19th Century

Home Up France United Kingdom Italy Germany Habsburg Empire Russia Ottoman Empire


The Nineteenth Century.

Throughout the century, conservative kings and their aristocratic advisors remained in power in most European states. But the 19th century was also a century of progress, peace, and tremendous social change. The Industrial Revolution which had begun in England during the second half of the 18th century, spread to the Netherlands and France; from there to Germany, Northern Italy, the United States, and Japan. By the end of the century, it was beginning to have an impact on Russia. The substitution of machine labor for human and animal labor constituted the most important social change, in my opinion, since the Neolithic or Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 years ago. The Industrial Revolution has undergone a number of stages or phases and is still evolving. The first phase was from about 1750 to 1850. Coal and the steam engine were were the dominant driving forces of this phase. During the second phase, steel, oil, turbines, electricity, and internal combustion engines replaced the simpler technologies. Wooden sailboats were replaced by diesel powered steel ocean liners and battleships.

Between 1815 and 1914, no major world war disrupted the general progress of economic development. There were many minor wars of which the most significant ones were those connected with the unification of Italy in 1861 under the leadership of Piedmont-Sardinia and Germany under Prussia in 1871.

After 1871, there was a second wave of European colonization which led to the subjugation of almost all of Africa to the European powers. By 1914 almost all the world was under European domination either directly as colonies or indirectly as colonial offshoots which had been founded by Europeans and gained their independence from their mother country like the United States and the South American republics. Chinese, Japanese, and the Ottoman Empires, while remaining independent, were under tremendous pressure to modernize or be subjected to European domination. Japan was the only non-Western state which, by the end of the century, had become industrialized.

Within the European states, industrialization was producing new social classes: the industrial bourgeoisie and the industrial proletariat. The forces of democracy, initiated by the American and French Revolutions, continued to demand an end to aristocratic rule. Class conflict and mass ideologies were prominent features of the 19th century. Nonetheless, the traditional monarchies and their landed aristocratic allies continued to rule in most countries of Europe at the end of the century. But everywhere, the bourgeoisie was gaining economic strength and demanding its share of political power. Unsuccessful revolutions had broken out repeatedly throughout the century. Monarchs and aristocrats were being forced slowly to make accommodations not only to the bourgeoisie but also to the rising working class. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom symbolized a prissy, smug kind of conventional morality. Working class poverty existed side by side with great wealth. The ideas of Charles Darwin on human evolution challenged the Christian sensibilities of Biblical infallibility. These domestic tensions and a growing sense of nationalism helped to bring about World War I.

Ideologies, the Congress of Vienna, Concert of Europe, and the Conservative Order


bullet Conservatism valued Monarchy, Aristocracy, an established Church, and the Military
bullet Liberalism valued limited government, constitutions, Parliaments, freedom of speech and religion, free trade
bullet Socialism valued economic equality, social justice, labor unions, class warfare, and revolution
bullet Nationalism valued both national self-determination (democracy), patriotism, and national strength

Artistic Movements


Congress of Vienna

bulletMetternich, Castlereagh, Alexander I, Hardenberg
bulletQuadruple Alliance
bulletTalleyrand of France
bulletQuintuple Alliance
bulletHoly Alliance
bulletBalance of Power, Legitimacy, Compensation

The Conservative Order of the Nineteenth Century

bulletReactionary Governments in Austria, Prussia, and the Germanies
bulletPostwar Repression in Great Britain
bulletBourbon Restoration in France

Concert System

bulletAix la Chapelle:  1818 removed occupation troops from France
bulletTroppau: October 1820 authorized intervention to prevent revolution
bulletCongress of Laibach:  January 1821 authorized repression in Naples
bulletCongress of Verona:  October 1822 authorized repression in Spain
bulletAmerican Monroe Doctrine of 1823

Phase One of the Industrial Revolution: 1750 - 1850

bulletEnclosure Movement
bulletRevolution in Agriculture
bulletTechnological Innovation in Great Britain
bulletTextile Industry
bulletSteam Engine
bulletIron Production
bulletCanal Building
bulletFactory System and the Industrial Proletariat
bulletIndustrial Capitalism
bulletExploitation of Women and Children
bulletWorking-Class Political Action
bulletIndustrial Cities, Crime, and Order
bulletClassical Economic Liberalism
bulletUtopian Socialism
bulletMarxian (Scientific) Socialism

Revolutions from 1820 to 1848

bulletSpanish Revolution of 1820
bulletGreek Revolution of 1821
bulletSerbian Independence 1830
bulletLatin American Wars of Independence 1804 - 1824
bulletDecembrist Revolt in Russia 1825
bulletRevolution in France 1830
bulletIndependence of Belgium 1830
bulletGreat Reform Act of Great Britain 1832
bullet1848 Second Republic of France and Louis Napoleon
bulletRoman Republic
bulletFrankfurt Parliament
bulletLiberalism Defeated Again

Blood and Iron

Unification of Italy

bulletCrimean War 1853 - 1856
bulletGiuseppe Mazzini
bulletGiuseppe Garibaldi
bulletKingdom of Piedmont Sardinia
bulletVictor Emmanuel II 1849 - 1878
bulletCount Camillo di Cavour
bulletPlombieres meeting between Cavour and Napoleon III
bulletLombardi and Venetia under Austrian Rule
bulletWar with Austria 1959
bulletBattles of Magenta and Solferino
bulletFrance makes a seperate peace with Austria.
bulletParma, Modena, Tuscany, and Romagna unite with PIedmont 1860
bulletGaribaldi’s War against Kingdom of Two Sicilies 1861
bulletPapal States ; Patrimony of St. Peter
bulletDenunciations by Pope
bulletVenetia 1866
bulletRome 1870

German Unification

bulletGerman Unification Under Prussian Leadership
bulletAustria and France Opposed Unification
bulletWilliam I and Otto von Bismarck
bulletDefying the Reichstag and Collecting Taxes without Parliament
bulletWar Against Denmark 1864
bulletAustro-Prussian War 1866
bulletFranco-Prussian War 1870 -1871
bulletGerman Empire Proclaimed in the Hall of Mirrors of Versailles
bulletShift in the European Balance of Power

Developments from 1871 to 1914

Political Developments

bulletThe Third French Republic
bulletThe Paris Commune
bulletA Republic By Default
bulletGeneral Georges Boulanger
bulletThe Dreyfus Affair
bulletThe Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary
bulletDevelopments in Russia
bulletGreat Britain:  Towards Democracy

Phase Two of the Industrial Revolution and Social Problems at Home: 1850 - 1914

bulletSteel, Chemicals, Electricity, & Oil
bulletBessemer Process of Steel Production
bulletInternal Combustion Engine and the Automobile
bulletTelegraph, Phonograph, Telephone
bulletWright Brothers develop first Airplane
bulletThe Rise of the Middle Class
bulletSecond Class Citizens: Women, Jews, Workers
bulletTrade Unionism
bulletThe Demanding the Right to Vote: Expanding the Franchise
bulletThe Birth of Bolshevism in Russia
bulletThe Origins of the Welfare State
bulletKulturkampf in Germany

New Directions in Thought

bulletAuguste Comte and Positivism
bulletCharles Darwin and Theory of Evolution
bulletScience and Religion
bulletX Rays and Radiation
bulletQuantum Mechanics and the Atom
bulletRelativity and the Universe
bulletModernism in Art
bulletFriedrich Nietzsche 1844 - 1900
bulletSigmund Freud, 1855 - 1939, and Psychoanalysis
bulletSocial Darwinism and Racism
bulletAnti Semitism and the Birth of Zionism

European Domination of the Globe to 1914

bulletThe New Imperialism
bulletThe Scramble for Africa
bulletThe Decline of the Ottoman Empire
bulletImperialism in Asia: India, China, Japan
bulletAmerican Imperialism
bulletThree Emperor's League of 1873
bulletRusso-Turkish War of 1885
bulletTreaty of San Stefano of March 1878
bulletCongress of Berlin 1878
bulletDual Alliance
bulletRival Alliance System


Updated April 29, 2003
Copyright Dr. Harold Damerow