Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Revolts of 1830 and 1848

This is a map of revolts and repressions of revolts in
Europe during 1840 and 1848.
As my history class progresses into the subject of
Atlantic Revolutions, we have begun to learn about the revolutions of 1830 and 1848. The essential question was “Were the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 really a failure as historians have concluded?” Last week, we were given a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville, a liberal French political thinker and historian, “We are sleeping on a volcano. Do you not see that the Earth trembles anew? A wind of revolution blows, the storm is on the horizon.” We then analyzed a map of revolutions and repressions of revolutions in Europe during 1830 and 1848 and were directed to validate Tocqueville’s statement. What the class concluded was that because of the many revolutions and few repressions, the “volcano” as Tocqueville called it, is considered the Liberalists and Nationalists preparing to revolt against the Conservative system of government. The “wind” is the ideas of Liberalism and Nationalism spreading throughout the society, convincing people to revolt for a better society. The “storm” is viewed as the inevitable revolution itself. We then got into groups and were assigned an event that happened during the revolutions of 1830 and 1848. My group was assigned the Frankfurt Assembly which took place in 1848.
            The Frankfurt Assembly took place in Germany from 1848-1849. Its goals were to create national unity under one central government, to make liberal reforms such as a constitutional monarchy, and to determine whether or not to become a union with Austria. Within the Assembly, there were many different ideas of how the government should be run. Therefore, there was no main opponent of the Frankfurt Assembly. The outcome of the Frankfurt Assembly was that the rebels went against the conservatives, resulting in many deaths and people fleeing to the United States. Prussia's Frederick William IV and his fellow progressed to use the Prussian military to shut down the Assembly, and crushed any revolts in their early stages, resulting in the failure of this revolution. Within a few primary sources analyzed about the Frankfurt Assembly, it was discovered that the main topics covered in these sources concerned the ideas of goals, opponents, and the outcome of the Assembly. Johann Gustav Droysen’s Speech to the Frankfurt Assembly was classified into the goals category Here, Droysen gives a speech to the Assembly about what the goals should be for Germany’s successful future. According to Droysen, “We need a powerful ruling house.” This powerful ruling house was not there at all when Droysen said this, and the government was on the brink of collapse. The Frankfurt Assembly by Karl Marx describes the failure of the Assembly and its being brought down by Frederick William IV. He says, “The resolution passed the day before yesterday has destroyed the Frankfurt Parliament.” He claims that the Parliament is guilty of treason, and should be brought to court. He then goes on to convince the lower and middle classes to rise against this unjust system and refuse to conform to this way of government. My group, based off of these facts, then created a Survey Monkey to quiz other students' knowledge of the Frankfurt Assembly.

Here is a screenshot of results gotten from one
of the questions on my group's survey.

            Other revolts in 1830 and 1849 include the Decembrist Revolt, the French Revolution of 1830, and another French Revolution in 1848. The Decembrist Revolt in Russia was caused by a lack of care and sympathy in relations from high ranking military officials to their soldiers and subjects. The lower classes were tired of being treated poorly and revolted, only to get utterly crushed by the military. In this situation, the revolt was a complete failure. Within the French Revolutions of 1830, the concept of absolutism was brought back into play by Charles X, who restricted voting rights, suspended the legislature, and restricted the press. The revolts that resulted were forceful and they eventually gained control of Paris, driving Charles X out of power, and setting up a constitutional monarchy, choosing Louis Philippe as king. I would consider this revolt a major success. Within the French Revolts of 1848, the French society grew discontent with Louis Philippe’s role as king because of the recession of society. In the first stages of this revolt, the rebels had most of the control over France. However, towards the end of this rebellion, the government regained its footing and crushed the revolt swiftly. This should ultimately be considered a failure. Because of the ratio of victories to failures, I consider the historians correct in saying that the revolts in 1830 and 1848 were failures.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Ideologies of the 19th Century

Last and This week in history, the class worked on "One Minute Projects" in which we had to describe one ideology of the 19th century. The essential question we had to answer was "What were the major political ideologies of the 19th century and how did they influence social and political action?". My group did our project on the ideology of conservatism.

Here is the video we did to represent conservatism: [link here]. Our presentation helps define conservatism pretty simply, giving a basic definition to it, and providing a few examples of what conservatism means. Conservatism influenced social and political action in the 19th century by maintaining a classic, structured government system which was time tested and secure. Conservatists argued against innovation, using the French Revolution as an example of how innovation can lead only to bloodshed and violence.

Conservatism was not the only ideology in the 19th century. Two other famous ideologies were Liberalism and Nationalism. Liberalism was the ideology that stated that the job of the government was to mainain individual liberty. Liberalism was against tradition and, viewed it as a way of blocking one from freedom. Liberals believed in God-given natural rights and laws that men should obey. Liberals promoted constitutional monarchy more so than absolutism. They wanted to replace the aristocracy with a meritocracy, having the middle class have a say in government affairs. Nationalism is the idea that said that a nation was a natural, organic entity whose people were bound together by shared language, custom, and history. According to nationalists, every nation has its own specific borders, culture, and destiny to fulfill. Nationalism was ultimately allinged with liberalism in the early nineteenth century. Both shared a more positive outlook than conservatism, which would ultimately help them progress into the future. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Napoleon's Reign Over Europe and the Americas

Last week in history, the class learned about Napoleon, the greatest and most controversial military leader of his time. The essential question was “What was Napoleon's impact on the social, economic and political systems of Europe?”, and I intend to answer just that within this post.
    Napoleon at the time of his reign had most of Europe and the Americas under his control. He had conquered places from Portugal to Moscow, and many more places. Because he controlled so much of Europe at that point, he had almost full access to the Americas as well as a result of his Control of places such as Spain. The people of his time had very different opinions of Napoleon, and our class explored two people’s opinions of him: a French woman named Madame de Stael, and a military commander named Marshal Michel Ney. We also read an article entitled The Lost Voices of Napoleonic Histories for a more modern perspective on Napoleon. Madame de Stael was very much against Napoleon’s rule, accusing him of having “contempt for all the intellectual riches of human nature”, using “force and cunning” to get his way, and many more negative things. Ney, however, views Napoleon’s reign as a “legitimate dynasty”, calling him a “sovereign”, implying a greater and friendlier status than de Stael implied. Ney concludes with calling Napoleon’s army an “immortal legion”, showing off his true faith in him. The Lost Voices of Napoleonic Histories provides a series of more controversial and mixed perspectives of Napoleon, stemming from many different authors.
    After reading this article and analyzing the sources, it can be concluded that Napoleon helped France yet hindered the world politically because of his unfair and unstoppable reign over countries that didn’t want to be ruled by him. Napoleon helped the world economically, providing a more unified and easy way of trading because many different countries were part of Napoleon’s kingdom. Socially, I believe Napoleon’s rule was a hybrid between good and bad because while the poor benefited from Napoleon’s new system, others did not like the fact that they were unwillingly under Napoleon’s control.

This is the amount of land that Napoleon controlled during his reign:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Equal Candy For All!

Last week in history class, we did an activity demonstrating the ideas of Karl Marx and Adam Smith of how society should be set up. In the first round of the activity, most people were given three pieces of candy, but some were given eight. We were then forced to compete in games of rock, paper, scissors with other students for the candy. If and when a student lost all of their candy, they had to sit down and not participate any more. Eventually, only a few people were left, and they had a very large amount of candy. The next round of the activity was comprised of the teacher giving everyone an equal amount of candy, and the teacher was in full control of who got what money, essentially making everyone equal. In the last round of the activity, the teacher gave everyone three pieces of candy, and allowed people to refrain from competing if they wanted. The teacher then pulled out of the activity completely and let us rule ourselves. I did not like this activity because it made me feel preyed upon by my classmates. Once I got a large amount of candy, I didn't want to play anymore because of the risk that I might lose it, and the fact that I had a lot of candy made people want to compete against me even more.

Both Marx and Smith wanted to help the oppressed poor, but they had very different approaches. Marx's idea (Marxism) comprised of the evolution of three ideas; Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism. In England during the Industrial Revolution, only a few people were put in the position to be rich, while everyone else was poor. the idea of people having to compete with others for money, and only a few were successful. This would ultimately result in the revolt of poorly paid employees, known as a workers' revolt. This idea is known as Capitalism. Within Socialism, the government owned every industry, and the ultimate goal of Socialism was to create economic equality, and create a classless society. In Communism, people were able to rule themselves and there was no government needed. The goal of a classless society was ultimately achieved in Communism. Adam Smith’s idea, called “The Invisible Hand”, stated that the government should not interfere with the buying and selling of products among citizens of the state. He suggested that if the government were to let money-seeking traders compete with one another, markets would be guided with positive feedback from selling as if by an invisible hand, which is where the name derives from. Free commerce would help the deeply afflicted poor in society because they would not need to buy what they are going to sell before putting it on the shelves; this means that they only benefit from commerce.

I think that Smith’s approach is better than Marx’s because it benefits the poor more so than any of Marx’s theories. Having the classless society demonstrated in Communism would not help in the evolution of that society. With everyone being the same, there is no room for improvement. However, within Smith’s theory, there is more flexibility for the evolution of society, and that is what will best help propel us into the future.

Here is a video about Adam Smith and his motivation for helping the poor:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Reasons Why You Should Get Your Limbs Ripped Off By Outdated Machines

     Last week, our history class explored the ways in which women were motivated to work in the Lowell Mills during the Industrial Revolution. This was a very dangerous job because of the many risks involved with working machines. These risks included getting body parts stuck in machines, limb amputation, and in one case, complete severance of the upper and lower body. Things that motivated women to work in these dreadful places included money, getting a start on the working life, and hopes for a better and wealthier future.

     The Industrialization of society proved to be a very negative thing for many people, mainly farmers and entrepreneurs of that sort. The evolution to mass production of food put many farmers out of business, and forced them into poverty. In a desperate struggle for money, many parents were willing to put their children through awful conditions for money. This may sound greedy, but for the most part, children were willing to go through this in order to gain money.

     While the societal norm in the eighteen-hundreds was that men were to do physical labor and were the only ones that belonged in the business world. However as the idea of women's rights became to develop, more and more women came to take part in business. Because of this, many young girls wanted a taste of the business world. They therefore joined up with the only business opportunity available to them: working in the mills. In doing this, the "mill girls", as they were called, hoped for a better and wealthier future, whether they were single or married.

     Within the Industrial Revolution, the idea of gender equality started to arise in society because of women's motivation to get ahead in life. Because of their need of money, women were willing to work in terrible conditions for a limited amount of time for a reward of being ahead later in life.