Unformatted text preview: An Unsettled World
1880-1914 An Unsettled World
• At the turn of the 20th century, Europeans and people of
European descent occupied a commanding position in the
• They led a world in which scientific and technological
advancements promised to usher in an age of progress
• Yet theirs was a world unsettled.
• In Europe, social and economic dislocations were
producing pronounced unrest and anxiety.
• Social problems abounded in cities where the rich and
powerful lived right next door to the poor and the not-sopowerful
• Women increasingly agitated for greater independence
and enhanced political and legal rights. An Unsettled World
• New directions in the arts and sciences, or
“modernism,” questioned fundamental religious
assumptions and traditional values.
• Abroad, agitation against indigenous elites or
colonial rulers abounded.
• Everywhere personal and national identities came
• Race, more than ever before, became a central
feature of identity and justification for inequalities.
• National identities became even stronger.
• This unsettlement contributed to the tensions that
caused World War I.
caused Progress, Upheaval, and Movement
•Some benefited from changes in the years
before 1914; others faced social and
•In Europe and the United States, left-wing
radicals and middle-class reformers sought
political and social change
•In places colonized by Europe and the United
States, resentment grew toward colonial rulers
and indigenous collaborators
•Revolutions in China, Mexico, and Russia
toppled autocratic regimes
toppled Progress, Upheaval, and Movement
•New industries drove economic growth and
•Growing capitalism (free-market, lassie faire) also led
to rising inequalities
•Industrialization changed how and where people worked
•Widespread rural-to-urban migration
•Cities gained magnificent new cultural institutions such
as museums and libraries, which at least a minority of
residents had the leisure time and disposable income to
•Cities also housed millions in crowded, disease-ridden
•Conflicts between the rich and the poor abounded,
particularly when city administrations tried to improve Progress, Upheaval, and Movement
•European and North
worried about the world’s
future; they wrote about the
downside of progress
•The writings of
intellectuals of the type
circulated the globe
including European and
North American colonies
North Peoples in Motion
•Mass emigration took place globally
•Europeans moved to America and Australia
•Indians moved to other parts of South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean
•Chinese moved to North and South America, New Zealand, Hawaii,
West Indies, and Southeast Asia
•Many migrated within their own country
•Varied reasons why people emigrated
•Colonial officials and soldiers
•Merchants and traders
•Emigration was risky and could bring isolation in the new land
•Male migrants outnumber females
•Social and labor problems abounded as cities tried to accommodate the
growing migrant population
Migrations • Most went to the US in the hopes of
benefiting from political and economic
freedoms. Yet, most immigrants to the
US were corralled into poor urban
ghettos such as New York’s Lower East
• Many Jews migrated from western
Russia due to increased violence and
• As Zionist ideology became more
popular among European Jews, many
migrated to Palestine. Peoples in Motion
• Few restrictions anywhere until
• U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act,
• Most viewed immigrants as a
positive force in the economy
Cities boomed and led to the idea
of city planning
Urban life transformed women’s
• More jobs available
• Increased literacy and cheaper
• Ready-made clothes and
goods allowed women more
leisure Worldwide Insecurities
•Imperial rivalries come home
•The creation of a European-centered world
deepened rivalries within Europe and
•The unification of Italy and of Germany
smashed the old balance of power
•New alliances appeared pitting Britain,
France, and Russia against Germany
•An arms race ensued as conflict
heightened Worldwide Insecurities
•Financial, industrial, and technological insecurities
•Small-scale, laissez-faire capitalism had given way to an
economic order dominated by huge corporate firms
•Instead of smooth progress, the economy of the West bounced
between booms and busts
•Financiers became important as borrowing and lending became
instrumental in industrial growth
•Banks in London were at the center of global finances
•Journalists in the United States increasingly exposed the
skullduggery that many of these financial and industrial giants
committed to enrich or empower themselves
•Reformers soon called for greater governmental regulation
•Wealthy industrialists such as J. P. Morgan used their money
to make banks solvent
•In 1913, the United States created the Federal Reserve
System to oversee the nation’s money and bankers
System Worldwide Insecurities
•National economic matters increasingly became international affairs
•In 1907, a financial crisis in the United States provoked similar crises
in Canada, Mexico, and Egypt
•Industrialization spread to places such as Russia, but remained uneven
•Southern Europe and the American South lagged behind northern
Most colonies lacked industrial enterprises except mines and railroads
•Economic progress came at a cost
•Trains and ships connected local communities to the wider world, but
often destroyed local customs
•Factories produced cheaper goods but polluted the countryside
•“Scientific management” often left workers as nothing more than
cogs in a machine
•Cities also housed millions in crowded, disease-ridden slums
•Conflicts between the rich and when city administrations tried the
poor abounded, particularly to improve on or beautify urban blight
poor The “Woman Question” •Women in Western countries increasingly
challenged the idea of separate spheres
•At century’s end, women were increasingly
employed as teachers, secretaries, typists,
department store clerks, and telephone
operators and thus gained some social and
•Women also gained greater access to
education and many of them entered
previously all-male professions
•Other women became involved in public
•Many women began to limit the amount of
children they had
•Contraceptives were illegal in most
countries, but women found ways around the
laws John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor
• JS Mill supported women’s
• After the death of his wife Harriet
in 1858, he published The
Subjection of Women which
argued that the family was an
outdated structure that denied
modern concepts of rights and
freedom to women.
• He further claimed that women’s
voluntary obedience to their
husbands was a form willful
• The influence of Social
Darwinism, however, left Mill’s
ideas on the margins of social
thought at the time. The “Woman Question”
•The push for woman’s
suffrage increased, but
had very limited success
were not seeking gender
equality, despite seeking
a greater public role
however, did challenge
the established order
the Cultural Modernism?
• Cultural modernism of the late 19th century was a reaction
to the positvism of the era.
• It was the self-conscious sense of having broken with
• It replaced the certainties and optimism of the Enlightenment
belief in progress and the positivist sciences with the anxieties
and uncertainties of the modern age.
• It reflected a loss of confidence in the “civilizing missions”
that were part of the lure of European imperialism, and also of
the new and alien forms of urban life and industrialization.
• It was also the intellectual, aesthetic, and popular attempts
to make sense of a world that had lost its innocence due to
the social, political, economic, scientific, and technological
transformations that occurred about the time of the turn of the
20th 19th Century Positivism
• Positivism was a philosophy that
claimed that the only valid
knowledge is scientific
knowledge, and that such
knowledge can only come from a
positive affirmation of theories
with strict scientific observations.
• It was developed by Auguste
Comte in the middle of the 19th
• Comte saw the scientific method
replacing metaphysics in the
history of thought.
• Positivism reflected the
optimism of the Enlightenment
along with the social benefits of
industrialization. Auguste Comte
(French, 1798-1857) Paris Universal Exposition or World’s Fair 1889
• Created on the 100th
anniversary of the start of the
French Revolution, and to
celebrate “progress resulting
from 100 years of freedom.”
• Featured the latest in industrial
invention and music and culture
from the conquered territories of
the French empire.
• The main attraction was the
Eiffel Tower. Thousands flocked
to see the world’s tallest
structure. Gustave Eiffel used
the same iron skeletal technology
in the structure of the Statue of
Liberty, a French gift to the US in
1885. Eiffel Tower, 1889, Paris Industry and Nation Building
• Underlying the force of European nation states was economic
and technological power.
• New industrial products such as the bicycle, typewriter,
telephone, incandescent light bulb, mass transportation,
subways, bridges, skyscrapers.
• Innovations in various technologies such as steel, electricity,
chemical, and internal combustion engine.
• Between 1870 and 1880 iron production increased from 11
million tons to 23 million tons.
• Historians used to call this a “second industrial revolution,” but
that only applied to Britain where a “first” industrial revolution
(textile, steam) occurred much earlier. In most other European
countries, the two revolutions happened simultaneously.
• Industrial growth was most rapid in Britain, Germany and the
US, all of whom by the end of the 19th century were acquiring
empires. Gallery of Machines, 1889
Gallery Economic Crisis 1873
• Within two years after the Franco-Prussian War, the European
economy stalled, beginning a cycle that lasted three decades.
• The economic downturn affected the globe because of trade
within European empires.
• Most industrialists had focused on production and not on
distribution and consumption.
• Workers had to work longer hours, produce more, and receive
little or no compensation for the difference. Workers were not
able to afford the products they were producing.
• The economic slumps forced industrialists to focus on their
• The limited liability corporation was created to protect business
people from personal responsibility for a firm’s debt. This was
designed to encouraged investment.
• As a result, by the end of the 19th century, stock markets traded
heavily in industrial stock, increasing the pool of private capital. Revolution in Business Practices
• In the late 1800s, industrialists hired
managers to handle their increasingly
complex day-to-day businesses.
• “White-collar” sectors appeared with
people in offices, distinct from the
“blue-collar” workers on the factory
• Banks, telephone, railroad, and
insurance companies created new
areas of white-collar employment.
• Educate middle-class women began
to pursue careers in these areas,
despite ideological restrictions
keeping many bourgeois women in
the domestic sphere.
• Women were often hired by
industrialists, though they were paid
far less than men in the same
positions. Consumer Capitalism
Consumer Preventing Disease
• In the late 19th century, scientific research was
increasingly being put to use in the name of public health
and to control the urban spread of disease that was
widespread earlier in the century.
• Louis Pasteur perfected a method of food preservation.
Pasteurization was the heating of milk or wine to prevent
fermentation. Fermentation, he discovered was caused by
the growth of bacteria. Through heating, the bacteria are
• In the 1860s, Joseph Lister applied germ theory (micros
that can’t be seen) medicine and suggested that surgeons
wash thoroughly before working on a patient, thus reducing
the spread of disease and infection.
• Sewers and public toilets for men and women became
commonplace in urban areas throughout Europe.
commonplace Expanding Bureaucracy
• Increased social order meant increased centralization and state bureaucracies to manage
• France, Britain and the US all took regular
censuses of their populations to find out detailed
personal information such as age, occupation,
marital status, number of children, residential
• State bureaucracies also regulated prostitution
and the spread communicable diseases such as
• States began to keep vast records on behavior
patterns of individuals and populations.
patterns Professionalization and Citizenship
• New industries required a
labor force that was more
educated than before.
• Schools and universities
began to offer degrees in
various professions in the
sciences, medicine, and law,
to middle class men.
• New curricula were now
being offered from
university that were designed
to cultivate a sense of
• illiteracy rates dropped.
illiteracy The Culture of Social Order
• After the revolutions of 1848, artists and writers began to express
misgivings about political oppression, economic growth, and the
enfranchisement of middle-class men.
• They began to lose the idealism that artists and writers had in the
years following the French Revolution of 1789.
• This disenchantment was called realism.
• The reading public devoured biographies of famous people
• The novel
– Charles Dickens
– George Eliot
– Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovery: a story of a bored doctor’s
wife who has a series of affairs and then commits suicide from guilt.
– Charles Baudelaire wrote explicitly about sex, drug induced
• Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevksy wrote about the inner thoughts of
criminals, in order to emphasize spirituality.
criminals, Realism and Impressionism in Painting
• After 1848 artists rejected the
romantic conventions of the earlier
• Gustave Courbet’s Wrestlers
(1850) emphasized physical
struggle, reflecting the growing
Realpolitik of the period.
• Édouard Manet coined the term
impressionism to emphasize a
new way of representing light
differently from the way
• Using splotches and dots,
impressionists captured the way
light transformed an object, often
painting the same scene at
different times of day or of the
year. Claude Monet, Impressions, Sunrise, 1872 New Directions in Science
• The English naturalist Charles Darwin
had published On the Origin of Species
• The book challenged Judeo-Christian
beliefs that human beings were unique
creations of God, instead arguing that
all livings beings slowly change over
millions of years according to an
• Natural selection, according to
Darwin, functions by allowing only
those species to survive which are the
most fit or the strongest, genetically
and in relation to the natural
environment, through adaptation.
environment, Charles Darwin (English, 1809-1882)
• Human beings evolved from other
forms of life, Darwin suggested,
because human ancestors were
successful in surviving and reproducing
within changing environments.
• Darwin’s ideas were met with criticism
from both religious communities and
– Catholics, Protestants, Jews
condemned Darwin because his ideas
were contrary to the creation story of
– Secularists were equally condemning
of Darwin because he showed nature
to be a hostile and dynamic place,
undermining the Enlightenment belief
that nature was rational and
harmonious. From Darwinism to Social Darwinism
• A consequence of Darwin’s theory of natural selection in the natural world,
was its application in the social world.
• Darwin himself argued that the legal, political, and economic privileges
enjoyed by white European men in the late 19th century was because they
were more highly evolved than white women or people of color.
• Despite having a common human ancestry, he believed that evolution was
an unequal process, leaving some groups of humans far behind in
intelligence and civilization.
• Darwin believed that men were far more adept than women at performing
• A school of thought derived from Darwin’s ideas, called Social Darwinism,
sought to change public policy to reflect these views, advocating eugenics
and other institutional forms of racism.
• Social Darwinism reinforced ideas about national identity and the civilizing
missions of European empires.
• Nonetheless, evolutionary theory stood the test of controversy, and
scientific research, though greatly modified from Darwin’s original ideas, has
found much biological and fossil evidence in support of natural selection.
found Social Challenges during the Fin-de-siécle
• Increased European power and social mobility challenged social order at the
turn of the century.
• A falling birthrate, rising divorce rate,
growing social activism, increased
debates about reform.
• Homosexuality was acknowledged as a
way of life for the first time.
• Women became more active in the
public sector, and gained the vote in
Finland in 1906.
• As birth control became more widely
used, US president Theodore Roosevelt
blamed the decline in population on the
“selfishness of women” in the modern
• Declines in fertility rates worried Social
Darwinists that nations were in jeopardy.
Darwinists Challenges to Positivist Views
• Artists and intellectuals rejected the
optimism of the 19th century.
Transformations in belief, scientific
knowledge, artistic perception, and
thought reflected the contradictions of a
world that was increasingly becoming
more and more alien.
• Freud argued that unconscious drives,
eros and thanatos, were repressed in
modern civilized life, and often emerge
in neurotic behaviors.
• The unconscious was a dark region of
the human mind that escaped conscious
• Through psychoanalysis patients could
talk through their repressions and be
cured of their neurotic behaviors.
cured Friedrich Nietzsche (German, 1844-1900)
• More than any other thinker of the time
he characterized the political, social, and
cultural tensions and conflicts of the late
19th and early 20th centuries.
• Nietzsche argued that all forms of life
were driven by a “will to power,” meaning
a drive to fulfill themselves, to “become
what they are.”
• Scientific truth was an illusion, for
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