The French Revolution and Romanticism

By on December 4, 2013 Comments Off on The French Revolution and Romanticism

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. The Romantic Era started mostly because the people had started to revolt against the aristocratic society. These revolts were expressed through paintings, music, and 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.Victor Hugo was a huge author of the time, he is responsible for The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.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.

Edited by: Peyton Hughes

New Imperialism

By on December 4, 2013 Comments Off on New Imperialism

In the late 19th century, Europe made huge advances in Industry, transportation, public health, and education.  Because of these advances, European countries believed that they deserved to dominate less advanced continents.  Their sense of superiority was justified by Charles Darwin’s Theory of Biological Evolution.  Darwin’s Theory, based on the principle of natural selection, that “some species are more successful than others at adapting to changes in the environment.” (The West pg.632)  The species that were strong and faster survived to pass on their genes to the next generation.  European countries used this theory in social, moral, cultural, intellectual, and political context.  They imposed their rule on less developed countries and imposed their values on non-western people.  Imperialism, the dominance and extension of authority and control of one country over another, was practiced by the colonial empires of Britain, France, Belgium, and Portugal.

What made the late nineteenth century new Imperialism different from the previous Imperialism was the role of economics.  Europe believed that to secure international markets they needed to control raw materials such as rubber and petroleum in foreign countries.  These inexpensive raw materials were taken by the European colonies.  However, few colonies proved profitable.  Most turned out to be more costly than had been expected.

European countries quest for overseas empires was also based on their desire for trading ports and raising armies.  Newly acquired land would provide the European countries with the resources to reach both goals.  As European countries raced to take over foreign lands, there was a fear of the rising nationalism in other European countries.  There was also a fear that one nation would become more powerful than the other European nations.  For example, Italy’s military activities in Libya and Somalia provided evidence of that nation’s power.

Finally, the issue of racism drove imperialism in the 19th century.  Europeans believed that their cultures were superior to others.  European countries used Darwin’s Theory of Evolution as a rational for one race being better than another race which provided an excuse to expand empires.  The European countries believed that they should implement their own customs and beliefs on other races in foreign nations.  A main reason for territorial expansion was to bring the superior civilization to influence the less developed countries.

Cecil Rhodes











Image: A cartoon depicting Cecil Rhodes standing over Africa.  He stated “I contend that we are the finest race in the world…the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.”


Written by: Malin Serfis


Frankforter, A. Daniel, and William M. Spellman. The West: A Narrative History. Third edition. Pearson Education, Inc., 620-622. Print.


Women during the Enlightenment and their contributions

By on December 4, 2013 Comments Off on Women during the Enlightenment and their contributions

The Enlightenment era was often viewed as the founder of individualism and rationality. Women at that time often challenge those ideas and started questioning their roles in society.

Many modern thinkers at the time like Rousseau often view women as separate identity and men separate identity. Often time women were perceived as the caretakers of the household and mothers of children in the family.  With Enlightenment thinking, women began to develop a new intellect. By combining the ideas that were created in the public sector to those more traditional domestic private affairs, such as hosting salons in their houses. Out of the salons, women were able to obtain knowledge and gain literary support. Because of these gatherings, women were able to think critically, participate and contribute in society in many ways rather than being becoming caretakers of the households.

The writer Mary Wollstonecraft is often credited as an early feminist of this era.  She is known for writing several novels, treatise and books that advocating women should received formal education. Wollstonecraft believed that educated women could strengthen society and could intellectually be equivalent to their husband in society. Wollstonecraft still believed that women should maintain traditional roles as mothers and wives in society. So she did not call upon equal rights for women, she simply believed that women should receive formal education in order to contribute in society along with their male counterparts.

Mary Wollstonecraft

At that time, women took a more radical approach for liberty and equal rights.  Based on the Lock’s principles of natural rights, women often view themselves as equivalent to men in receiving natural rights.  During the French revolution, one activist Marie Gouze who alias name is Olympe De Gouges who took a more passionate and militant approach for women’s rights during the French Revolution of the Enlightenment era.

Olympe De Gouges was known as a revolutionary for women’s rights in the French Revolution. Her ambition to fight sparked when she was unhappy about how women were treated in Pre revolution France. After a series of events that occur, she would establish a series of documents acknowledging women and their equal liberties. She is also know as writing a personal letter to the queen at that time Marie Antoinette stating about how womanhood mean to her. She also believed that women natural rights were lost and it was up to women to retrieved them. Her legacy created a discussion in women rights that had not been discussed prior to the revolution in France.

Olympe De Gouges


These Women help paved the way for natural rights and equality for women in society during the Enlightenment eras.

Modified and Rework Olympe De Gouges post: Karim Mian and Domingo Alvarez







The Industrial Revolution’s Modern Portrayal

By on December 3, 2013 Comments Off on The Industrial Revolution’s Modern Portrayal

In England, the Industrial Revolution is a huge part of British History. It was during the Industrial Revolution period, that England brought itself out of poverty and became the huge world power that it is today. Therefore, the Industrial Revolution is mentioned a lot not only in education in England, but also in their pop culture.

During the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, which were held in London, a vast reenactment of the Industrial Revolution was given.


london olympics

“The Industrial Revolution was another of those extraordinary jumps forward into the story of civilization”- Stephen Gardiner



Written by: Kellyn Staneart


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The British canal system played a vital role of England’s during the Industrial Revolution. The canal system at first grew quickly, connecting the canals through the South, Midlands, parts of the North of England and Wales. Canals became the popular means of transportation during the Industrial Revolution because of their economic and reliable way for transporting large quantities of goods. “Canals were man-made rivers which were deep enough to cope with barges which were capable of moving nearly forty tons of weight. This was far more than a pack of mules could carry or a horse and carriage.”

canal system

The Duke of Bridgewater is credited with being the man associated with early canals. The duke owned coal mines and need a quick and reliable way to transport coal to the surrounding big cities. Therefore, the duke gave the engineer James Brindley a job to create canals from Lancashire to Manchester. After two years of being built, the canal system went from Lancashire to Manchester through tunnels that were directly linked to the coal mines.

The Duke of Brigdewater

The Duke of Brigdewater


Engineer James Brindley

Engineer James Brindley

Overtime, England’s canal system grew tremendously. Canal’s were a big hit because they transported important materials fast and they were much more reliable than carriages. Canal’s were also a big hit because of the large quantities of things that they could carry.  Overall, the Canal System in England was a huge benefit for the country, during the time of the Industrial Revolution and even nowadays with over 2,200 miles of navigable canals.

England's Canal System during the Industrial Revolution

England’s Canal System during the Industrial Revolution

The British Canal System Today. All blue, red and purple are canal systems.

The British Canal System Today. All blue, red and purple are canal systems.

Written by: Kellyn Staneart


The Great Exhibition

By on December 3, 2013 Comments Off on The Great Exhibition

In 1851 in Hyde Park, London, England, the Crystal Palace was built to hold Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations. The Palace was thought out and organized by Henry Cole and Prince Albert. The purpose of the Crystal Palace at this exhibit was to show the grand scheme of the British empire, and all that they had succeeded in doing during the Industrial Revolution. The massive glass house stood 1851 feet long and 454 feet wide. The structure was made out of entirely cast iron frame and glass. Both of these materials came directly from Birmingham and Smethwick, again to show how grand England was.


Over six million people came from around the world to visit the Great Exhibition. The event itself made 186,00 pounds which is today equivalent to 17,240,000 pounds. Today, the massive exhibition is seen as a symbol of the Victorian Age of England.

Outside view of the Crystal Palace

Outside view of the Crystal Palace

A few of the exhibits that were featured were:

The Printing Machine

The Printing Machine

Koh-i-Noor diamond

Koh-i-Noor diamond

French Scuptures

French Scuptures

Carriages and saddlery

Carriages and Saddlery

Overall, the Great Exhibition, which today is more commonly known as the Crystal Palace Exhibition was a great successes for London, and showed off the things that they had produced from their Industrial Revolution time.

Written by: Kellyn Staneart


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With all of the changes happening during the Industrial Revolution, some weren’t as keen on new technologies and machineries as others. With this, Luddism was created. Webster’s Dictionary defines Luddism as “Any of a group of British workers who between 1811 and 1816 rioted and destroyed laborsaving textile machinery in the belief that such machinery would diminish employment.”


Luddites beginning to destroy a machine during the Industrial Revolution times.

Luddites beginning to destroy a machine during the Industrial Revolution times.


The term “Luddites” came from the people of this time who were against the Industrial Revolution. These were a passionate group of hard working textile workers during the revolution who rebelled in fear that their jobs would be taken away. Luddites would go around and destroy any new machinery with any weapons they had on hand at the time. They believed that the new machines would force them out of jobs and in return, destroy their families and communities. However, the idea of Luddism is not for violence. Instead, the ideals that surround Luddism come from a pride of things that are human and hand made. “It is a philosophy that respects
tradition, intuition, spirituality, the senses, human relationships, the work of the hand, and the disorderly and unpredictable nature of reality, as opposed to a mechanistic or reductionist construct of the world.”

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In today’s modern times, the term “Luddite” is used as a stylish insult used to explain a person who is slow to adapt to new technology.


This video is a British- punk rock band that explains Luddites and also shows how Luddites are used and talked about in pop culture.


Written by: Kellyn Staneart


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How Deism came upon during the Enlightenment

By on December 1, 2013 Comments Off on How Deism came upon during the Enlightenment

During the Enlightenment eras and the Age of thinking and Reason. Many thinkers introduce a religious movement called Deism. Deism is the notion that explains the perspective of god. Deists believed that god exists and it the creator. That god surrounds every being and the person is surrounded with god.

Because of this concept that god is exists and it the sole creator, there are several practices that modern Deist rejects.

 The idea of worship:

         Deists believe that god is not involved with mankind. So there is no need or desire for worshipping god. It does not matter to god whether mankind believes in the entity.

 Rejection of Prophets:

         Since there is no need for worship, god has no reason to communicate through prophets. Also there is no need for God to send representatives to Mankind in humanity.

 Rejection of Supernatural Events:

         God is the creator of everything. God decides what is going to happen with humanity. Therefore God does not need to make prepositions or predict what is going to happen to humanity through visions and miracles.

 Methods of Understanding God:

         Since God himself is a sole being in society. God controls himself, nobody cannot control god for his or her benefit. Only God controls himself. Through reason and science alone, god help created those. Deists have a good understanding that human exist and help contribute all the facilities that god created.

Deists reject all types of revealed Religions. Revealed religions a type of religion that is based on information that is communicated from the spiritual world to humanity through an entity usually through prophets.

 Here are some more ideas and concept that Deists followed:

 taught that Christ was a good moral teacher but not God

claimed that God was gentle, loving and kind but never would exercise vengeance in judgment.

stated that the human soul was immortal and would be rewarded or punished on the basis of good works.

taught that all religions were basically the same.

stated that tolerance of all religions was a prime virtue.

said that it was wrong to be enthusiastic about any religion. Lord

claimed that their logic and scientific research showed that humans are basically good and can progress towards perfection in all areas of living through their own natural abilities.

Modified and rework from previous posts about Deism: Karim Mian and Domingo Alvarez

Enlightenment Despots

By on November 30, 2013 Comments Off on Enlightenment Despots

Monarchs sought out legal, social and many other reforms that were originally inspired by the Enlightenment era. Some prominent figures included Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great, Joseph II

Frederick the Great of Prussia

Frederick the Great (r.1740-1786): King of Prussia, who was known as a brilliant military general who lead a series of campaigns against Austria at that time, and other military powers. Because of this, Frederick was able to expand Prussia and acquire new territories, which made Prussia a powerful nation in Europe. Frederick gained his popularity by implementing enlightenment ideas into the nation. Within the state he establish an enlighten government and was know for his religious toleration to other religions, despite being Protestant himself.   He created a model of how Enlighten Despotism should be in Europe, which later became the foundation of a revolutionary change thus creating a more prestige Prussia under his regime.


Catherine the Great of Russia

Catherine the Great: (1762-1796)- German born Russian empress who expanded the country. She created a brand new political and cultural life for Russia in Europe. Catherine continue the legacy of the former ruler Peter the Great, in which her ministers changed the administration and laws of Russia Empire, extending territory to the empire including the Crimea and parts of Poland. After witnessing the traumatic events of the French Revolution, Catherine herself began to question the concepts of divine royalty and aristocracy although she had no intentions to change her privileges. She states, “I am an aristocrat, and it’s my profession”.  Despite the criticisms she received while in power, Catherine the Great is often viewed and credited as the founder of forming a national pride for Russia. Her efforts into transform a country proved far difficult because if their acceptance by the public. She had envision one day that Russia would be just like the French.  However, she did make efforts to reform the state to some degree. For example Catherine the Great replenished the state’s treasury by secularizing the state’s clergy, later reducing their power.  Since, Russia was an anarchic and backward society. Reforming the country turned out to be difficult and less effective for the country She makes attempts such as forming a constitution, but nothing would come out of it.



Joseph II of Austria

Joseph II (1780-90)- He was the sole ruler of Austrian Hapsburgs who was an advocate of the enlightenment. Joseph II establishes a series of administrative, legal, and economic reforms throughout the country that brought minimal success for the country.  His reforms became well known in the country. His mother Marie Theresa established the reforms and he carried on the traditions. By that time Joseph had created sophisticated systems for example, establishing an educational system that was not coordinated with the church. He also extended the judiciary and legislative systems by having them at the lower level. Through a series of reforms, Austria was at the top of the peak in every shape and form by also implementing similar ideas that previous enlightened despots, such as abolishing serfdom, advocating religious tolerance throughout the country and allowing freedom of speech.

All of the Enlighten Despots had one vision and that was to create a great society to make their home country prosper at that time. Attempting reforms was often a challenge for them, because the monarchs were hoping for a drastic change, and be successful, but for Catherine the Great it turned out a problem but she is often remember for her efforts to reform Russia.

New Blog Post entry and Modified from a series previous entries pertaining to Enlightenment Despots:

By: Karim Mian and Domingo Alvarez




Jewish Nationalism

By on November 30, 2013 Comments Off on Jewish Nationalism

During the mid- to late-nineteenth century, nationalism as a global trend was on the rise. In Germany especially, nationalism skyrocketed, due to rapid industrialism, changes in power, urbanization, class tensions, and other factors. Because of this nationalistic sentiment characteristically prevalent in Germany during this time, an emphasis on the unique cultural heritage of Germany came about, including emphasis on preserving and celebrating the German Volk, or the German people.

This emphasis led to the subsequent accentuation of the importance of race in history in general, as well as its importance in relation to the global integrity and success of a country. During this time, the anti-Semitic views that were already in European culture, and specifically German culture, became amplified.

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Alsace, vol. 2,<br />                  col. 753-754. Anti-Jewish riots in Duermenach, a<br />                  village of Alsace, on 28 February 1848










In response to this amplification, and the subsequent persecution of Jewish people, a Jewish nationalist movement formed.

This movement, called Zionism, called for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, and upheld the importance of the Jewish people holding on to their cultural identity as Jews.

Zionism encouraged mass Jewish immigration to Palestine, through the combined efforts of many Jewish leaders, as well as Theodor Herzl, an Austrian journalist, author of the Jewish State, and the chief presiding leader over the First Zionist Congress.




As a result of these efforts, about four thousand Jews had settled in Palestine (while it was still a part of the Ottoman Empire) by the beginning of World War I in 1914. Later, Britain carved Palestine out of the Ottoman Empire, instituting civil administration over the nation from 1920-1948.








Original post by Megan Palmer



The West, A Narrative History by Frankforter and Spellman

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