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European History


The Age of Reform

1833:Slavery abolished in British colonies; Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, French, Dutch colonies follow 1836–1863

British reformers call for greater participation in government; conservative governments permit reforms mainly to keep peace

  • 1819: Demonstrators for Parliamentary reform massacred at “Peterloo”

  • 1829: Catholics allowed to be elected to Parliament

  • 1832:First Reform Bill expands right to vote, but voting is still based on property

  • 1846:Corn Laws (tariffs favoring wealthy landowners) repealed

  • Peaceful, working-class Chartist movement calls for democratization; rejected by Parliament in 1839 and 1842

  • 1867:Second Reform Bill expands franchise further

  • 1884:Third Reform Bill gives vote to most male farm workers

1861: Tsar Alexander II abolishes serfdom in Russia; former serfs owe payments for their freedom

Censorship relaxes in some nations

  • 1881: France establishes freedom of the press

National governments expand primary education

  • 1870: British government takes over elementary schools

  • 1880s: France makes education free, obligatory, nonreligious

Women’s movements argue for female access to education, professional work, electoral franchise

  • Women less educated, barred from owning property, subjected to husband’s authority; change occurs slowly in late 1800s

  • 1869: British thinkers John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor argue for women’s freedom in The Subjection of Women

  • British activists Millicent Fawcett (1847–1929) and Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928) lead branches of the women’s suffrage movement; women receive the vote in 1918

  • Women’s movements outside of Britain much less active

Jews given citizenship and nearly equal social status at different times in different countries throughout the 19th century

States provide a degree of workers’ protection against unemployment, injury, poor working conditions, long working hours

  • 1883: Germany passes Sickness Insurance Law

  • Britain’s new Labour Party (founded 1900) accepts government responsibility to reform

  • First laws imposing limits on working hours in France aimed at protecting women and children

International agreements try to alleviate wartime suffering

  • 1864: First Geneva Convention protects wounded soldiers

  • 1899, 1907: International conferences held at The Hague, Netherlands, attempt to limit warfare

1870s–1910s: Britain divided over question of Irish Home Rule

Late 1800s: Transportation, overcrowding, hope for better life encourage record emigration from Europe, despite reforms


Art & Culture 1815–1914

Photography: Allows rapid, easy production and reproduction of images

  • 1839:Louis Daguerre publicizes the daguerreotype, the first form of photography

  • 1890s:Half-tone printing makes it easy for newspapers, books to publish photographs

Realism: Realistic portrayal of the world in literature, painting

  • Émile Zola (French, 1840–1902) writes novels including Nana, about a prostitute, and Germinal, about a miners’ strike

  • Henrik Ibsen (Norwegian, 1828–1906) incorporates psychological, realistic drama in plays such as A Doll’s House (1879)

  • Playwright George Bernard Shaw (Irish, 1856–1950) causes riots with social critiques

  • 1849:Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877) paints bored funeral-goers in Burial at Ornans

  • 1857:Jean-François Millet (French, 1814–1875) portrays peasants at work in The Gleaners

Impressionism: Painting with small strokes of color, painting outdoors, to explore modern life and leisure activities

  • 1865:Edouard Manet (France) exhibits shocking nude Olympia

  • 1890–1891:Claude Monet (France) paints several paintings of haystacks in different seasons, types of light

Expressionism: Use of bold colors and odd juxtapositions to elicit emotional responses, exemplified in The Scream (1893) by Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863–1944)

Cubism:Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) pioneers use of geometric forms in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)

Music: Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Rite of Spring (1913) debuts in France, challenging rationality, convention

1851–1900:Universal exhibitions in London, Paris impress tourists with displays of national industry, culture, imperial possessions

Innovations in transportation facilitate travel for work and leisure

  • 1830: First passenger railway opens, in Britain

  • 1863: London underground railway opens

  • 1880s–1890s:Bicycles become popular and liberating mode of transportation, especially for women

  • 1880s: German engineers Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler build first automobile

Faster communication improves access to news, culture

  • Cheap printing processes, higher literacy, and liberal press laws make newspapers widely accessible

  • 1876: American Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone

  • 1890s: Italian Guglielmo Marconi sends radio communication

  • 1895: First silent films, in France, depict modern life in motion


Multiethnic States

Austria: Agrees to give Magyar (Hungarian) minority control over its own interior government; empire renamed Austria-Hungary

  • Slavic minorities (Czechs, Serbs, Croats, Slovenes) within Austria-Hungary also demand their own control

Ottoman Empire: Splits apart despite efforts for reform

  • Independence/autonomy of Greece (1830), Serbia (1830), Romania (1862), Bulgaria (1878), Montenegro (1878), Albania (1913)

  • 1839–1876:Tanzimat (reorganization): Economic liberalization, equality for Muslims, Jews, Christians; difficult to put in practice

  • 1908:Young Turks, a group of reformist officers attempt modernization, become radically nationalist

  • 1915: Turkish genocide of Armenians during World War I

Russia: Helps Balkan states win independence in 1878, gains more territory for itself south and east in Russo-Turkish War

  • 1878:Berlin Congress: Germany tries to limit Russian land gains

  • Russification: Policy attempt to make non-Russians speak Russian, adopt Russian culture, religion

Balkan states: Fight each other for more territory; majority of population is rural, poor, illiterate

  • 1908: Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia-Herzegovina, formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, causing tensions with Serbia

  • 1912:First Balkan War: Balkan states (Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro) ally successfully against Ottoman Empire

  • 1913:Second Balkan War: Serbia, Greece, others defeat Bulgaria, angered by its acquisitions during First Balkan War

  • Serbs living in Austria-Hungary want to join Serbia


19th-Century Christianity

States more tolerant of minority Christian faiths during 1800s

States and churches become separate

  • 1870s: Cultural struggle against Catholic Church in Germany

  • 1905:` French state no longer governs religion

Scholars begin to study the Bible as historical text, not literal truth

Education secularized as fewer students taught by church

Pope loses temporal power in Italian unification but gains spiritual authority with 1870 decree of papal infallibility on faith, morals

Women more likely than men to practice their religion