After 1815 and the end of the Napoleonic Wars, a number of political ideologies swept through Europe including liberalism (the idea that nations should be governed by a constitutional government with the consent of the people) and nationalism (an idea which urged for political independence for distinct ethnic and cultural groups). One thinker who combined these two philosophies was the Italian Joseph Mazzini (1805-1872).
The new factory manufacturing of the 19th century resulted in massive changes to the working lives of Europeans. Labor conditions were far more dangerous and strenuous than the traditional agricultural labor. In 1832, the UK Parliament held hearings (under David Sadler) to investigate abuses and concerns. Some excerpts from the testimony are below.
The western world of the 18th century saw the philosophies and theories of Enlightenment philosophers (like John Locke) put to the test of being made the concrete foundations of political systems. In North America, the Caribbean, and Europe violent revolutions emerged, producing new states (the United States of America, Republican France, and Haiti for example.
John Locke (1632-1704) was an English philosopher and political theorist. One of his best known works was Two Treatises of Government (1690). This book set out a theories of government that would have a long-lasting impact–especially in Europe and the western world.
The following are excerpts from Locke’s Second Treatise of Government
Despite the foreign origins of the Qing dynasty, the overall system of government remained under the control of scholar-gentlemen trained and tested in Confucian philosophies.
The following excerpt, “On the Duties of an Official,” provides an glimpse into the scope of government in China during the 18th century.
ON THE DUTIES OF AN OFFICIAL By Chen Hongmou (via Columbia University’s Asia for Educators site)
This 1555 account of English traders to the African kingdom of Benin provides an interesting insight into the relationship between the two cultures.
In this l615 letter to Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany, Galileo defends the theory of heliocentrism–that the Earth revolves around the sun. While popular sentiment tends to hold that the Church condemned Galileo from the start, his ideas were the center of a crucial and long debate which ended with more conservative forces in the church winning. Galileo would be condemned as a heretic.
By the late 1500s, China’s Ming Dynasty had existed for nearly three centuries. As it had for centuries, China’s imperial government was based around a Confucian understanding of the importance of order and proper behavior.
In 1517, Martin Luther–a German Monk–posted a list of 95 points of concern about the Roman Catholic church. This act–and the political tensions which existed in Europe at the time–split Europe between Catholic and “Protestant” regions.
Concerning the Times of Assembling at Church
That the temples be closed for the rest of the time, in order that no one shall enter therein out of hours, impelled thereto by superstition ; and if anyone be found engaged in any special act of devotion therein or near by he shall be admonished for it: if it be found to be of a superstitious nature for which simple correction is inadequate then he shall he be chastised.
Whoever shall have blasphemed, swearing by the body or by the blood of our Lord, or in similar manner, he shall be made to kiss the earth for the first offence ; for the second to pay 5 sous, and for the third 6 sous, and for the last offence be put in the pillory for one hour.
- That no one shall invite another to drink under penalty of 3 sous.
- That taverns shall be closed during the sermon, under penalty that the tavern -keeper shall pay 3 sous, and whoever may be found therein shall pay the same amount.
- If anyone be found intoxicated he shall pay for the first offence 3 sous and shall be remanded to the consistory ; for the second offence he shall he held to pay the sum of 6 sous, and for the third 10 sous and be put in prison.
- That no one shall make roiaumes [a big party] under penalty of 10 sous.
If anyone sings immoral, dissolute or outrageous songs, or dance the virollet or other dance, he shall be put in prison for three days and then sent to the consistory.
That no one shall take upon interest or profit more than five per cent., upon penalty of confiscation of the principal and of being con-demned to make restitution as the case may demand.
That no one shall play at any dissolute game or at any game whatsoever it may be, neither for gold nor silver nor for any excessive stake, upon penalty of 5 sous and forfeiture of stake played for.
Questions for consideration:
- How do these rules go beyond religious matters?
- What types of behavior seemed to be the most objectionable in these regulations?