The French revolution was a period of radicalism bringing social political upheavals. The monarchy had ruled for a long time and people were tired and led to transformation from feudalism, aristocracy and religion. The pressure came from the political liberal groups and the demonstrating masses. The monarch had to give way to the enlightened citizens.
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The Course of the French Revolution
The revolution was triggered by a number of problems. There was economic turmoil due to participation in the American Revolution. Huge sums of money were spent in the expansion to other European countries. Life became hard with no food for the citizens. The peasants were over taxed and became violent; they took money and properties from those who had. This was common even before the on set of the revolution. The uprising of the bourgeoisie and hunger for power was blocked by the monarch. In1789 there was convocation of the estate general that led to proclamation of the Tennis court oath followed by the assault on the Bastille and the declaration of the rights of the citizen. There was tension Smeared relationship between the liberal masses and the monarch (Wood 86)
The impact of the French Revolution
The war in Europe and the American Revolution took seven years and lessened the French morale and determination. A lot of money was spent in the France war and by supporting allies and maintaining military in Diaspora, making the monarchical government bankrupt. The enlightment of people and exposure, made them doubt that King Louis XVI had absolute power and divine right. They were tired having participated in major wars. The revolution led to victory over the buying of church land and nobles’ land for there were wealthier citizens than the nobles. New tax system came into place and eased the burden of paying tithe to the clergy and the monarchy. The French got new leader who observed the rights of the citizens. The changes achieved from the revolution inspired and liberated the French. (Mousette 45)
Technological changes of the Revolution
he new technology brought excitement to the citizens. French troops were coming back full of experiences obtained in the Diaspora, bringing in tactful improvements that had a major impact to the French economy. However, the technology was military based and was used in war. Later, the agrarian revolution took centre stage and introduced farm machinery and factories. New farming techniques were introduced. The discovery of iron and steel in Britain led to the introduction of machinery in France allowing development of steam engine, spinning jenny, telecommunications, rail and road systems. There emerged new energy sources and new methods of production with exit from the traditional handcraft method to new technological methods where machine made work easier, faster and efficient.
Human cost of the new technological revolution
The industries and factories established used human labour to make their goods. This meant the settled life of the citizens was interfered with, bringing a new class of employees who became dependants. France experienced a class of skilled people working in the factories. Child labour was immense and they could work for long hours. The working conditions were deplorable. The industrial accidents were common followed by diseases originating from chemicals like phosphorus. The people worked without protection. New towns came up with cities as centres of settlement that was characterised by overcrowding, poor buildings lacking sanitation. The new transport corridors led to emigration in search of better conditions which were hard to find. The crime rate rose due to poor social conditions. The war became more sophisticated as the troops could move faster and information relayed through the technology, as a result human suffering increased (Constant 34).
Intellectual Approaches to the Industrial Revolution
The revolution led to new science that was used by the scholars of then who saw it as an opportunity of bringing light to replace the superstitions, religion and fear with reason and knowledge. They investigated issues of physics, astronomy and biology. The brilliant people started to question everything leading to the new modern science. The science kept growing with widespread practical being carried out, frequent check on machinery and production processes that led to major inventions. There was accelerated innovations and new technology. Rural technology spread out and was characterised by proto – rural factories that could produce goods for far markets (Owen 56)
Organizing Workers’ Protests
Protests were marred with songs craving for a social change. They protested against the inhuman treatment by the employers, poor pay and increased food prices. The working conditions were deplorable and needed major change. Protesters destroyed properties and many died. The people organised themselves into labour unions and trade organisations which were not recognised. The new industrial revolution meant the beginning of a new era of capitalism and a cycle of peasant mobilisations. They challenged the new law of the government. The communal and national guards were organised and served as platform of the uprising. The peasants, artisans and workers were dissatisfied with low pay and high price of bread and raw materials. The poor were able to get a portion of land for farming and their income increased by 5% (Wood 89).
Overview of Imperialism: New and Old Imperialism
The new and old imperialism was quite different in terms of the economic or wealth, politics and the motive. The old lasted between 1500 – 1800 and the new from 1870 – 1914. In the old, economics was about trade where they bought goods from the native merchants through a trade system. It took place along the coast lines. However in the new imperialism, they were interested in the goods and establishing plantations, factories and docks in other countries. They exploited people as they could. Politically, their interest and intention was to dominate others with their political views and rule of law. The socialists advanced their socialism while the capitalists did the same. They competed for colonies in overseas territories claiming racial superiority and backwardness of the subjects. (Mousset 175).
British imperialism began in1496 and ended in 1980 after grunting Zimbabwe independence. After recording success in Spain and America territories, Britain took different forms of administration, starting with plantation farming in Ireland and enslavement. Queen Elizabeth 1 grunted patent for overseas exploration, leading to aggression of control. Germans desire to increase their colonies spurred the craving for colonies. There was war with France and Netherlands. Britain won and as a result, started many colonies overseas. Britain used companies to administer. Though it registered success in the two wars, from1945 there was pressure both local and abroad. Bankruptcy led to the beginning of decolonisation. However Britain decided to protect any other remaining protectorate usually islands (Owen 123)
The Ottoman Empire
The empire lasted from 1299 to 1922. It had territories in south-eastern Europe, west Asia and North Africa. It had 29 provinces and several vassal states. Some became part of the empire and maintained some autonomy. Other overseas land was under their control and paid allegiance. The empire had developed some relations with the countries in the west and those from east of Europe. The death of the Sultan in 1300 saw the division and Osman, an emirate rose and joined the nation politically. In 1453 – 1566 the empire conquered Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. However revolt began in 1566 – 1683. The bureaucracy and weak sultans strained the empire. The European powers began to curb the trade routes. There was internal and external pressure that led to the stagnation and decline of the empire in the 17th century. 1683 – 1827 was a period of stagnation and most of their territories were ceded to Austria, Britain and France. The empire was weakened by Russia in the war. It was defeated and joined hands with other strong nations for security reasons. In 1908, the sultan announced the dissolution of the empire, and the creation of a Turkish government began (Owen 65).
The Meiji Era in Japan
It is a period from 1868 – 1912. During this time Japan was modernising as it was a time of being enlightened. There were major changes to encourage the people, while trying to win them for financial gains. The government promised to observe all previous treaties and act in line with international law. He developed democratic constitution with a representative government. Japan became a civilised country with technological and economic rise. There was robust economic development brought by education and the new 3000 experts. He modernised the military to avert external aggressions. They build armoury factories and trained many soldiers. When U.S navy ended the Sakoku policy, Japan felt defenceless and declared a national independence and penetrated the European market and other markets of the whole world, a strength of the Meiji Era.
People thought that opposing alliance by German, Austria – Hungary and the ottoman man empires would lead to major war. The powers had global colonies and their resources were important meaning the whole world would be involved. The powers were seen to strike other colonies, thus spreading the fight. The first and second world war, occurred in places that were densely populated, the good communication, roads and the well equipped armies made the war successful. There was a lot of death, properties brought down and lack of peace. Innocent people were in problems and the colonial powers fell due to mismanagement of finances. World bodies to oversee security, monetary issues and diplomacy came into being.
Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire
In 1918, major alliances began to collapse due to American, British and French activities. Turkey and Austria – Hungary signed armistice. The German republic was declared. The terms of the agreement were cessation of war.
It was a political move leading to division of the territory to several nations. The occupation of Istanbul by British and French made the empire collapse. The League of Nations treaty led to final partitioning, realising the Arab world and turkey republic. Britain and France became powers in the Middle East.
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Formation of the Mandate System
French leaders failed to rise from a class of humble class – minded provincial petitioners to a national legislative body. This was not a good reason for their deputies not to assume power and status as representatives of the French nation. It was a mandate principle that showed the estate general failure. Therefore the deputies were bound to become the representatives of the nation as a whole with powers to make decisions binding to all.
Constant, Benjamin. Approach to French liberalism. London; Routledge, 1993.
Mousset, Sophie. Women Rights- French Revolution; Transaction Publishers, 2007.
Wood, Stewart. A Survey of the French Revolution, New York: Macmillan, 1951.
Owen Trevor. The British Empire 1558-1995, Oxford; Oxford University Press, 1996.