Teaching world history: from StudentsFriend.com

LOCATIONS: Japan, Cuba, Philippines, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico (These locations are superimposed over a contemporary political map of the world.)

125. Industrial Revolution

     Midway through the modern era, people learned how to make machines move by burning fuels. The first of these machines was the steam engine that burned coal to heat water that made steam that pushed a piston that turned a wheel. Goods that had always been made by hand in homes and shops were replaced by goods made in large quantities at lower cost by machines in factories.

     Humans had never gone faster than horses could carry them, but now steam-powered trains and ships moved people and goods faster and cheaper than ever before. This technological revolution began in England's textile (cloth) mills in the late 1700s and spread to other Western nations during the 1800s. These new technologies would soon change how people lived, and they would determine who ruled the world.

     The Industrial Revolution affected society in both positive and negative ways. Factories could produce goods more cheaply than hand labor, so people could buy more goods and enjoy a higher standard of living than before. But, factories put many craftspeople out of work. Factories required large numbers of workers, which caused huge migrations of people from the countryside to the cities where they worked long hours for low wages while living in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Even small children worked as many as 16 hours a day becoming so tired they fell into machinery and were crippled or killed.

126. socialism

     In 50 years, the English manufacturing city of Liverpool grew from 80,000 to 375,000 people. Cities could not cope with the huge influx of workers coming to work in the factories of the Industrial Revolution. A dozen people might be crowded together in one small room in a run-down apartment building called a tenement. Due to a lack of sewage facilities, filth was everywhere, and infectious disease killed one child in four before the age of five. The Industrial Revolution was making a few people very wealthy, but countless others were poor and living under miserable conditions.

     Not surprisingly, many working-class people were attracted to the ideas of socialism, an economic philosophy that called for a more even distribution of wealth. Socialism proclaimed, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Under socialism, major businesses would be owned by the public, not by a few wealthy men. Socialism was basically the opposite of Adam Smith's capitalism.

127. Impressionism

     The Industrial Revolution brought many technological marvels such as antiseptics to kill bacteria in hospitals, vaccinations to prevent disease, the telegraph, telephone, light bulb, automobile, airplane, and the camera. The camera had a big impact on the art world in the late 1800s. Since the camera could reproduce scenes from life more accurately than any artist could, artists needed to find a new mission. Rather than trying to accurately reproduce reality, artists began to paint their "impressions" of what they saw. Painters like Monet and Renoir worked quickly using short, choppy brushstrokes to form vibrant mosaics of color. Art changed radically as artists became freer to put their own ideas and feelings into their works.

     Impressionism marked the beginning of modern art. In architecture, the industrial age was symbolized by the Eiffel Tower, built in Paris in 1889 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. At nearly 1,000 feet tall, it was an impressive demonstration of the steel and iron construction techniques of the Industrial Revolution, and it was a model for the steel-skeleton skyscrapers to come.

128. conservative versus liberal

     Following the Napoleonic Wars, Europe was ready for a period of calm. Leaders representing the "Great Powers" of Europe met in Vienna to hammer out an agreement meant to undo changes brought about by the French Revolution and Napoleon and to maintain a lasting peace by restoring a balance of power among European nations. They sought to prevent any nation from becoming stronger than the others as France had done under Napoleon.

     Delegates to the Congress of Vienna were members of the aristocracy (upper class), who wanted a return to the old order in which monarchs and the upper class controlled a stable society. People who resist change and try to preserve traditional ways are called conservatives. Society's "haves" tend to be conservative because they wish to preserve the system that worked well for them.

     Although conservatives were in control in 1815, many common people still believed in Enlightenment ideas. People who support new methods for improving society are called liberals. Because society's "have-nots" desire change, they tend to be liberal. Liberals are said to be on the political "left," while conservatives are on the political "right." (In the United States the Republican Party is considered more conservative than, and to the right of, the more liberal Democratic Party.) Although the Congress of Vienna succeeded in preventing an outbreak of general warfare in Europe for a century, liberal revolts erupted repeatedly as people continued to seek the Enlightenment goals of freedom and equality.

129. nationalism

     Nationalism is a deep devotion to one's country that places it above all others. It begins with the desire of people who share a common culture to have their own nation free from outside control. In the early 1800s, much of Europe was still divided into small kingdoms often ruled by foreigners. Inspired by nationalism and Enlightenment ideas of freedom, people hungered to belong to their own nations.

     In the mid-1800s, most of Italy was ruled by the Austrian and Spanish royal families. There was only one Italian-born monarch, King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia. Unification of Italy began here. The king had a clever prime minister named Cavour who helped to unite northern Italy. A popular revolutionary general, Giuseppe Garibaldi, raised an army of a thousand volunteers who brought southern Italy into the Italian union. In 1861, Italy became a nation, and Victor Emmanuel was proclaimed king.

     In 1850, Germany was made up of 39 small countries. One of the largest and most powerful was the eastern kingdom of Prussia. Prussia's brilliant prime minister, Otto von Bismark, believed Germany's unification would not be achieved through democratic means, "but by blood and iron." Using a step-by-step approach, Bismark started and won three separate wars against Denmark, Austria, and France, each war bringing him closer to his goal of a greater Germany. By 1870, Germany was unified, and Prussia's king was crowned as kaiser (emperor) over all of Germany.

     (A prime minister serves as the head of a country's government. In today's world, prime ministers have powers similar to American presidents.)

130. social Darwinism

     In the early 1800s, nationalism was associated with positive ideas like freedom from foreign control. The last half of the century, however, saw the emergence of a darker side of nationalism that glorified war and military conquest. This extreme form of nationalism was supported by racism, a belief that one's own race or culture is superior to others. Racism, in turn, was supported by social Darwinism.

     Charles Darwin was an English scientist who had a huge impact on Western thought when he developed a theory of evolution based on the idea of "natural selection." His theory proposed that an animal species may change over time as the best-adapted members survive and the less successful members die out. Social Darwinists took Darwin's theory and used it to justify the racist belief that the world's more technologically advanced white races were fittest and intended by nature to dominate "lesser" races.

     The idea of "survival of the fittest" was also adopted by rich industrialists who believed their wealth proved they were superior examples of the human species. Therefore, it was perfectly acceptable for them to enjoy their vast riches while keeping their inferior workers living in poverty.

131. imperialism

     Before the 1800s, Western nations did business in Africa and Asia within existing trade and political networks. After the Industrial Revolution, Western powers used their superior weapons and powerful iron warships to conquer much of the world, especially lands in Africa and Asia. In 1800, Western powers controlled 35 percent of the world's land surface; by 1914, they controlled 84 percent. When a nation dominates or controls another land physically, economically, or politically, it is called imperialism. Western imperialism placed millions of black and brown people under the control of white people.

     Imperialism was encouraged by nationalism; European nations wanted to increase their power and pride by adding new colonies. Imperialism was also supported by racist attitudes like social Darwinism. Europeans claimed to be doing "backward" people a favor by conquering their lands and bringing them Western advancements.

     But the most important force behind imperialism was money. The Industrial Revolution changed Europe from a consumer of manufactured goods to a producer, and Europe's factories needed places to sell their products. One Englishman said, "There are 40 million naked people [in Africa], and the cotton spinners of Manchester are waiting to clothe them." Colonies provided Europe's factories with new markets for manufactured goods, and cheap raw materials to feed Europe's machines.

132. India

     From their base in Bengal, the British steadily gained control of India's warring regional states until Britain was master of India. India had the biggest population of any British colony, and it supplied troops to enforce British rule elsewhere in the empire. Soldiers at this time had to bite off the ends of rifle cartridges to load their rifles. When beef fat was used to seal cartridges, Indian troops rebelled because cows are sacred to Hindus. The rebellion quickly spread to other areas of Indian society. After crushing the uprising, the British government took direct control of India from the British East India Company.

     India was the "jewel in the crown" of Britain's colonial empire that also included Canada, Australia, and big chunks of Africa. This was the Victorian Age of Queen Victoria when Britain was at the height of its power. It was said, "The sun never sets on the British Empire." Britain brought advancements to India including a postal service, telegraph, good roads, and a railroad network. But British control also harmed Indians. For example, the spinning of cotton in Indian homes had long been a source of income for peasants until they were put out of work by inexpensive cotton cloth imported from England's textile mills.

133. Australia

     Australia is the only country that is also a continent. Like the Americas, Australia was settled twice: the first time by hunter-gatherers called Aborigines who arrived by boat from Southeast Asia some 50,000 years ago; the second time by Europeans. The Dutch spotted Australia first, but found it a barren land and lost interest. British explorer James Cook found more promising land in southern Australia and claimed the continent for Britain. The British first used Australia as a prison colony; Australia's first European settlers were convicts. After gold was found in the mid-1800s, European immigration to Australia boomed. The native Aborigines experienced the usual pattern of decline after contact with Western diseases and weapons.

     Southeast of Australia lie the islands of New Zealand, where the British subdued native tribes of hunter-gatherers called the Maori (MOW-ree). New Zealand was added to the British Empire in 1840. The British took control of Canada from the French in 1763. Many French-speaking Canadians remain, primarily in the province of Quebec. Canada is the second-largest country in size after Russia, but most of its people live within 100 miles of its border with the United States. Despite their far-flung locations, the former British colonies of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are considered part of the Western world.

134. Opium War

     In 1800, China was a manufacturing powerhouse, producing one-quarter of the world's goods. It was the wealthiest country on earth. But there was a problem. The British liked their tea, and Britain was sending huge amounts of silver to China in payment for tea and other products. The Chinese, however, had little interest in British goods. This trade imbalance was draining silver from Britain. What to do?

     Britain decided to deal drugs. Britain found that Bengal was ideal for growing opium, a highly addictive narcotic. Britain grew opium in India, shipped it to China, and received silver in payment. Although opium use was illegal in China, large segments of the Chinese population became addicted, especially the poor. Alarmed that the opium trade was ruining China's society and economy, the Qing emperor pleaded with the British to stop. When they didn't, he ordered the opium trade shut down. After a Qing official seized and destroyed opium from British warehouses, Britain declared war in 1839. With their superior ships and weapons, and with their bombardment of Chinese ports, the British won an easy victory.

     Britain forced China to pay the costs of the war and to open new ports to Western ships. China's defeat was humiliating; not only were foreign "barbarians" dictating terms to China and occupying Chinese territory, the war showed how far behind China's technology had fallen. The Qing Empire continued to weaken through the 1800s. It was shaken by major uprisings, and defeated in a war with Japan in 1894. A final uprising in 1911 ended the Qing dynasty, and with it over 2,000 years of rule by Chinese dynasties dating back to the First Emperor in 221 BC. The last Chinese emperor was an 8-year-old boy.

135. Meiji Restoration (MAY-gee)

     In Japan of the early 1800s, the Tokugawa Shogunate was still trying to preserve Japan's cultural traditions through measures such as banning firearms and maintaining isolation from foreigners. But there was a problem. The Americans, like the British, believed in free trade even when a country didn't want to trade.

     In 1853, a squadron of American warships arrived in Japan and threatened bombardment unless Japan opened trade with the United States. At gunpoint, the shogunate agreed. In the political unrest that followed, members of the samurai class armed themselves with surplus weapons from the American Civil War and overthrew the Tokugawa Shogunate. Japan's feudal system with its shogun and regional warlords was replaced by a modern centralized government that granted equal rights to Japanese citizens.

     Although the Japanese emperor had long been mainly a ceremonial figure, the samurai restored power to a new emperor named Meiji. Devotion to the god-like emperor became central to Japanese nationalism. The Meiji government sent officials to the West to learn about constitutional governments and new technologies. With help from Western advisers, Japan joined the Industrial Revolution, building railroads, factories, and a modern navy. For the first time, Japan was stronger than its big neighbor China.

136. Crimean War

     In 1854 Britain and France went to war with Russia to stop Russia from gobbling up more territory in the weak Ottoman Empire. Although the war was fought on Russia's doorstep in the Crimea, the more distant Western powers won with better railways, weapons, and navies. The war was a rude awakening for the Russians. The tsar responded by freeing the serfs and giving them land and some education. He hoped these reforms would increase farm and factory production and generate income to help modernize Russia.

     At the time of the Crimean War, more soldiers died from infection and disease than from bullets. Britain sent Florence Nightingale to the Crimea to improve conditions in military hospitals where she managed to reduce death rates from 45 to 5 percent. In the process, she invented modern nursing. This war also saw reporters use the telegraph for the first time to send home news reports from the front. And this was the setting for Tennyson's famed poem about a soldier's duty, The Charge of the Light Brigade: "...Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die: Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred."

137. the Scramble for Africa

     By the 1870s, the African slave trade was over, and Africans continued to rule Africa. Europeans controlled only a few port areas. The Ashanti kingdom, for example, was a prosperous trade center on the coast of West Africa, and the powerful Zulu king in southern Africa had an army of 40,000 warriors. But Africa was too tempting for the Europeans to resist. The king of Belgium told a friend, "I mean to miss no chance to get my share of this magnificent African cake." European powers met at a conference in Berlin in 1884 and divided the continent among themselves. The Africans were not invited to attend.

     Then the imperialist powers set about the task of defeating African rulers. The Ashanti, Zulus, and others fought back, but in the end spears were no match for guns. In one battle a British force armed with repeating rifles, artillery, and machine guns lost only 48 soldiers while killing more than 10,000 African warriors. Still, conquering the Africans wasn't always easy, and sometimes it took years. In Ethiopia, the Italian army faced African soldiers armed with modern weapons, and Ethiopia kept its independence.

    Seven European powers carved Africa into countries with boundaries that often bore little relationship to the cultural groups living there. Europeans took resources from Africa including rubber, gold, and diamonds and crops including cotton and peanuts. Some colonial governments were harsher than others, but everywhere European whites controlled African blacks. European domination stopped the natural development of Africa in its tracks, nearly destroying African culture in the process.

138. Mexico

     After achieving independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico was briefly a monarchy and then a republic. Mexico's new constitution guaranteed basic rights to Mexican citizens, but it did little to end inequality in Mexican society. A small group of white, upper class elites exercised political and economic control over millions of poor peasants and indigenous people. In 1846, the United States went to war with Mexico and took about half of Mexico's territory, a large region extending from Texas to California and north to Wyoming. In the last quarter of the century, Mexico's economy grew as the nation began to industrialize, but little of the new wealth reached Mexico's rural and urban poor.

     Much of Latin America followed a similar pattern. After liberal revolts brought independence from Spain, a white upper class maintained control of society much as it had done under Spanish colonial rule. Conservative strongmen came to power to protect upper-class privilege. Liberals might propose reforms, and the poor might revolt, but little would change. In the late 1800s new wealth came to Latin America from increased trade and industrialization, but it was the elites who benefited. Most people continued to work the land as poor peasants. Latin America was a land of very few "haves" and many "have nots."

139. Spanish-American War

     During the 1800s, the United States followed the European pattern of industrialism and imperialism. The U.S. expanded its territory to the Pacific by conquering Native American nations and Mexican armies. Then, in 1898, the U.S. extended its empire overseas. At this time, Cuba and Puerto Rico were the last Spanish colonies left in the Americas, and the U.S. was sympathetic to Cuban rebels fighting for independence. When the U.S. showed its concern by sending the battleship Maine to visit Cuba, the ship blew up in Havana harbor killing 266 American sailors. The U.S. immediately blamed Spain for the explosion—probably mistakenly. With newspaper headlines screaming, "Remember the Maine!" the U.S. declared war.

     In a war lasting only four months, the modern American navy easily destroyed two older Spanish fleets. Theodore Roosevelt and his band of "Rough Riders" became heroes after newspapers reported their daring cavalry charge at San Juan Hill in Cuba. With its victory in this "splendid little war," the U.S. acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines from Spain, and Spain lost its standing as a great power. In the same year, the U.S. took control of Hawaii. America was now a power in the Pacific. Five years later, Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States, and he declared the U.S. would take control of any Latin American country that didn't run its government the way the U.S. wanted it to. This attitude toward Latin America created resentment against the U.S. that persists to this day.

140. Westernization

     In the 1800s, nations of the non-Western world had to figure out how to deal with a harsh reality: the Western powers were industrialized, wealthy, powerful, and aggressive. Isolation wasn't effective as the Chinese and Japanese discovered. Fighting back didn't work either as Native Americans and Zulus learned. Many believed the only way to deal with the West was to become more like the West, in other words, to modernize and industrialize. We saw this occur in Russia, Japan, Latin America, and elsewhere.

     Education was one route to Westernization. Bright young people from the colonies studied at European schools and often adopted Western ideas and values. But when non-Western nations tried to industrialize, they faced huge obstacles. Because the Western countries were first to industrialize, they already knew how to produce quality goods efficiently; they already had large urban work forces, and they already controlled world markets. It was difficult for late industrializers to break into the international economic system.


Student's Friend Part 1

Unit 1 - Overview, Basic Concepts, Prehistory

Unit 2 - Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt

Unit 3 - Ancient India and China

Unit 4 - Ancient Greece and Rome

Unit 5 - Early Middle Ages: 500 to 1000

Unit 6 - Late Middle Ages: 1000 to 1500

Student's Friend Part 2

Unit 7 - 1500s and 1600s: Early Modern World

Unit 8 - 1700s: Enlightenment and Revolution

Unit 9 - 1800s: Industrialism and Imperialism

Unit 10 - 1900 to 1950: World at War

Unit 11 - 1950 to Present: Cold War and Space Age

Unit 12 - Current Issues: A Changing World Order

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Unit 9 - 1800s - Industrialism and Imperialism