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Nationalism Triumphs in Europe and the Growth of Western

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Nationalism: A strong feeling of pride in
and devotion to one’s country.
The last half of the 1800s can be called the Age of Nationalism. By harnessing national feeling,
European leaders fought ruthlessly to create strong, unified nations. Germany and Italy
unified under nationalism, the Austrians and Ottomans fought to keep their empires in
tact, and Russians started to challenge the power of the Czar (Tsar). Under Otto von
Bismarck, Germany emerged as Europe’s most powerful empire – but at a considerable
cost. Where once the world saw Germany as a center for the Northern Renaissance, it was
now viewed as conquerors and destroyers. Neither loved nor respected, only feared.
All the while Western Democracies formed and grew in Britain, France, and the United States.
A series of political reforms during the 1800s and early 1900s transformed Great Britain
from a monarchy and aristocracy into a democracy, Manifest Destiny saw the United
States expand from coast to coast (and beyond), and under the Napoleonic Code France
emerged as the largest democratic country in Europe.
Building a German Nation
In the early 1800s , German-speaking people,
Austrians, and Prussians lived in a number of
small and medium-sized states.
Under Napoleon’s control the people of the area
united to throw the French out.
With Napoleon gone the Congress of Vienna
created the German Confederation headed by
In 1848 people again demanded German political unity under the leadership of Frederick William IV of Prussia – he
rejected the notion of a throne offered by “the people”.
Under a Prussian, Otto von Bismarck, the German states were united through a series of “wars of unification” against
Denmark, Austria, and France. In the Franco-Prussian War Napoleon III surrendered after a mere few weeks. Due
to this Bismarck is considered the architect of German unity.
In January 1871, William I of Prussia took the title of kaiser (emperor) of Germany – ushering in the Second Reich
(empire) – heir to the First Reich, the Holy Roman Empire.
Germany Strengthens
In the aftermath of unification Germany emerged as the industrial giant of the
European continent; it’s shipping was second only to Britain.
Germany had many advantages, its iron and coal deposits, along with a population
surge (from 41 million in 1871 to 67 million in 1914) served to propel Germany
The Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, sought to keep France isolated and weak,
while building strong links with Austria and Russia, as well as erase local
loyalties within by attacking the Catholic Church and the Socialists. His moves
backfired, forcing him to make peace with the church and woo the workers of
Germany. Because of this Germany became the model of social reform for
other European countries.
Although workers benefited from Bismarck’s plans, they did not abandon
socialism; the socialist party continued to grow and held the most seats in the
Reichstag (Germany’s parliament) by 1912.
In 1888, William II took aver from his father, forced the resignation of Bismarck,
and expanded the German military and navy, while building an overseas
Unifying Italy
Although the people of the Italian peninsula spoke the same
language, they had not experienced political unity since the
Roman times. By the early 1800s Italian patriots were determined
to build a new, united Italy.
Under the Congress of Vienna, Austria controlled northern Italy, the
Hapsburg monarchs ruled various other Italian states, and the
French Bourbons were put in charge of Naples and Cicily.
Between 1820 and 1848 nationalist revolts exploded across the region
– each time Austria sent troops to crush the rebels.
Under the shrewd leadership of Count Camillo Cavour - appointed
prime minister in 1852, and Giuseppe Garibaldi – a long time
nationalist, Italy was united in 1861 with Victor Emmanuel II its
king. Later wars would add Rome and Venitia.
Though united, strong regional divisions between the north and
south, as well as disputes with the Catholic Church served to
impede growth. Growth did come with industrialization in
northern Italy by 1900, which saw a population explosion and
emigration to the Americas.
Nationalism Threatens
Old Empires
In Eastern and Central Europe, the Austrians and
Ottoman Turks ruled lands that included
diverse ethnic groups. Nationalist feelings
among these subject peoples contributed to
tensions building across Europe.
•Of its 50 million people in the mid-1800s, fewer that a
quarter were German-speaking Austrians, and almost
half belonged to different Slavic groups including
Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, and
•Under a new leader, Francis Joseph, and inspired by
1848 revolts, limited reforms were made. These reforms
failed to satisfy Hungary in their calls for independence.
•In 1867 the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary was
formed; they were separate states, but would share
ministries of finance, defense, and foreign affairs.
•Ethic unrest continued to rise however…
•After the independence of Serbia and Greece earlier,
various other groups staged revolts against the
•By the mid-1800s European powers had begun to see
the Ottomans as weak, referring to them as “the sick
man of Europe”. Eagerly they scrambled to divide up the
lands; Russia pushed south, Austria-Hungary pushed
west into Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Britain and
France set their sights on lands in the Middle East and
North Africa.
•A complex web of competing interests developed in the
region between regional and European powers, leading
to what many would call the region as the “Balkan
powder keg.
Russia: Reform and
By 1815, Russia was not only the largest, most populace nation in Europe but also a great power. However,
despite efforts by Peter and Catharine to westernize Russia, it remained economically undeveloped.
Under Alexander II the serfs were freed (emancipated) from the land, freeing them to move to the growing
cities for work in Russian industries.
In the early and mid-1800s liberals and radicals created turmoil that culminated in the assassination of
Alexander II in March of 1881. His son, Alexander III responded with a harsh backlash, suppressing the
cultures of non-Russian peoples through persecutions and pogroms.
Under Alexander III’s son, Nicholas II, Russia entered the
industrial age in the 1890s with railroads and industry.
Poor conditions saw Marxist ideas gain popularity.
Following the defeat of Russia to Japan in the Russo-Japanese
wars of 1904-5, as well as “Bloody Sunday” that saw
hundreds dead at the Czar’s Winter Palace on January
22, 1905, discontent exploded all over Russia.
By 1914 Russia was still an autocracy, but one simmering with
Democratic Reform in
Reforming Parliament
The Reform Act of 1832 gave representation to newer population
centers and granted suffrage to more men, giving the middle class
more power.
The Victorian Age
Queen Victoria became symbolic of Britain and of Victorian ideals of
morality. She believed that the lower classes should be given more of a
A New Era in British Politics
In the latter part of the 19th century, the Liberal and Conservative
parties each made reforms that increased the size of the electorate.
Britain became a parliamentary democracy, and the power of the
House of Lords was diminished.
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Social and Economic
Reform in Britain
A Series of Reforms
During the early and mid 1800s, Parliament instituted reforms in the areas of
protective tariffs (repealing the Corn Laws), slavery (banning it in all British
colonies), and criminal punishments (reducing the number of capital offenses).
Victories for the Working Class
In the 1800s and early 1900s, Parliament passed laws aimed at improving social conditions. Such laws limited the workday of
women and children, regulated workplace safety, improved workers’ housing, and established old-age pensions and
unemployment insurance.
A Struggle to Win Votes for Women
Parliament finally granted suffrage to women over 30 in 1918. When peaceful protests saw no results, radical suffragists had
made their cause more apparent by destroying property.
Instability in Ireland
Irish nationalists campaigned for freedom from Britain and made gains in the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act and the home
rule bill, which passed in 1914. The southern counties of Ireland gained independence in 1921.
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Division and Democracy in
France Under Napoleon III
Napoleon III eventually extended some democratic rights to
French citizens, but many of them lived in poverty, which was
exacerbated by the Franco-Prussian War and the siege of Paris.
Challenges of the Third Republic
Civil war erupted in 1871 as a result of the conditions that ended
the Franco-Prussian War. The Third Republic emerged with a twohouse legislature that gave power to a premier. A multitude of
parties led to a coalition government that was unstable.
Anti-Semitism and the Dreyfus Affair
The rise of anti-Semitism in Europe was evidenced in the Dreyfus affair in which a Jewish army officer was accused of spying
for Germany. The Dreyfus case and Russian pogroms led to the establishment of the modern Zionist movement.
Reforms in France
The Dreyfus Affair led to a campaign to reduce the power of the Roman Catholic Church, which had supported the condemnation
of Dreyfus, and led also to a lack of support for women’s suffrage, for fear that women would vote for Church causes.
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Expansion of the United
Territorial Expansion
In the 1800s, the United States extended the nation’s boundaries
to include the land west of the Mississippi River gained in the
Louisiana Purchase, as well as Florida, Oregon, the Republic of
Texas, California and the Southwest, Alaska, and the Hawaiian
Expanding Democracy
The abolition movement and the women’s rights movement both intensified in the mid 19th century. The women’s rights
movement grew stronger out of frustration with the inability of women to have a voice against slavery.
The Civil War and Its Aftermath
Economic differences and the issue of slavery separated the North and the South and led to the Civil War. Even after African
Americans were freed, segregation still restricted their opportunities in the South.
Economic Growth and Social Reform
After the Civil War, the U.S. economy grew and giant monopolies came to dominate industry. Workers—largely left out of the new
prosperity—organized labor unions, and farmers also came together to defend their interests.
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Expansion of Suffrage in
the United States
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