WORLD HISTORY Change Gathers Steam 1800-40
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WORLD HISTORY: Change Gathers Steam: 1800-40
French ideals and empire spread. Inspired by the ideals of the French
Revolution, and supported by the expanding French armies, new republican
regimes arose near France: the Batavian Republic in the Netherlands
(1795-1806), the Helvetic Republic in Switzerland (1798-1803), the
Cisalpine Republic in N Italy (1797-1805), the Ligurian Republic in Genoa
(1797-1805), and the Parthenopean Republic in S Italy (1799). A Roman
Republic existed briefly in 1798 after Pope Pius VI was arrested by French
troops. In Italy and Germany, new nationalist sentiments were stimulated
both in imitation of and in reaction to developments in France (anti-French
and anti-Jacobin peasant uprisings in Italy, 1796-99).
From 1804, when Napoleon declared himself emperor, to 1812, a succession of
military victories (Austerlitz, 1805; Jena, 1806) extended his control over
most of Europe, through puppet states (Confederation of the Rhine united W
German states for the first time and Grand Duchy of Warsaw revived Polish
national hopes), expansion of the empire, and alliances.
Among the lasting reforms initiated under Napoleon's absolutist reign were:
establishment of the Bank of France, centralization of tax collection,
codification of law along Roman models (Code Napoleon), and reform and
extension of secondary and university education. In an 1801 concordat, the
papacy recognized the effective autonomy of the French Catholic Church.
Some 400,000 French soldiers were killed in the Napoleonic Wars, along with
600,000 foreign troops.
Last gasp of old regime. France's coastal blockade of Europe (Continental
System) failed to neutralize Britain. The disastrous 1812 invasion of
Russia exposed Napoleon's overextension. After Napoleon's 1814 exile at
Elba, his armies were defeated (1815) at Waterloo, by British and Prussian
At the Congress of Vienna, the monarchs and princes of Europe redrew their
boundaries, to the advantage of Prussia (in Saxony and the Ruhr), Austria
(in Illyria and Venetia), and Russia (in Poland and Finland). British
conquest of Dutch and French colonies (S Africa, Ceylon, Mauritius) was
recognized, and France, under the restored Bourbons, retained its expanded
1792 borders. The settlement brought 50 years of international peace to
But the Congress was unable to check the advance of liberal ideals and of
nationalism among the smaller European nations. The 1825 Decembrist
uprising by liberal officers in Russia was easily suppressed. But an
independence movement in Greece, stirred by commercial prosperity and a
cultural revival, succeeded in expelling Ottoman rule by 1831, with the aid
of Britain, France, and Russia.
A constitutional monarchy was secured in France by the 1830 Revolution;
Louis Philippe became king. The revolutionary contagion spread to Belgium,
which gained its independence (1830) from the Dutch monarchy, to Poland,
whose rebellion was defeated (1830-31) by Russia, and to Germany.
Romanticism. A new style in intellectual and artistic life began to replace
Neoclassicism and Rococo after the mid-18th cent. By the early 19th cent.,
this style, Romanticism, had prevailed in the European world.
Rousseau had begun the reaction against rationalism; in education (Emile,
1762) he stressed subjective spontaneity over regularized instruction. In
Germany, Lessing (1729-81) and Herder (1744-1803) favorably compared the
German folk song to classical forms and began a cult of Shakespeare, whose
passion and "natural" wisdom was a model for the romantic Sturm und Drang
(Storm and Stress) movement. Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) set
the model for the tragic, passionate genius.
A new interest in Gothic architecture in England after 1760 (Walpole,
1717-97) spread through Europe, associated with an aesthetic Christian and
mystic revival (Blake, 1757-1827). Celtic, Norse, and German mythology and
folk tales were revived or imitated (Macpherson's Ossian translation, 1762;
Grimm's Fairy Tales, 1812-22). The medieval revival (Scott's Ivanhoe, 1819)
led to a new interest in history, stressing national differences and
organic growth (Carlyle, 1795-1881; Michelet, 1798-1874), corresponding to
theories of natural evolution (Lamarck's Philosophie Zoologique, 1809;
Lyell's Geology, 1830-33). A reaction against classicism characterized the
English romantic poets, beginning with Wordsworth (1770-1850). Revolution
and war fed an obsession with freedom and conflict, expressed by both poets
(Byron, 1788-1824; Hugo, 1802-85) and philosophers (Hegel, 1770-1831).
Wild gardens replaced the formal French variety, and painters favored
rural, stormy, and mountainous landscapes (Turner, 1775-1851; Constable,
1776-1837). Clothing became freer, with wigs, hoops, and ruffles discarded.
Originality and genius were expected in the life as well as the work of
inspired artists (Murger's Scenes from Bohemian Life, 1847-49). Exotic
locales and themes (as in Gothic horror stories) were used in art and
literature (Delacroix, 1798-1863; Poe, 1809-49).
Music exhibited the new dramatic style and a breakdown of classical forms
(Beethoven, 1770-1827). The use of folk melodies and modes aided the growth
of distinct national traditions (Glinka in Russia, 1804-57).
Latin America. Haiti, under the former slave Toussaint
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G20 nations, G8 nations, Member states of the Council of Europe, Member states of the United Nations, Decorative arts, Napoleon, Romanticism, Continental System, Empire style, France, French Revolution, Neoclassicism
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