The Mexican radicals had already received enthusiastic suppOrt fro
Giuseppe Garibaldi and other revolutionaries who had been the heroes :
the 1848 rebellioris against authority in Europe.
Here, common experience
gave rise to a united front across the world. But, equally, exposure to
changes could encourage literati, politicians, and ordinary people to stress
difference rather than similarity. By the 1880s, the impact of Christian mis- .'
sionaries and Western goods, for example, had made Indians, Arabs, and
Chinese more aware of their distinctive religious practices, forms of physical
the excellence of their local artisans. In time, this sensibility.'
of difference ItSelf also created further global links. Indian artists looked to
their Japanese contemporaries as inheritors of a pure aesthetic tradition and
incorporated their style into their own works. The aim throughout the book is
to combine what might be called "lateral histoty" of this sort - the histoty of
with "vertical history," the history of the development of
particular institutions and ideologies.
Chapters 1, 2, 5, and the second half of the book, therefore, are more
in approach. These chapters consider the great social concepts
which have been used by historians, as they were by nineteenth-century writers
and publicists, to characterize the dominant changes of the nineteenth centuty.
Among these concepts, the rise of the modern state, science, industrialization,
liberalism, science, and "religion" appear to be the most important. The·
purpose of these chapters is to bring together material from a range of regional
and national histories in order to demonstrate how these institutions and
ideologies became rooted and empowered in different places and at different
periods of time. They attempt to provide a histoty of connections and processes
without retreating to a simple view of
the diffusion outward of modernity from a
dominant, "rational" European or American center. Here again, the book
insists on the importance of the activity of colonized and semi-colonized non-
European peoples, and of subordinated groups within European and American
society inshaping the contemporary world order. So, for instance, the reconsti-
tution of the European Roman Catholic hierarchy after 1870 was part of a
much wider process of constructing "world religions" which was taking place in
the Hindu, Confucian, and Buddhist worlds as much as the Christian. This is
not just a matter of analogy, but of direct causation. Christian churches often
began to cooperate and create new organizations at home precisely because
they needed solidarity in overseas mission activity, where they found themselves
under pressure from a revived Islam or other religious traditions spreading
amongst their formally dependent subjects.