Chapter 29 Outline

The Industrialization of the West, 1760-1914

  1. Introduction
  2. After 1760, the West underwent a series of dramatic transformations in politics, intellectual development, and industrialization. The latter revolution altered basic social patterns, enhanced Europe's position in the world, and marked the path to be taken by other civilizations.

  3. Forces of Change


    1. Introduction
    2. Coming after a period of relative stability, the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution startled contemporary observers.

    3. Intellectual Challenge and Population Pressure
    4. The Enlightenment was one challenge to regimes that failed to enact reforms. A second source of instability was the dramatic population increase that set in after 1730, a result of improved nutrition and a lower rate of infant mortality. Unlike previous epochs, the population increase of the eighteenth century produced more positive responses. Upper- class families attempted to secure their positions, and the social hierarchy became more rigid. Business families attempted to increase their margins of profit, sometimes by the addition of more technology. At the lowest level, the poor were driven to seek new means of employment. Population growth stimulated a surge in production of textiles and metal products, a process called proto-industrialization. Social patterns changed in response to new economic conditions.

    5. The Tide of Revolution, 1789-1830
    6. Intellectual ferment and economic change led to a series of political revolutions.

    7. The American Revolution
    8. The first political upheaval occurred when the British colonies of North America sought their independence after 1775. Colonists objected to new taxes imposed on the colonies after 1763 and to limitations placed on development of the western frontier. Following the Declaration of Independence of 1776, colonists set up a provisional government and proceeded to fight a war against British forces. After forcing the British to come to terms, the colonists established a new constitutional structure in 1789 based on Enlightenment principles.

    9. Crisis in France in 1789
    10. Following the American example, reformers seeking change along Enlightenment lines attacked the inefficiency and autocracy of the French monarchy. Resistance to the government arose in all levels of French society. Cries for reform were met with adamant resistance on the part of the monarchy and the French nobility. In 1789, Louis XVI called a meeting of the French Estates General to consider tax reform, but reformers seized control of the meeting. Reformers issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man as a statement of principle. Shortly thereafter a group of Parisian citizens seized the royal armory at the Bastille. Peasants began to rebel in the countryside in opposition to aristocratic authority. A new constitution established individual rights, assaulted the position of the Church, and granted limited voting rights to the adult male population.

    11. The French Revolution: Radical and Authoritarian Phases
    12. Faced with opposition from conservatives at home and abroad, the revolutionary movement in Paris passed to more radical leaders. The new leadership executed Louis XVI, abolished the monarchy, and established the Reign of Terror to secure the revolutionary movement. A new constitution proclaimed universal male suffrage, military conscription, and social reform. The armies of the new republic began to press back its foreign enemies and to seize new territories. After the fall of the radicals, a more moderate regime emerged.

      Within four years, Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the successful French generals, converted the republic to an increasingly autocratic regime while continuing to champion individual liberties, religious freedom, and the promulgation of a new law code. Napoleon's attempt to carve out a European-wide empire was less successful. Following a failed invasion of Russia in 1812, French forces fell back until their final defeat in 1815. The growth of revolutionary, national patriotism in France spawned similar movements elsewhere in Europe.

    13. A Conservative Settlement and the Revolutionary Legacy
    14. The allies responsible for the defeat of Napoleon met at Vienna after 1815 to craft a lasting peace predicated on the establishment of a European balance of power. The settlements reached at Vienna gave Europe almost 50 years of stability. The sentiment at Vienna was to create a conservative political framework that would halt social and political revolution. In this the Vienna negotiators failed. New political movements spread across Europe. Liberals sought greater individual liberties guaranteed by constitutions and parliaments. Radicals pressed for more democratic political structures and social reforms in favor of workers. Nationalists urged national boundaries that coincided with ethnic unity. Socialists attacked private property.

      The new ideologies drew new participants into the political arena from the middle classes and the workers. Revolutions broke out in the 1820s and 1830s. In Greece, nationalists sought independence from the Ottoman Empire. Spanish revolutionaries sought to end the Bourbon monarchy. In France the Bourbons were ejected again in 1830 in favor of a new monarch and a somewhat liberal constitution. In the same year, Belgium gained its independence. In Britain and the United States movements successfully introduced wider suffrage within the electorate.

  4. The Industrial Revolution


    1. Introduction
    2. The key development of the Industrial Revolution was the application of machine power to replace men and animals. Favorable supplies of natural resources and the spur of population growth helped to produce the first Industrial Revolution in Britain. Industrialization built on the commercial advantages Europe enjoyed in the world trade network and the developments of the scientific revolution.

    3. Origins of Industrialization, 1770-1840
    4. The initial inventions, such as James Watt's steam engine, that prompted the Industrial Revolution occurred in Britain. Each invention spawned new technological developments in related fields.

      Transportation and communication innovations allowed products, people, and information to be moved more rapidly. Improved agricultural production fed the masses of workers who moved to the cities. Industrialization involved a shift in the organization of labor and the emergence of the factory system with its specialization of tasks and greater discipline. Industrialization also led to the creation of larger firms with greater access to capital and more advanced marketing techniques.

    5. ?
    6. Britain's industrialization attracted imitators in the United States, Belgium, France, and Germany. The French Revolution promoted industrialization by sweeping away laws that restricted trade.

    7. The Disruptions of Industrial Life
    8. Industrialization promoted movement from the country to the city. Family life was disrupted in the process. Workers found themselves packed into slums and subjected to harsh labor conditions. Workers responded to new conditions, in some cases with outright resistance, but failed to slow the pace of technological change. Factory owners attacked popular leisure activities as a means of gaining greater control over the work force. Family patterns changed.

      For the middle class, women retreated from the labor force to take up duties in the domestic household. Attitudes toward children involved greater concern for education and a sense of childhood.

    9. The Revolutions of 1848
    10. While not all governments sponsored the process of industrialization as fully as did Britain, most supported railway construction and technological fairs. Governments became more actively involved in supplying public education and improving slum conditions in the cities. Workers also began to become more active in the political process. In Britain, the Chartist movement attempted to democratize representation in the British Parliament. In some cases, unfulfilled labor requests contributed to revolutionary movements. Beginning in 1848, revolutions broke out throughout continental Europe. A revolution in France unseated the monarch and briefly instituted a republic. Workers groups pressed for social and economic reforms. Revolutions followed in Germany, Austria, and Hungary, where liberals and nationalists pressed for national unification.

      Socialist and nationalist movements failed in 1848. Prussian and Austrian armies restored the status quo in central Europe. In France, a nationalist empire rapidly replaced the republic. The revolutions of 1848 were the last major European rebellions. Industrialization replaced the old social order with a new one. The aristocracy and artisan class declined after 1850 to be replaced by new social divisions between the middle class and laborers. The new social organization helped to make revolution obsolete.

  5. The Consolidation of the Industrial Order, 1850 - 1914


    1. Introduction
    2. After 1850, the sense of chaos lessened as the pace of industrialization and urbanization slowed. Urban governments began to find answers to the problems created by rapid growth.

    3. Adjustments to Industrial Life
    4. After 1850, birth rates dropped and population began to stabilize. Although the European economy remained unstable, standards of living began to rise. Rates of infant mortality dropped. With Louis Pasteur's discovery of germs as agents of disease, sanitation and health improved. New technology increased the pace of work in the factory system, and workers were often reduced to metronomic repetition of tasks. In response, organization of laborers into trades-union movements produced some gains for workers. In the countryside, there was some organization of peasants to take better advantage of market conditions. Agriculture became more commercialized.

    5. Political Trends and the Rise of New Nations
    6. Consensus began to replace revolution in the European political scene after 1850. Governments embraced the concept of broader representation in parliaments and supported the process of industrialization. As a result, many groups gained new political rights. Conservative politicians learned to utilize nationalism as a means of engendering support for governmental policies. More aggressive foreign policies were the result.

      The most important uses of nationalism occurred when Italy and Germany were able to unify as new states in central Europe. The American Civil War resolved the sectional debate over rights and ended slavery. Following its defeat by the new German nation in 1871, France overthrew the second empire and restored a republic. In general, differences that had previously separated liberals and conservatives were minimized.

    7. The Social Questions and New Government Functions
    8. After 1870, government functions expanded to include public education and national systems of welfare. As government responsibilities were enlarged, new taxes were imposed to pay for the additional programs. The chief political issues surrounded what was referred to as the "social question." With the emergence of the social question, socialism and feminism became newly powerful political movements.

      Karl Marx promoted a more aggressive form of socialism after 1848. Marx's system was predicated on the inevitability of class conflict. He believed that modern political systems would be shaped by the resolution of the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Marxist theory provided a context in which working-class movements could confront post-1870 governments. Socialism spread rapidly among the grass roots, particularly in Germany. Socialist parties developed as strong political alternatives in France and Austria. Socialism proved less successful initially in Britain and the United States.

      Some socialists, called revisionists, abandoned Marx's revolutionary scheme in favor of more gradual reform and began to participate actively in electoral strategies. By 1900, women also demanded more political rights through feminist movements.

  6. Cultural Transformations


    1. Introduction
    2. Western culture shifted in favor of consumerism during the later nineteenth century. There were modifications in traditional views of science. New styles appeared in the fine arts.

    3. Emphasis on Consumption and Leisure
    4. Improved standards of living and reduction in working hours prepared the way for a new concept of leisure. Increased production required the development of mass markets and new consumers.

      Consumerism spread among all classes. Newspapers with mass circulations, popular theater, and vacation trips appealed to the new consumers. Leisure became a marketable commodity. One aspect of the new concept of leisure was the emergence of team sports, which reflected industrialized life and community loyalties. The trend to worldly enjoyments corresponded to a decline in religious practice.

    5. Advances in Scientific Knowledge
    6. The advance of scientific knowledge competed with alternative, less structured approaches to human experience. One aspect of cultural activity stemmed from the Western emphasis on rationalism. Advances in science were often linked to technological applications, such as improvements in medicine and agriculture. One of the great theories of the age was Charles Darwin's discussion of biological diversity in terms of evolution. In physics, new theories sought to explain planetary motion in the macrocosm and the movement of atomic particles in the microcosm. Albert Einstein's theory of relativity added conceptions of time to physical calculations. Social sciences also continued to advance. Sigmund Freud sought to explain human actions in terms of the unconscious, and economists attempted to unravel the mysteries behind the cycles of boom and depression.

    7. New Directions in Artistic Expression
    8. Art, in contradiction to the growth of science, seemed to glorify the irrational. Beginning with romanticism, artists sought to capture emotion rather than material reality. By 1900, painters began to portray objects abstractly. Composers experimented with atonal forms. Western art began to pull the culture of other civilizations into the maelstrom of creativity. Differences in approach between scientists and artists created a dichotomy in Western culture that was reflected in the institutionalization of science and the arts. By the end of the nineteenth century, Western culture failed to resolve the chasm between the rational and the irrational.

  7. Western Settler Societies


    1. Introduction
    2. Industrialization enhanced the dominant position of Western nations within the world trade network and increased technological advantages in military science. As a result, European nations embarked on new rounds of colonialism in the nineteenth century. Western societies transported to the New World and the Pacific enjoyed similar advantages.

    3. Emerging Power of the United States
    4. From colonization until the middle of the nineteenth century, the United States played a minor role in world politics. Most of the new nation's energies were expended in extending its boundaries from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The Civil War served to strengthen the unity of the United States, ended slavery, and promoted the course of industrialization. Railways were built that spanned the nation. American agricultural and industrial products began to compete on the world's markets.

      Even at the end of the nineteenth century, however, American diplomacy had little impact outside the Western hemisphere. In culture and science, the United States continued to borrow heavily from Europe.

    5. European Settlements in Canada, Australia and New Zealand
    6. European settlement led to the establishment of Western governments and cultures in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. These nations remained part of the British Empire. The British won Canada during the imperial wars of the eighteenth century. During the nineteenth century, Canada was permitted to establish virtual self-government. As in the United States, settlement was eventually extended to the Pacific coast.

      Australia entered the British Empire as a penal colony. By the mid-nineteenth century, Australia attracted a substantial population of European immigrants. Discovery of gold in the 1850s stimulated further immigration. As in Canada, individual provinces were granted substantial rights of self- government.

      New Zealand was first settled by British immigrants in 1814. Fearful of French intervention in the region, the British moved to establish a formal colonial structure in the 1840s. British settlers were primarily agriculturists, who fought several wars with the indigenous Maori inhabitants of the islands. After the 1860s, Britain granted self-government within the Empire on the same basis established in Canada and Australia.

      The new countries remained more dependent on Britain than did the United States. Industrialization was slow to occur, and the economies remained largely agricultural. During the nineteenth century, all of these regions, including the United States, received new waves of European immigrants. The exportation of European population continued to support the development of essentially Western cultures in these areas. The extension of Western culture and political institutions was made possible by the absence of large indigenous populations capable of resisting colonization.

  8. Diplomatic Tensions and World War I


    1. Introduction
    2. The unification of Germany upset the balance of power established in Europe after the Napoleonic wars. Germany's emergence set off rounds of diplomacy that resulted in new alliances. Competition between nations over colonies tested the ability of the alliance system to maintain the peace.

    3. The New Alliance System
    4. By 1907, two alliance systems structured the diplomatic relations of Europe. Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy formed the Triple Alliance, while France, Britain, and Russia made up the Triple Entente. All parties began to construct more powerful militaries to offset perceived gains among their rivals. Each alliance system was dependent on the status of a weak member. Russia (of the Triple Entente) had recently suffered an internal revolution and was increasingly unstable.

      Austria-Hungary (of the Triple Alliance) was divided among quarreling ethnic groups seeking autonomy. Both of the weaker partners were engaged in extending their influence into the Balkans. Small nations in the Balkans had won their independence from the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century. Slavic nationalism threatened Austrian interests in the region. The Russians sought to advance Slavic interests as a means of enhancing their presence. When in 1914 a Serbian nationalist assassinated the Austrian heir to the throne, Austria attempted to crush the Slavic state. Russia mobilized its troops in support of Serbia. In response, the greater powers of both alliance systems were drawn into war.

  9. Conclusion: Diplomacy and Society
  10. By the nineteenth century, the absence of a single imperial power in Europe resulted in tensions among the nation-states. International disputes reflected growing fears of European governments over socialism and the potential power of the masses. Strong foreign policies and appeals to nationalism were one means utilized to distract populations from internal distress. Military escalation also aided industrialization. Mass circulation of newspapers could be used to shape public opinion in favor of nationalist escapades. Thus, after a century of peace and enhanced standards of living, European nations embarked on the path to war.


© 2000-2001 by Addison Wesley Longman
A division of Pearson Education