Key Concept 5.3. Nationalism, Revolution, and Reform
The eighteenth century marked the beginning of an intense period of revolution and rebellion against existing governments, and the establishment of new nation-states around the world. Enlightenment thought and the resistance of colonized peoples to imperial centers shaped this revolutionary activity. These rebellions sometimes resulted in the formation of new states and stimulated the development of new ideologies. These new ideas in turn further stimulated the revolutionary and anti-imperial tendencies of this period.
I. The rise and diffusion of Enlightenment thought that questioned established traditions in all areas of life often preceded the revolutions and rebellions against existing governments.
A. Thinkers applied new ways of understanding the natural world to human relationships, encouraging observation and inference in all spheres of life. Examples of such thinkers: • Voltaire • Rousseau
B. Intellectuals critiqued the role that religion played in public life, insisting on the importance of reason as opposed to revelation.
C. Enlightenment thinkers developed new political ideas about the individual, natural rights, and the social contract. Examples of Enlightenment thinkers: • Locke • Montesquieu
D. The ideas of Enlightenment thinkers influenced resistance to existing political authority, as reflected in revolutionary documents. Required examples of revolutionary documents: • The American Declaration of Independence • The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen • Bolivar’s Jamaica Letter
E. These ideas influenced many people to challenge existing notions of social relations, which led to the expansion of rights as seen in expanded suffrage, the abolition of slavery and the end of serfdom, as their ideas were implemented.
II. Beginning in the eighteenth century, peoples around the world developed a new sense of commonality based on language, religion, social customs and territory. These newly imagined national communities linked this identity with the borders of the state, while governments used this idea to unite diverse populations.
III. Increasing discontent with imperial rule propelled reformist and revolutionary movements.
A. Subjects challenged the centralized imperial governments. Example of subjects challenging imperial government: • The challenge of the Marathas to the Mughal Sultans
B. American colonial subjects led a series of rebellions, which facilitated the emergence of independent states in the United States, Haiti, and mainland Latin America. French subjects rebelled against their monarchy. Required examples of rebellions: • American Revolution • French Revolution • Haitian Revolution • Latin American independence movements
C. Slave resistance challenged existing authorities in the Americas. Example of slave resistance: • The establishment of Maroon societies.
D. Increasing questions about political authority and growing nationalism contributed to anti-colonial movements. Examples of anti-colonial movements: • The Indian Revolt of 1857 • The Boxer Rebellion
E. Some of the rebellions were influenced by religious ideas and millenarianism. Examples of such rebellions: • The Taiping Rebellion • The Ghost Dance • The Xhosa Cattle Killing Movement
F. Responses to increasingly frequent rebellions led to reforms in imperial policies. Example of reforms, either from the list below or an example of your choice: • The Tanzimat movement • The Self-Strengthening Movement
IV. The global spread of European political and social thought and the increasing number of rebellions stimulated new transnational ideologies and solidarities.
A. Discontent with monarchist and imperial rule encouraged the development of political ideologies, including liberalism, socialism, and communism.
B. Demands for women’s suffrage and an emergent feminism challenged political and gender hierarchies. Examples of such demands: • Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman • Olympe de Gouges’s “Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizen” • The resolutions passed at the Seneca Falls Conference in 1848
A thank you to Mr. Freeman for his great key concepts in review