon brought him to the attention of the police, and, fearing arrest and
imprisonment, he left for Paris. There he renewed an acquaintance with his
countryman Friedrich Engels, who became his friend and coauthor in a
collaboration that was to last nearly 40 years.
The son of the co-owner of a textile firm with factories in Germany and
Britain, Engels was himself a capitalist who helped to manage the firm’s
factory in Manchester. Like Marx, Engels was deeply disturbed by what he
regarded as the injustices of a society divided by class. Appalled by the poverty
Modern World History
and squalor in which ordinary workers lived and worked, he described their
misery in grisly detail in The Condition of the English Working Class (1844).
Marx and Engels maintained that the poverty, disease, and early death that
afflicted the proletariat (the industrial working class) were endemic
to capitalism: they were systemic and structural problems that could be
resolved only by replacing capitalism with communism. Under this alternative
system, the major means of industrial production—such as mines, mills,
factories, and railroads—would be publicly owned and operated for the benefit
of all. Marx and Engels presented this critique of capitalism and a brief sketch
of a possible future communist society in Manifesto of the Communist
Party (1848), which they wrote at the commission of a small group of radicals
called the Communist League.
Marx, meanwhile, had begun to lay the theoretical and (he believed)
scientific foundations of communism, first in The German Ideology (written
1845–46, published 1932) and later inDas Kapital (1867; Capital). His theory
has three main aspects: first, a materialist conception of history; second, a
critique of capitalism and its inner workings; and third, an account of the
revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and its eventual replacement by
Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain which
existed from 1838 to 1858. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 and
was a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in the
north of England, the east Midlands, the Potteries, the Black Country and south
Wales. Support for the movement was at its highest in 1839, 1842 and 1848
when petitions signed by millions of working people were presented to the
House of Commons. The strategy employed was to use the scale of support
which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to
put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage. Chartism thus relied
on constitutional methods to secure its aims, though there were some who
became involved in insurrectionary activities, notably in south Wales and
The Chartist Movement had at its core the so-called "People's Charter" of
1838. This document, created for the London Working Men's Association, was
primarily the work of William Lovett. The charter was a public petition aimed
at redressing omissions from the electoral Reform Act of 1832. It quickly
became a rallying point for working class agitators for social reform, who saw
in it a cure-all for all sorts of social ills. For these supporters the People's
Charter was the first step towards a social and economic utopia. In demanding
so much the supporters of the charter probably ensured its downfall, for the
number of demands probably diluted support for any single demand.
Demands of the People's Charter:
The People's Charter outlined 6 major demands for reform. These were:
 Institution of a secret ballot
 General elections be held annually
 Members of Parliament not be required to own property
 MPs be paid a salary
 Electoral districts of equal size
 Universal male suffrage
Modern World History
The National Convention:
The first gathering of Chartist delegates gathered in London on February 4,
1839. Although 53 delegates came to London, they were aware of laws
forbidding gatherings of more than 50 men, and so took care that no more
than that number were present at any one time. At this gathering the nature of
the divisions that were to trouble the Movement were apparent, as some
delegates favoured violence if necessary, some favoured a general strike, and
there was even talk of electing a "people's parliament. In other words, in
common with many social movements, they could figure out what they were
against, but had a harder time figuring out what to do about it.
The Convention did adopt the motto "peaceably if we may, forcibly if we
must", which may have frightened of those more moderate middle-class
members who might have been persuaded to support their cause. Agitation
continued throughout the spring of 1839, and government troops were used to
ensure order in some areas of the country, notably the north.
Proponents of the charter gathered over 1.25 million signatures in support
of their aims. They presented the charter and the signatures to Parliament
when it gathered in July, 1839. Though supported by future Prime Minister
Benjamin Disraeli, the charter was rejected by the House of Commons by a
vote of 235 to 46. In the wake of this defeat in the Commons, the National
Convention lost its importance and finally dissolved itself in September.
With the national leadership of the Movement no longer effective, local
reformers took charge. The government had many leaders of the movement
arrested or detained. There were outbreaks of violence in several regions,
notably at Newport, where 24 protestors were killed. The suppression of the
Chartists drew further attention to their cause, but the movement in general
failed to cross class lines and gain the necessary support among members of
the ruling aristocracy and landed gentry.
The Chartists attempted to submit their petition to Parliament twice more,
in 1842, when they claimed to have gathered over 31 million signatures of
support, and for a final time in 1848. After this final failure the movement died
Why did Chartism seem a threat to authority? The aims of the Chartists
may seem mild and eminently sensible to modern readers. But to the
government of Victorian England they represented a potential for upheaval and
overthrow of social institutions and entrenched authority. The violent turmoil
of the French Revolution was still fresh in the minds of many in positions of
authority. Rather than being swayed by the sensibilities of the Chartist's
demands, they reacted in fear at the possibility of violent overthrow of society and their own positions.
Why did Chartism fail? Chartism failed for a number of reasons; most
obviously, it failed to gather support in Parliament - not surprising when you
consider the threat it posed to the self-interest of those in power. Equally
important, it failed to gather support from the middle-classes. The demands of
Chartism were too radical for many of the middle-classes, who were
comfortable enough with the status quo. The repeal of the Corn Laws helped
improve the economic climate of Britain, and there was less interest in radical
reform. As well, the mid-19th century spawned a variety of social-reform
Modern World History
groups with special aims, and the Chartist movement lost many of its
members to these other groups.
Why was it a success? Although the Chartist Movement failed to directly
achieve its aims, a good case can be made that the movement itself was not a
failure at all, but a powerful force that resulted in an increased awareness of
social issues and created a framework for future working-class organizations.
Many of the demands of the Chartists were eventually answered in the
electoral reform bills of 1867 and 1864. It also seems likely that the agitation
for reform that the Chartist Movement helped bring to the forefront of British
society was responsible for the repeal of the Corn Laws and other social reforms.
Modern World History
Module I Intellectual Foundations of Modern Era
The French Revolution – Intellectuals - Rousseau – Montesquieu – Voltaire – Diderot –
Declaration of the Rights of Man – End of Feudalism
Napoleon Bonaparte – His Wars – Civilian Works
Vienna Congress
Module II Emergence of Political and National Unification Movements
Parliamentary Reforms in England
Civil War in America – Causes – Emancipation Proclamation
Unification of Italy – Mazini – Garibaldi – Cavour – Charles Albert
Unification of Germany – Blood and Iron policy – Bismark
Module III Economic Revolutions and Colonial Plunder
The Industrial Revolution– Growth of factory system– Inventions in textiles industries, transport
and power– Impact on European economy and society
The Agrarian Revolution- the agricultural capitalism- Colonial Plunder and accumulation of
wealth-New trends and Ideas: Laissez-faire, Socialism, Communism, and Chartism
Books for Reading:
Module I
1. Michael Beard, A History of Capitalism
2. Wallbank and Taylor, Civilization: Past and Present
3. C D M Ketelby, A History of Modern Times
4. Wallerstain Emmanuel, The Modern World System
5. Mark Ferrow, Colonialism: A World History
6. George Rude, The Crowd in History: A Study of Popular Disturbances in France and
England- 1730- 1848
8. George Rude, The French revolution
9. E. J. Hobsbaum, The Age of Capital
10. E. J. Hobsbaum, Nation and Nationalism Since 1780
Module II
1. Michael Beard, A History of Capitalism
2. Wallbank and Taylor, Civilization: Past and Present
3. C D M Ketelby, A History of Modern Times
4. Wallerstain Emmanuel, The Modern World System
5. Mark Ferrow, Colonialism: A World History
6. E. J. Hobsbaum, The Age of Capital
7. E. J. Hobsbaum, Nation and Nationalism Since 1780
Module III
1. Michael Beard, A History of Capitalism
2. Wallbank and Taylor, Civilization: Past and Present
3. C D M Ketelby, A History of Modern Times
4. Wallerstain Emmanuel, The Modern World System
5. Mark Ferrow, Colonialism: A World History
6. E. J. Hobsbaum, The Age of Capital
7. E. J. Hobsbaum, Nation and Nationalism Since 1780
Modern World History
Fly UP