The 9th of November 1938, the Germans implemented the program of Kristallnacht. During Kristallnacht, any and all Jewish businesses and synagogues were burned down and looted. Alongside with having their religious temples burned and their businesses destroyed, many Jews were killed and some committed suicide. In the video below it is estimate that 155o temples were destroyed and 2500 Jews died that day, as well as 30000 Jews sent to concentration camps, and tens of thousands of shops were destroyed/looted. This event marked the full birth of the Socialist regime of Nazi Germany, which was the extermination of the Jewish race, also known as the holocaust. Many non-Jewish people who witnessed this destruction and humiliation did nothing but watched as sacred places were decimated, Jewish businesses were removed, Jewish families were torn apart, and innocent Jews throughout Nazi Germany were murdered. This apathy throughout Nazi Germany, was fuel to the next world war.


The Boxer Rebellion

By on September 8, 2014 Leave a Comment

The Boxer Rebellion took place in China in the summer of 1900, during the last breath of the last dynasty of China. Empress Dowager Tsu Hsi was in charge, and had to protect her dynasty from forces without and within. Japan, Great Britain, Russia, and others wanted to exploit China for its trade routes and merchandise. Christian missionaries wanted to convert China, and essentially demolish the Confucian and Buddhist traditions that had been going on for centuries. But it took a lot more than this for The Boxer Rebellion to come into being.

After losing two opium wars (1839-1842 and 1856-1860), and the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895, China was prompted to befriend Russia, who promised to protect them from other nations. But, Russia had more in mind than just helping an ally or standing up to enemies. They took the friendship to their advantage and built a railroad, allowing easier trade between China and Russia.

Due to war debts and corruption, China faced an economic crisis in 1897. Severe unrest followed, in which German missionaries were killed by Chinese civilians. Germany demanded reparations and seized Kiaochow. Russia, seeing that someone else had made the first move, used the trade route they had established to take Port Arthur and Dairen. Soon, nearly all the powers of the world, save for Italy and the United States, were scrambling to get hold of parts of China.

The ruler during all this was Kwang Hsu. He had been doing some much-needed modernization of the Chinese military, economy, and government. He did this by changing the civil service examination system (among other things), thus changing what kind of people could take office. The mandarin class, the highest class in Chinese society at the time, did not like these changes because it went against their conservative agenda. The Mandarins got Dowager (Kwang Hsu’s aunt) to imprison him and take power. The advancements that Kwang Hsu had been making came to a halt.

By this time the people of China had had enough. Even though some citizens still awed at the technology of the west or listened to the Christian missionaries, many were suspicious of the foreigners and directed their anger at them. They created the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, or the Boxers, as the west dubbed them after seeing their advanced martial arts skills. The Boxers destroyed western symbols, such as railroads and missionaries. Everyone was outraged at the property destroyed and people killed, and implored Empress Dowager to act. At first, she said she would squash the rebellion. Soon, though, she and the rest of the Chinese government decided that the unrest was a good tool to convince other nations to get out of China. So, they allowed the rebellion to expand.

The leaders of the Boxer movement convinced poor, uneducated people that joining them and practicing their martial arts would make them impervious to bullets. To demonstrate, they would shoot a gun with only powder in it at each other, wowing the poor, uneducated people, giving them hope, and convincing them to join. Another way the Boxers expanded their message was to put banners written in Chinese around. These were effective because most of the foreigners could not read Chinese, and thus would not know to tear them down. These banners often said ridiculous things, for example, that the missionaries were murdering children, The uneducated Boxers would instantly take this as fact and commit horrendous acts of violence against the people mentioned.

It was not strictly the foreigners that suffered under the Boxers, though, The converts the missionaries had won came to be known as “secondary devils.” They were almost considered worse than the “primary devils,” since they had succumbed to the influences of the foreigners. Also, great anger was harbored against the western machines and the people who installed them. These machines, such as steamships, made it possible to do more work with fewer people, leaving huge numbers of unemployed. These unemployed were easy recruits for the Boxers, as were those who had  lost their farms due to a recent drought.

As the rebellion continued to expand, there began to be government officials that supported the Boxers, such as Yu Hsien. Even the Chinese Imperial Army, at the urging of Empress Dowager, began to assist the Boxers. Not long after this, the Empress fully allied herself and her dynasty with the Boxers.

The rebellion ended with the coming of the China Relief Expedition, headed by the Americans. But it was not an easy ending. But he Americans were able to cooperate with the Chinese and other foreigners. Troops marched into Peking, quieting the rebellion in a bloody manner finale.  After this, the last dynasty of China ended, and the United States began to rise as a major world military power.


Leonhard, Robert R., Ph.D. The Chinese Relief Expedition; Joint Coalition 
     Warfare in China Summer 1900. Laurel: Johns Hopkins University Applied 
     Physics Laboratory, 2014. PDF file. 


By on December 14, 2013 Comments Off


Rene Decartes

René Descartes was born was born on March 31, 1596, in La Haye, France. He was extensively educated, first at a Jesuit college at age 8, then earning a law degree at 22, but an influential teacher set him on a course to apply mathematics and logic to understanding the natural world. This approach incorporated the contemplation of the nature of existence and of knowledge itself, hence his most famous observation, “I think; therefore I am.”


Descartes is considered by many to be the father of modern philosophy, because his ideas departed widely from current understanding in the early 17th century, which was more feeling-based. While elements of his philosophy weren’t completely new, his approach to them was. Descartes believed in basically clearing everything off the table, all preconceived and inherited notions, and starting fresh, putting back one by one the things that were certain, which for him began with the statement “I exist.” From this sprang his most famous quote: “I think; therefore I am.”





Here’s a link to an explanation on his book, Discourse on Method. Its part 1 out 3


Law of the Maximum

By on December 10, 2013 Comments Off

Under the Committee of Public Safety, many new ideas came to be, such as the Cult of Reason, the new calendar, and the Law of the Maximum. The Law of the Maximum is, essentially, a price ceiling on consumer goods. It was put in effect to show that the government was concerned about the people and did more than commit executions.

Articles of the Law

1. The articles which the National Convention has deemed essential, and the maximum or highest price of which it has believed it should establish, are: fresh meat, salt meat and bacon, butter, sweet oil, cattle, salt fish, wine, brandy, vinegar, cider, beer, firewood, charcoal, coal, candles, lamp oil, salt, soda, sugar, honey, white paper, hides, iron, cast iron, lead, steel, copper, hemp, linens, woolens, stuffs, canvases, the raw materials which are used for fabrics, wooden shoes, shoes, turnips and rape, soap, potash, and tobacco. . . .

7. All persons who sell or purchase the merchandise specified in article 1 for more than the maximum price stated and posted in each department shall pay, jointly and severally, through the municipal police, a fine of double the value of the article sold, and payable to the informer; they shall be inscribed upon the list of suspected persons, and treated as such. The purchaser shall not be subject to the penalty provided above if he denounces the contravention of the seller; and every merchant shall be required to have a list bearing the maximum or highest price of his merchandise visible in his shop.

8. The maximum or highest figure for salaries, wages, manual labor, and days of labor in every place shall be established, dating from the publication of the present law until the month of September next, by the general councils of the communes, at the same rate as in 1790, plus one-half.

9. The municipalities may put in requisition and punish, according to circumstances, with three days’ imprisonment, workmen, manufacturers, and divers laborers who refuse, without legitimate grounds, to do their usual work. . . .

17. During the war, all exportation of essential merchandise or commodities is prohibited on all frontiers, under any name or commission whatsoever, with the exception of salt.


In 1793, France was still in a state of Revolution, and fighting with Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, and Spain.  The government continued to function during the economic crises through a series of loans, bonds and tax increases and increasingly larger amounts of paper money issuance in a vain attempt to stimulate the economy.  The state of the country was only worsened by food shortages, which resulted from bad harvest.  Though most of the blame rested on farmers, unwilling to sell their crops at market, below cost of production.  However, the shortages were more widely blamed on speculators, hoarders, and price gougers.

The General Maximum was written with an eye towards businessmen who were profiting from the demise of the French economy. However, in practice, the law targeted local shopkeepers, butchers, bakers and farmers—the merchants who were profiting the least from the economic crisis.With the General Maximum, the Convention offered the people someone to blame for their hunger and poverty. Furthermore, due to the Law of Suspects, when a citizen informed the government about a merchant who was in violation of the law, he had done his civic duty.



The French Revolution and Romanticism

By on December 10, 2013 Comments Off

There is little or no freedom of speech or expression in places that are ruled by oppressive tyrannical regimes. Such was the situation of France under the Monarchist dictatorship of the Catholic king called Louis XVI. The society was confined within the perimeters defined by the government with unfair laws and unequal distribution of resources. The living conditions of the people determined their state of mind which will always be a great influence on the nature of literature that is produced from that region.

In this divided society where the people were segmented into the nobles and clergy on one side and the working class on the other the literature of that time was quite restrained. All the literary material that is to be found is only focusing on the lives of the upper class namely the nobles and the clergy. This is because the common man was too busy working and was of much less importance to those who were writing at the time. The literature and art of that time seems to be representing only one side of the reality of France and that is the bright side for a select few, all this while the huge working class remained unnoticed.

French Revolution & Romanticism

When the spirit of the revolution caught the whole of the nation and turned things into a whole new direction then art and literature begun to take a new turn. The newly acquired freedom of the common people was not only brought about just laws and living but ordinary people also had the freedom to think for themselves and in turn the freedom to express themselves. Triggered by the revolutionary spirit the writers of the time were full of creative ideas and were waiting for a chance to unleash them. Under the new laws the writers and artists were given a considerable amount of freedom to express themselves which did well to pave the way to set a high standard for literature.

Roots of French Romanticism

In most of the dictionaries we find romanticism to be defined as a literary and cultural movement which took place in Europe in the 19th century. The credit of this movement goes to the imagination and creativity of those great Romantics who managed to express their inner feelings in a very profound and articulate literature. In itself the French revolution is seen to be the dividing event between the era that is described as the pre romanticism era with the Romanticism era having its roots in 1774 and coming to full form by the end of the 18th century which is the time that the French revolution was taking place.

Famous French Romantic Authors

Some of the authors from the Romantic Movement gained world recognition and many are held in high esteem even till today. Vigney is an author who is said to have played a major role in the development of the Romantic revolution with his play Chatterton in the 1820’s. The greatest poet of that time was Hugo who is considered to be one of a kind. There was Joseph de Maistre who was inspired to write under the impact of the great magnitude of the French revolution and many others who sought to take the new found freedom of expression in the positive direction of setting new standards for literature.

The Hunchback of Notre-Dam by Victor Hugo was a huge book in this time period. It was centered around the cathedral but also did a great job of pointing out social class differences between two people. This is a great representation of what has happened to France that caused such stress during the French Revolution. The main theme of the whole book is cultural revolution which is what is happening to France during the Romantic Era.

edited by Peyton Hughes

Slavery and the Haitian Revolution

By on December 9, 2013 Comments Off

Since the revolutionaries explicitly proclaimed liberty as their highest ideal, slavery was bound to come into question during the French Revolution.  Even before 1789 critics had attacked the slave trade and slavery in the colonies.  France had several colonies in the Caribbean in which slavery supported a plantation economy that produced sugar, coffee, and cotton.  The most important of these colonies was Saint Domingue (later Haiti), which had 452,000 slaves, 32,000 whites, and 28,000 free blacks (which included both blacks and mulattos).  The slaves in Saint-Domingue, made up almost half of the approximate 1,000,000 slaves present in the Caribbean at the time.  Some free blacks owned slaves; in fact, the free blacks owned one-third of the plantation property and one-quarter of the slaves in Saint Domingue, though they could not hold public office or practice many professions (medicine, for example).

The slave system in the colonies was regulated by a series of royal edicts, the most important of which was promulgated by Louis XIV in 1685. Taken together, the edicts constituted the Code noir, or slave code. This code prescribed a harsh regime of penalties for slaves who resisted their captivity, especially if they tried to harm their masters in any way. Saint Domingue provided extraordinary sources of wealth to the French. To protect their investments, French slaveholders had to learn at least a minimal amount about their slaves. One of the most astute commentators, Médéric-Louis-Elie Moreau de Saint-Méry, wrote a massive two-volume work on life in Saint Domingue in the 1780s. He described many of the features of slave life that worried slaveholders, including voodoo imported from Africa, the presence of many people of mixed race (mulattos), the threat of slaves becoming Maroons (runaways), and the intense fear among slaveholders that their slaves would try to poison them. After the French Revolution broke out, planters looked back on pre-1789 conditions, trying to understand how slavery might have been better organized. Their observations provide yet another contemporary perspective on the plantation and slave system.

Haitian Revolution

The Caribbean colonies were quick to respond to the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789. The white planters of Saint Domingue sent delegates to France to demand representation at the new National Assembly, as did the mulattos. Several prominent deputies in the National Assembly belonged to the Society of the Friends of Blacks, which put forth proposals for the abolition of the slave trade and the amelioration of the lot of slaves in the colonies. When these proposals fell on deaf ears, some deputies sympathetic to blacks turned to arguing that full civil and political rights should be granted to free blacks in the colonies. Before long, radical journalists in Paris began to take up the cause of black slaves, pushing for the abolition of slavery, or at least for a more positive view of the Africans. The pioneering feminist and playwright, Olympe de Gouges, also wrote a pamphlet challenging the colonial pro-slavery lobby to improve the lot of the blacks.

As the agitation in favor of granting rights to free blacks and abolishing the slave trade gathered steam, the colonies became filled with uncertainty and expectations began rising, especially among the free blacks and mulattos. In response, the white planters mounted their own counterattack and even contemplated demanding independence from France. Less is known about the views of the slaves because hardly any of them could read or write, but the royal governor of Saint Domingue expressed concern about the effects of the Revolution on the colony’s slaves. In October 1789 he reported that the slaves considered the new revolutionary cockade (a decoration made up of red, white, and blue ribbons worn by supporters of the Revolution) a “signal of the manumission of the whites . . . the blacks all share an idea that struck them spontaneously: that the white slaves kill their masters and now free they govern themselves and regain possession of the land.” In other words, the black slaves hoped to follow in the footsteps of their white predecessors, freeing themselves, killing their masters, and taking over the land.

Most deputies feared the effects of the loss of commerce that would result from either the abolition of slavery or the elimination of the slave trade. Fabulous wealth depended on slavery, as did shipbuilding, sugar-refining, and a host of subsidiary industries. Slaveowners and shippers did not intend to give up their prospects without a fight. The U.S. refusal to give up slavery or the slave trade provided added ammunition to support their position.

To quiet the unrest among the powerful white planters, especially in Saint Domingue, the colonial committee of the National Assembly proposed in March 1790 to exempt the colonies from the constitution and to prosecute anyone who attempted to spark uprisings against the slave system. But the steadily increasing agitation threatened the efforts of the National Assembly to mollify the white planters and keep a lid on racial tensions. The March 1790 decree said nothing about the political rights of free blacks, who continued to press their demands both in Paris and back home, but to no avail. In October 1790, 350 mulattos rebelled in Saint Domingue. French army troops cooperated with local planter militias to disperse and arrest them. In February 1791 the mulatto leaders, including James Ogé, were publicly executed. Nevertheless, on 15 May 1791, under renewed pressure from the abbé Grégoire and others, the National Assembly granted political rights to all free blacks and mulattos who were born of free mothers and fathers. Though this proviso limited rights to a few hundred free blacks, the white colonists furiously pledged to resist the application of the law.

Just a few months later, on 22 August 1791, the slaves of Saint Domingue rose up in rebellion, initiating what was to become over the next several years the first successful slave revolt in history. In response, the National Assembly rescinded the rights of free blacks and mulattos on 24 September 1791, prompting them once again to take up arms against the whites. Slaves burned down plantations, murdered their white masters, and even attacked the towns. Fighting continued as the new Legislative Assembly (it replaced the National Assembly in October 1791) considered free black rights again at the end of March 1792. On 28 March, the assembly voted to reinstate the political rights of free blacks and mulattos. Nothing was done about slavery.

In the fall of 1792, as the Revolution in mainland France began to radicalize, the French government sent two agents to Saint Domingue to take charge of the suppression of the slave revolt. In order to gain their freedom, rebel slaves now made pacts with the British and Spanish in the area. The British and Spanish promised freedom to those slaves who would join their armies, even though they had no intention of abolishing slavery in their own colonies. They simply wanted to benefit from France’s problems. Faced with the threat of both British and Spanish invasions aimed at taking over the colony with the aid of the rebel slaves, the French government agents abolished slavery in the colony (August–October 1793). Although the National Convention initially denounced this action as part of a conspiracy to aid Great Britain, the Convention eventually voted to abolish slavery in all the French colonies on 4 February 1794. Many mulattos opposed this move because they owned slaves themselves. After more than two years of rebellion, invasion, attack, and counterattack, the economy of Saint Domingue had nearly collapsed. Thousands of whites fled to the United States or back to France.

For all the deputies’ good intentions, the situation remained confused in almost all the colonies: some local authorities simply disregarded the decree, others converted slavery into forced labor, others were too busy fighting the British and Spanish to decide one way or the other. Out of the fighting emerged one of the most remarkable figures of the era, Toussaint L’Ouverture, a slave who learned to read and write and in the uprising rose to become the leading general of the slave rebels. Toussaint faced incredible obstacles in creating a coherent resistance. By 1800 the plantations were producing only one-fifth of what they had in 1789. In the zones controlled by Toussaint, army officers or officials took over the big estates and kept the former slaves working under military-style discipline. In 1802, once he had consolidated his hold on power in mainland France, Napoleon Bonaparte reestablished slavery and the slave trade in those colonies still under French control and denied political rights to free blacks. He sent a major expeditionary force to Saint Domingue to enforce his will. It captured Toussaint and sent him back to France, where he died in prison. Nevertheless, the former slaves continued their revolt and in 1804 they established the independent republic of Haiti. The French army limped home after losing thousands to disease and sporadic fighting. A slave rebellion had succeeded.

Americans in the new United States followed the events in Saint Domingue with anxious interest. Since the southern states relied on thousands of slaves to work their plantations, a slave revolt in the world’s richest plantation colony was bound to excite their concern. In addition, when white settlers began fleeing Saint Domingue, many of them came to the United States. Newspapers in the United States published letters offering eyewitness accounts (and rumors) about the uprising. The accounts in thePennsylvania Gazette are excerpted here.

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(Edited From a Previous Post)


Medical Studies in the Scientific Revolution

By on December 9, 2013 Comments Off

In the time of the scientific revolution, biology was a new method of human science being studied. Most people during this time did not approve with tampering with  the human body after death. This is especially the opinion of highly religious people. Renaissance  painters during the time were very familiar with the anatomy of the human body.

Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicholas Tulp(1632) by Rembradnt Van Rijn

However in ancient Greece, the Greeks studied human skeletons and dissected animals to formulate explanations of how the human body actually works. For example Galen(130-201), had did just that. He concluded that the key to his system, was the that the human body has four humors, blood, black bile, phlegm, and choler.  If a person was ill it was because one of these humors were not balanced with the others. The solution to this would be to to release some of these imbalanced humors, a process known as purging, in the case of blood its called bloodletting. This method was not particularly successful. He also concluded that there are two types of blood in the human body. One of them supplied nutrients from the liver to the veins through out the whole body. The other one vivified the body by flowing through your arteries.

Image of Galen, the foremost medical authority of the ancient world. 



The heart was a primary organ of respiration and for the production of animal heat. Blood was made in the liver. 


Galen’s four humors of the body

Ironically enough in formal medical education the professionals and students did not dissect human bodies. It was thought of as a lowly practice. Instead barber surgeons would perform dissections on people, which was typically done during battles or after,on soldiers. At this time manual labor was lowly and intellectually work was highly thought of. The majority of the practitioners thought that way,  but  there were a few who thought that both manual and intellectual work went hand in hand. Practitioner,German physician alchemist, Parecelsus broke tradition of the ancient tests of Galen and experimented with chemicals to cure illnesses instead of purges. Medical establishments opposed and criticized him. Those who worked in the military actually had more of chance to experiment because of development of military technology. The development of military technology was  cruel and humane, but highly improved the ability to actually cure a person.

Another key medical practitioner was named Andreas Vesalius(1514-15640). He was a a Belgium surgeon who wrote  The Structure of the Human Body in 1543 form careful and tedious analysis of his own. Not only did he write about the anatomy of the human body but he drew very precise at the time, anatomical drawings. One can see just by glancing at them that he was very serious about his drawing, but also added a little humor. These drawings were the fist to be available to students of medicine.


Andreas Versalius book, The structure of the Human Body

Englishmen, William Harvey(1578-1657) with the help newly invented microscope, proved Galen’s conclusion about blood flow and the main function of the heart wrong. The telescope let him see the vessels through which the blood flowed, and eventually with enough experiments he figured out that the heart was indeed the main source through which blood flows through. Later in the 17th century practitioner, Robert Boyle proved another one of Galen’s conclusions wrong about the four humors. He said that the world is made up of tiny particles and changes is the particles brought on changes in matter. Motion and matter are key.


The invention of the microscope helped in the discovery of how blood is circulated through the body.


Boyle argued that everything in the world is made up of tiny particles.


Frankforter, A. Daniel., and W. M. Spellman. “Chapter 15.” The West: A Narrative History. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009. N. pag. Print.,d.cWc&psig=AFQjCNHlF0mhEo9jb6I1LZQxnaBXVrgaow&ust=1386706197369638

Revolution in France

By on December 9, 2013 Comments Off

-The Declaration of the Rights of Men

Declaration of the Rights of Man

Declaration of the Rights of Man

  •  - The Declaration of the Rights of Man, was ratified in the summer of 1789, by the National Constituent Assembly (Assemblée nationale constituante).  This was the first step toward having a constitution in France.  The Declaration outlines the principles of “Popular Sovereignty”, and social equality among citizens.  This contrasts the “Divine Right” the Monarchy had previous to the declaration.


Significant contributing events


-The Enlightenment  

Voltaire (1694-1778)


  • -Enlightenment ideology spreading through Europe, which emphasized freedom and equality. Philosophers including: Voltaire, and Turgot.  Both of these Enlightened Thinkers, wrote about the rights of men, specifically equal rights for all reasoning men.


-Western Influence 




US Constitution


The Signing of the United States Constitution



  • -With the success of the American Revolution, the idea of a revolution being plausible was renewed, sparking increased dissent among proponents of radical thought.
  • -Interaction between notable Americans and french philosophers, helped to foster new thought.
  • -The American Revolution held many of the same Ideals as the oncoming French Revolution.  With the success of the American Revolution, the seeds of Revolution was planted in the French people.

-Economic crisis


Graph Showing the Growth of French Debt in the 18th Century

  • -Increasing amounts of debt in France, due to the lavish spending of the Monarchy, caused increased taxing of both the lower and upper economic classes.
  • -Funding of the colonists in the American Revolution, was the most impactful cause of French Debt in the 18th Century, responsible for close to 50% of France’s debt.


French Bread Distribution 1709


  • -With a poor harvest of grain, the lower class was effectively on the edge of starvation. When the Little Ice Age struck, grain (the primary crop for the lower class) became non-existent. This caused a large influx into cities due to unemployment, increasing the shortage and resulting in disease.


Important reading notes                      french_revolution_serment_du_jeu_de_paume_tennis_court_oath


  • -Louis XVI took the lead in a time of economic trouble.
  • -The French and Indian War had been made possible on bad loans by the government, which were only to be paid back if a victory occured.
  • -The aristocracy and noblesse de robe refused to pay taxes, due to their control of the government.
  • -The poor were heavily taxed, and once the American Revolution started, increases in dues were made again.
  • -Reform was made impossible, due to the Church not accepting reform on the rights of the clergy.
  • -Louis XVI called a The Estates General meeting, which involved laborers, peasants, business people, lawyers, etc.
  • -This council was one of the first times that common people were given the opportunity to influence government affairs.
  • -When the council met on May 1789, there were 300 delegates from the First and Second Estates (Nobles and Clergy), with 600 from the Third Estate.
  • -With first and second estates refusing to allow a fair voting process on issues, tensions rose.
  • -This caused the Third Estate to declare itself the National Assembly of France.
  • -This was in effect until a new constitution was drafted.
  • -The council caused a large media storm, which awakened the peasants to the issues at hand.
  • -Fall of the Bastille
  • -Louis XVI refused to acknowledge the presence of the National Assembly, and called for extra troops in a show power.
  • -This was seen as a threat by the peasants who stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789.
  • -The army of the Third Estate was formed, and was named the National Guard.
  • -With the battle of the Bastille, similar riots began to occur throughout the country.
  • -The suspension of the king by the Legislative Assembly resulted in eventual death by guillotine for he and Marie Antoniette.
  • -Radical Jacobins assumed control of the convention, resulting in strong central control over government departments and emergency powers that were overseeing the economic and military crisis.
  • -The urban lower class supported radical policies, and arrested the moderate members of the convention.
  • -These moderate members (the Girondins), were executed.
  • -This led for limited opposition to the Jacobins, who took control over all departments.
  • -The Jacobins took control of the 12 member Council of Public Safety, which they used as a tool to increase radical power.
  • -An army was built with numbers of 800,000, who fought for the ideals of the people (liberty and equality).
  • -This greatly helped the struggle against Austria and Prussia, whom the nation was at war with.
  • -The army succeeded in pushing back troops in Belgium and Rhineland, taking the offensive for the first time.
  • -Meanwhile, Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794) was elected to lead the Jacobin Public Safety Council, which led a fight for financial equality, based on Republic of Virtue thought, which was created to ensure not extremes of wealth and power. A Law of the Maximum was made, to control the price of bread and flour.
  • -Robespierre led riots and convictions against members of the convention who he deemed to be threats of the people, resulting in a killing spree, which ended after the convention itself rejected the Jacobins, and killed them by Guillotine.
  • -The war on the domestic and international fronts were won, causing the convention to see its mission as complete.
  • -A new constitution was drafted at the same time, which did not give the right to vote to nobles.
  • -A Directory was founded, which served as a temporary government.
  • -With the revolution complete, the changes were large: rejection of feudalism, ban on noble exemption, removal of the throne, and provisions against the church from influencing affairs of the state.


-Sources of interest

  -Timeline of Revolution 

  -List of revolutionary leaders

(Edited From a Previous Post)

-Travis Herman

During the Industrial Revolution there was without a doubt, significant amounts of change happening. These changes could be seen in many different types of sources such as paintings, novels, music, and other art forms. The artists and authors were able to show the changes and their thoughts on the change through their works. Two sources I have looked at were Claude Monet’s Sunrise and Charles Dickens’ Hard Times.


(Monet’s Sunrise)

The two men appear isolated floating in the small, wooden oared boat on the calm, glass-like water that is swallowing the beautiful colors of the sunset. The beauty of the serene and tranquil setting in the forefront is interrupted by the large, looming structures in the background, as the heavy dark smoke rises and masks the vibrant colors of the sun. Which way, to or from, the men in the row boats are headed is debatable, but the contrast in character of the opposing shore lines is clear and intentional in Claude Monet’s Sunrise in 1872. Giant versus small, nature versus machine, the two men in the small boat positioned between worlds colliding, between the past and the future; Change is looming.

With his paint brush Monet illustrates the change that was occurring in response to expanded use of machines, a change so broad and significant that it would become known as the Industrial Revolution. Monet used the impression technique when painting Sunrise in 1872. The use of this painting technique is an important aspect that Monet added to this painting because the apparent bold brush strokes give the painting a somewhat chaotic look as the lack of detail emphasizes the unknown future being brought about by the Industrial Revolution.

In the painting, the change is arguably seen negatively. The steam engines interrupt the serenity the pristine natural and beautiful. On a more in-depth level, one may argue that the two men on the boat represent the individuals who were caught in the middle of a rapidly changing world, possibly who felt up against the large industrial groups. The men in the row boats could represent those who were stuck between whether to conform to industrialization, represented by one shore, or try to preserve a more familiar way of life, represented by the other shore, in an era representing the greatest and most significant changes in history.

A shift that began in Britain during the 1820’s changed the world forever. There was a shift from farming to working in factories, and from depending on human and animal labor, to depending on new machinery. With invention came factories. As uses for the machine were ever-expanding the upsurge of factories provided a speedy process of producing goods in mass quantity.  That which was once painstakingly made by hand in a slow process yielding limited availability and high cost became more available at much lower cost through mass production.

Increased productivity allowed more of seemingly everything to be produced at a lesser cost. The steam engine allowed people and products to be transported far distances at a fairly quick and affordable rate, expanding access to and availability of products even more. What once required the muscle of many men could be accomplished by a single machine. The manpower needed by factories made jobs available to unskilled masses. These advancements resulted in manufacturing reaching an all-time high. Whether seen as positive advancements or negative decays, one thing can be assumed about the Industrial Revolution; it was an enormous change.

As industrialization took hold and urbanization emerged the huge shifts taking place did not occur smoothly. More and more people left the farms and moved to the city to work in factories which quickly led to over-crowded cities that were spawning grounds for disease, crime, and poverty. As labor became abundant factory owners paid less and lacked concern for the workers while amassing enormous fortunes for themselves.


Charles Dickens

Seeking these factory jobs, lines formed outside of the brick factories “that would have been red if the smoke and ash had allowed it; but as matters stood, it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage” (20). In the midst of the Industrial Revolution, Charles Dickens wrote his novel Hard Times in which he points out the negatives of industrialization and draws attention to the workers perspective. In the chapter titled Key Notes, Dickens gives an in-depth description of Coke Town, the industrial mill town that is the main setting of the novel. By describing Coke Town in the manor that he does, Dickens creates an urban jungle scene full of evil and chaos out of his fictional mill town. He makes these connections by describing the thick smoke coming from many factories as “interminable serpents..[that] never got uncoiled” (20). Dickens also refers to the steam engines as working “monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness”.

Dickens’ jungle full of serpents, elephants, and savages is a strong use of imagery. In literature, a serpent is referenced as being a sly and conniving creature that usually tricks people into doing wicked things by seeming moral.  Comparing the smoke of the factories to a serpent could be inferring that the factories are not what they seem and will become troublesome in the future. Also, a note to make is that Monet’s painting shown the factories built on the water. Water was needed to produce the steam used to run the factories, so the reference of serpents can be related to sea serpents rising out of the water. Elephants are enormously strong animals and the comparison of their strength used so monotonously and repetitively as the piston of a steam engine could be an allusion to the strength of man-power being used monotonously and not fulfilling its full potential. Dickens usage of the word savage signifies once again the jungle characteristics; savages with painted faces are often associated with beastly, barbaric warriors.

The Industrial Revolution spread from Britain to France and eventually all over the world within about 40 years. The changes and innovations altered the thought process of civilization immensely. Workers bought clothes rather than making them. They wore those clothes to work, which they had to have some sort of transportation to get to. This job left them with a paycheck, on which they decided how to spend. The whole idea of options arose, which led to more free-thinking and choices.

As seen in the painting and the novel, change may be ugly at first. It may seem awful and destructive. If it weren’t for the Industrial Revolution however, things we take for granted today, as simple as going to the store to buy a t-shirt would not be possible. Drivers gripe and complain when new roads are being established and it causes traffic and excessive backup, but that little time of inconveniences results in better days ahead. Improvement at first may been painful and depicted as a bad thing, but it often leads to greatness. If Monet and Dickens would have known the effects of the revolution we see today, their reports may not have been so negative. However, if they did not point out the negative effects while it was happening, the change that has changed our lives would have never occurred and that change is the Industrial Revolution.

Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. Hard Times. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1854. Print.

Monet, Clause. Sunrise

Primary Source Paper: King Louis XIV

By on December 9, 2013 Comments Off

Absolutism in France

Absolutism is historically noted as the gain of absolute power in the monarchy in Europe during the 17th century.  King Louis XIV was the ruler of France during the 17th century and his kingdom can be summed up in a personal quote that “The State is Mine.”  He used very minimal clergy and literally worked the state by himself.  He is responsible for the construction ofVersailles and the power and influence of the arts at that time.

Louis de Rouvroy, Duke of St. Simon, wrote his memoires in gratitude of the perfection in attendance at the king’s court.  Memoires de St. Simon is an undated journal written about what the Duke regards as the monumental features of King Louis XIV and his court atVersailles.  The public journal is a brilliant analysis of the state of the French elite, an accurate analysis of King Louis XIV himself, and an outstanding analysis of the Palace at Versailles; together all these aspects demonstrate the memoires as a primary source of King Louis XIV’s court.

According to the Duke, King Louis XIV’s court guaranteed splendor, magnificence, and profusion.  Nothing matched the air of gallantry under critical inspection.  In describing a lower court of Versailles, theMarble Court, he is said to have admired the magnitude and then flee from it because it was nearly god-like.  Among other distinguishing places, Trianon was a porcelain house for breakfast and crumpets.  King Louis diverted theEureRiverbetweenChartresand Maintenon having its full flow toVersailles.  There was an arrogant pleasure in the way nature was forced to abide in the courts with lairs of frogs and snakes entranced by the shine of a building.  In the countryside, King Louis XIV’s court was outlandishly beautiful and was unmatched in awe according to the Duke.

Elisabeth Charlotte, Duchesse d’Orleans, held rights to her maiden name Liselotte von der Pfalz.  In her journal she confirms the state of luxury and grandeur at Versaillesand goes into more depth from the critical perspective of a woman in the court.  Her journal is dated and is sectioned about her youth, marriage, widowhood, and motherhood of the regent.  Being a personal journal, Letters de Liselotte von der Pfalz, is a different standing source than the memoires.  Yet still, the primary source journal demonstrates an accurate and opinionated writing on King Louis XIV and his court.

She says that the court at Versailles is matched only by the will of God.  The intricacy of the guardian statues led her to dream in her youth several times; the dream was about a soldier pulling his sword against an enemy of the king.  During her marriage to Elector Karl Ludwig, King Louis XIV’s brother, she attended with bishops, generals, and maidens down Versailles walk where the landscape was impeccable.  The landscape was kempt daily and never during walking hours.  She was a rather poor German princess, and after marrying her husband she remarks that the jewels, objects of art, table, and toilet accessories were all in gold and silver.  Not only were these abundant in the court, but in the Catholic faith there was an abundance of pristine metal crosses and golden pews.  During her life as a widow and as a mother of the regent, Elisabeth remarks how the boy grew up cloaked with gold lace capes.  According to Elisabeth, there was always something charmed and extravagant that came about in the court while she lived there for forty years.

Both the Duke and Elisabeth remark on King Louis XIV as a great leader.  Elisabeth says as the king would host the elders within the elite, he would listen and present reason for continued stay at Versailles.  She remarks on how most of the clergy could spend their time in activity at Versailles rather than at work in Paris.  The duke says that of the entire member in the court each was mortified of private walks with the king; his power and glory always kept them a heel.  The Duke says how the tell tales and dramatists were countless in the court due to the king’s public demeanor.  Furthermore, these that were spying private affairs and public scrutiny were not put aside by the king but addressed formally and harshly.  King Louis XIV always had a remarkable hand in all instance of the court; the way he led the court was the same as he led the country.

Of his greatness, King Louis XIV is recalled as familiar with everyone in the court.  He presented himself kindled with the servants and especially the valets, according to the Duke.  Elisabeth said that of all the elite men in France, the king was of politeness that was greatly restrained.  This means that the king was naturally polite and enjoyed being polite.  They both say that he was not a king that one did not see; he was always around fondly presenting himself in the company of the court.  The duke relates the esteem of the court to their king almost perfectly.  He says he chose Versailles, originally an unattractive swampland, and transformed the natural landscape completing it with treasures and art.  He then goes on to compare this choice to the transformation of the court at the end of his life.  Any skeptic who ever appears to doubt the king transforms into a loyal member of the court.  King Louis XIV was highly esteemed by the court as a whole and on the individual level.

In the comparison of the luxury of the court and the esteem of the court, there is a reflection between King Louis XIV and the court at Versailles.  The court was perfectly tame as was the king with respect to his work ethic.  Versailles was abundant in reserves as was the king with his power.  Each construction at the court was unique as the king wanted and the king himself was a unique reflection of the court.  Elisabeth spent several journal entries on contemplating how the court at Versailles was the king’s work.  Her overall conclusion was that the court was as great as is possible, and she could only consider the king to be as great as well.

Greatness can rarely be measured in words, but the Duke and Elisabeth tried to express the king in the greatest of measurements.  The luxury of the court expands their journals page after page.  Admiration of the court was not the only admiration, as they held the king in highest esteem in their discourse.  This demonstrates the necessary reflection and the remainder of their journals.  Each journal spoke fondly of their time in the court at Versailles and with King Louis XIV.


Charlotte, Elisabeth.  Duchesse d’Orleans.  Letters of Liselotte von der Pfalz, 1652-1722

Translated by Elborg Forster in A Woman’s Life in the Court of the Sun King. 1958

Memoires de Sanit-Simon, ed. By A. Chereul (Paris, 1857), XII, 452-458, 461-471.

Appearing in A Century of Louis XIV, written by Ranum, O. 1972.

Edited from previous post: Primary Source Paper on King Louis XIV’s Court

By: Corey Dyke, Anthony Martin, Camille Jones

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