At mid-century, Great Britain, France and Russia were the three major powers of Europe.  However the unification of Italy and Germany altered the balance of power in Central Europe and dramatically changed international politics.  Moreover, ethnic minorities in the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary clamored for more rights, setting the stage for further conflict in Europe.  During the second half of the 19th century, Europe moved into the age of mass politics.  The British Parliament passed a second reform bill in 1867 and a third in 1884, expanding the franchise.  The ministries of Gladstone and Disraeli fought for the hearts of the working class with progressive policies.  Beginning with a republic, then another Napoleonic empire, France ended up with a Third Republic, more an accommodation than a choice.  The franchise also increased in Belgium, Germany and Italy.

The last few decades of the century saw remarkable changes in economic, social and cultural arenas.  The Great Exposition of 1851 set the stage for remarkable changes in the markets.  Mass production helped to usher in a period of rapid growth, despite long depressions that gripped Europe during the 70’s and 80’s.  Though this period of mass production helped to increase the quality of life, the difficult conditions of the laboring poor helped the creation of mass socialist parties in France, Germany, Italy and most Western European states.  Despite these developments, economic conditions also helped to create modern mass culture.  Mass circulation newspapers, department stores offering an astonishing variety of goods, the emergence of spectator sports and the bicycle help symbolize this period.

The rise in aggressive nationalism was one of the consequences of the advent of mass politics.  Newspapers in every country castigated national rivalries and encouraged the “new imperialism” that began in the 1880’s.  By the outbreak of World War I, the European powers had divided up three-quarters of the world’s surface.  Imperialism helped sharpen international rivalries and contributed to the entangling alliance that led Europe into two heavily armed camps.

Amid scientific progress, a boom in manufacturing, and the emergence of mass politics in Western Europe, many artists and intellectuals worried that Western Civilization was moving too rapidly and was almost out of control.


Unit Five Syllabus

 Reader XII: 
Nationalism and Socialism
 Reader XIII: 
Development in Politics
for non-Major 
European States
 Reader XIV: 
Developments in the
Late 19th Century

Pages 434-444 Pages 486-493  
Pages 445-460 Pages 462-484 Pages 494-510
Pages 511-524
A Bar at the Folies Bergeres
Sunday in the Park
Riders on the Beach

Class 01 Mother Russia, Father Czar or What a Dysfunctional Family
Class 02 The Kernel of Revolution, or You Killed My Brother
Class 03 Risorgimento or the Italian Version of E pluribus unum
Class 04 Here Bismarck und Deutschland or Living Dangerously - Cautiously
Class 05 The New Deutschland or Your Land ist My Land
Class 06 Republic, Empire and Republic, What Goes Around Comes Around
Class 07 Great Britain and the Irish or You Can Feel the Love
Class 08 Et alii: Nationalism in Europe, or Not Just for the "Big Guys"
Class 09 Market Forces and the New Imperialism or Being Modern Cheaply
Class 10 Western Imperialism or Making the World "Safe" for Modernism
Social Thought
Class 11 19th Century Urbanization or Is It Modern Yet?
Class 12 & 13 Social Thought or the Way We Were Are
Class 14 Entertainment or Not?
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