A History of World Societies,
European Life in the Age of Nationalism
The previous chapter, "Ideologies
and Upheavals 1815-1871," explored the impact of new ideologies - socialism,
liberalism, and nationalism - on ordinary people in Europe during the nineteenth
century. In 1848, these new outlooks created revolution in a variety of European
locations. Despite their differences, all of these revolutions expressed the
yearnings of millions of Europeans to live in nation states that pursued more
economic, political, and social justice. The revolutions of 1848 suggest that
a common European outlook was emerging among ordinary Europeans, not just
among European elites, as explored in Chapter 18, "Toward a New World-View
in the West." In the nineteenth century, millions of Europeans shared
in the new technological developments, experienced the new values associated
with the explosion of urban growth, and became increasingly attached to their
nation states and to their individual governments. More than ever before,
a common outlook emerged among the masses of Europeans. The Internet activities
will explore this development.
- You may want to begin by printing this page. As
you explore different sites, use the printout to refer back to the instructions
and questions detailed in each activity.
- On many web sites you can increase the size of
the images by clicking on them. Whenever possible, use the larger images
to examine fine details in photographs.
- The industrial revolution that you explored in
Chapter 24 continued unabated in Europe throughout the nineteenth century.
Study the charts at Modern
History Sourcebook: Tables Illustrating the Spread of Industrialization.
Which European countries were the leading manufacturing nations by the end
of the century? Which countries produced the most textiles, iron, and railroads?
Which countries were the most populous?
- After reflecting on these questions, describe
the impact of industrialism on nation states in Europe during the nineteenth
century. Keep in mind where industrialism spread, which countries became
more industrialized than others, and how the relative industrial strength
of various nations changed over time. Summarize your reflections in a paragraph
or two. How do you think the spread of industrialism helped shape a common
outlook among Europeans in many nation states?
- What manufacturers were producing changed over
the course of the nineteenth century as well. Many historians call the period
from 1870 to 1914 "the second industrial revolution". Study the
timelines at Western
and Central European Chronology: The Industrial Revolution 1700-1900
Chronology: The Era of Fossil Fuel Energy Sources 1700 to the Present,
paying particular attention to developments from 1870 to 1914. Identify
and make a list of technological breakthroughs, and try to categorize the
list into topics such as "communications," "transportation,"
and so on. How did these inventions shape the lives of ordinary Europeans?
How did they affect the growth of industry? For example, did advancements
in transportation help manufacturers increase their productivity? Did these
new inventions lead to new products that industrialists could manufacture?
- Finally, read the essays at Modern
History Sourcebook: Harold Baron: The Chemical Industry on the Continent.
How did the emergence of the steel and chemical industries change societies
and the economy of Europe in the nineteenth century? Write a brief essay
(1-3 paragraphs) that offers a definition of the "second industrial
revolution" and discusses how it changed everyday life in Europe.
- Increased industrialization meant greater urbanization.
(You can review the growth of urban areas in Europe in the nineteenth century
by examining Map 25.1 on page 794 of McKay, A History of World Societies
(Sixth Edition). Historically, cities were not considered nurturing places
to live. The growth of cities in the nineteenth century alarmed many intellectuals.
Read the description of the new urbanization by Friederich Engels, Karl
Marx's close associate, at Modern
History Sourcebook: Friederich Engels: Industrial Manchester, 1844.
Is his view positive? What comments does he make about sanitation, dwellings,
- Such commentary by Engels and others created public
outrage and led to increased reform efforts. Go to Health and
Hygiene in the Nineteenth Century one of the numerous essays at The Victorian Web. (Victorian
refers to the values and culture during the reign of Queen Victoria in Britain,
1837-1901.) According to this site, when did city officials begin to concentrate
on improving urban life in Britain? What catastrophes and which individuals
were crucial in the emergence of this consensus? What was the nature of
these reforms or improvements? What impact did they have?
- Urban planning became popular in European cities
during the second half of the century. Probably the most famous urban planner
was Baron Georges Haussmann (1809-1884). Learn more about this great planner
at Georges Haussmann.
To see the results of his work examine Map
of Paris, 1887. What problems was Haussmann attempting to alleviate?
What was his strategy?
- Haussmann's impact was profound. Go to Richard
Schermerhorn, Jr., "City Planning," a speech delivered in
1912, and read the first eleven paragraphs. What impact did Haussmann have
on urban planning in the industrial world? How were city managers trying
to cope with the problems of the modern city? According to Schermerhorn,
which cities were most successful?
- Those who benefited most from urban reforms were
the growing urban middle class. Review "The Middle Classes" on
pages 800-801 of McKay, A History of World Societies (Sixth Edition).
This section explains the goals, aspirations, and occupations of all the
various categories of people labeled as middle class. Was there a common
outlook among this group of people?
- Read the essays and study the images at The Development
of Leisure in Britain after 1850, Technology and Leisure
in Britain after 1850. Go to Victorian
Station: Lifestyles and click on the hyperlinks under Fashion, Etiquette,
Leisure Activities, Recipes, and Rituals. Go to Victorian
Station: Interior Designs and click on the hyperlinks under Interior
Design, Room by Room, and Furniture. Do these essays suggest a common outlook
among the middle classes of the industrial world? Did they have similar
tastes in fashion, leisure activities, and manners? What made these shared
outlooks possible? What role did photography, transportation technology,
and other innovations of the second industrial revolution play in this development?
Summarize your analysis in a brief essay (2-4 paragraphs).
- In completing Activity Five, you probably observed
that middle-class status meant different sets of expectations, aspirations,
and values for men and women. Most social historians argue that middle-class
men and women increasingly led separate lives during this time. Review the
hyperlinks in Activity Five, especially The Development
of Leisure in Britain after 1850 and Victorian
Station: Lifestyles. Using specific examples, analyze how "separate"
men's and women's lives were for the urban middle class. What roles did
they play within their families? To what values and goals did each aspire?
What are your impressions on how much time they spent interacting with each
- Although the middle classes of Europe in the nineteenth
century may have shared similar values and outlooks, they increasingly identified
their future with their nation states. As Chapter 25, "Ideologies and
Upheavals 1815-1871" explored, the nineteenth century was a time of
intense nationalism in Europe. This ideology led to the creation of two
new nation states - Germany and Italy - and created tension in several multiethnic
empires such as Austria and Russia.
- Why did more and more people identify with the
nation state as opposed to class, religion, or other demarcations? Read
the Italian Giuseppe Mazzini's answer at Modern
History Sourcebook: Giuseppe Mazzini: On Nationality, 1852. What does
Mazzini mean when he claims that "the social
question may, in effect, although with difficulty, be partly resolved by
a single people"? What was the social question to which he was referring?
Why did he believe only nation states could resolve this question?
- Thomas Escott partly answers this question at
History Sourcebook: Thomas Escott (1844-1924): England: Her People, Polity,
and Pursuits, 1885. In this essay, he praises the inclusion of the middle
classes into Parliament. Why does he argue that this benefited Great Britain?
Nationalists assumed that strong nation states could deal with the problems
of the industrial era by fostering a sense of inclusion in a national community.
This community could then tackle problems in ways that would benefit all
- Marxism, a socialist ideology, increasingly challenged
nationalism as a means of resolving the problems of industrial society in
the second half of the nineteenth century. Read the excerpts from Karl Marx's
famous "Communist Manifesto" found at The
Communist Manifesto of 1848. For an analysis of Marx's views, see David
McNally, MARXISM: SOCIALISM FROM BELOW. Unlike nationalists, to whom
does Marx look to solve the problems of the age? At one point he argues
that "the modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins
of feudal society, has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but
established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle
in place of the old ones." Do you believe that Marx would call nationalism
a "new" condition of "oppression" and a "new"
form of "struggle"? In other words, was nationalism a means to
distract the working classes from their plight?
- Marxists socialists conceived of their struggle
in a global context. They urged workers in all countries to unite and overthrow
"bourgeois" nation states. In this effort, Marxists organized
Socialist International. Through organizations such as this one, they
tried to develop a class consciousness that transcended national identity.
For example, their anthem was the "Internationale." You can listen
to this song and read its text at The
Internationale. (The Real Audio File - Music Only is the best version.)
How do these words appeal to class solidarity? Where does this song urge
workers to seek solutions to their problems?
- Much like the middle class, however, workers increasingly
identified with their nation states. Read the goals of the German Social
Democrat party at Modern
History Sourcebook: German Social Democracy: The Erfurt Program, 1891.
Early in this document, the party pays homage to the goals of Marxist socialism.
What are the long-range goals of the party? The rest of the document lists
specific demands. How would you describe these goals? Do they strive to
overthrow the existing state, or do they urge reforms of the status quo?
Do they focus on revolution or on improving the lives of workers?
- The Erfurt Program reflected the work of other
socialist philosophers such as Edouard Bernstein, who urged "evolutionary
socialism" or "revisionism." For more on evolutionary socialism,
History Sourcebook: Edouard Bernstein: Evolutionary Socialism. Why does
Bernstein believe that socialist parties should focus on improving the lives
of workers under the existing political systems in Europe rather than incite
violent revolution? Why do you believe so many socialists were gaining faith
in the ability of national governments to improve the lives of workers?
What were governments doing in the nineteenth century to help workers? For
example, consider Germany: Social
Security History Page: Otto von Bismarck. How do Bismarck's measures
reflect what McKay, A History of World Societies (Sixth Edition)
calls "the responsive national state"?
- After completing Activities Five through Eight, contemplate
the following question. Was there a common outlook emerging among Europeans
in the nineteenth century? If so, what was it? Consider developments in
technology, living styles, class consciousness, the role of states, and
the influence of ideologies such as socialism and nationalism. Answer this
question in essay form.