The Western Civilization
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Based on a faith to progress and expand global trade, 18th century was dominated by a philosophical movement that made use of reason to devalue the previous use of accepted doctrines and tradition. The movement was marked by rapid advances in European scientific, mathematic, philosophy and political thoughts. These massive changes of the 18th century shed light to the coming of a technological age and artistic advance. The movement ushered in the discovery age when there was massive rise of the global, European Empires. This was the enlightenment and the scientific revolution that has highly helped shape the modern world.
There were factors that led to the occurrence of the massive changes in the 18th century. Spread of knowledge, ideas and information in scientific fields was a key to the revolution. New learned society emerged from the work of science. The new societies had scientists who had journals that enabled them to share ideas. Societies had the urge to get learned in order. The new societies appeared in Italy, France and England. They valued scientific research and committees were created to oversee the technological improvements for the industry. Scientific journals led to cooperation and educated the public who had an interest in the new science. The new science offered new techniques of exploiting resources with an aim of increasing average profit. Through scientific revolution, most followed traditions and doctrines were devalued. Contributions from individuals, sharing of ideas through scientific journals, and building on the other scientists’ efforts led to the emergence of the new science and its basic principles.
In the 18th century, there were innovations in art, music and literature. Opera and classical music rose during this period. The stories of the past centuries and the medieval romances contributed to the development of novel. Philosophers took the responsibilities of writing history, and they devalued claims of God’s role in history. The innovations resulted in a high culture of an artistic world dominated by educated and wealthy people. Increased food production was another factor that resulted to the massive changes. The target was to secure more farmland, increase the land’s yield, healthy and more livestock and a favorable climate. Abandoning old open field system led to the increase in the amount of land being utilized. Larger number of animals was maintained since the utilized lands provided winter fodder for the animals. Animals provided manure for fertilizing fields to produce higher yields. Meat from the numerous livestock increased in the diet of European. English led in the efforts of adopting new techniques during the agricultural revolution of the eighteenth century.
There was a need for credit expansion in the 18th century that fostered the establishment of banks. This was also contributed to the low amount of gold and silver supply from the 17th century. Banking offered paper currencies, allowed people to invest in colonial trading companies and offered loans at low interest rates. There was a need to embrace industrial revolution to exhibit growth in average income and population. Since most people were involved in agriculture in the past years, the average income and the population was limited by famine, weather, war and diseases. As a result to the changes and industrialization revolution, sanitation improved, canals and roads were built in Western Europe. Food transport improved, and it resulted to a population growth. The changes were fueled by a need to inflate profits and explode the population. High population provided labor in the textile industry. Britain and France produced and exported cloth. Machines were used in the industries during the second half of the century.
Need for reforms in politics led to a revolution from traditional forms of governments to a system that are evident even today. In French revolution, there was a push for voting by head where each delegate was entitled one vote. A new constitution governing the colony was drafted. To mark a triumph of liberty, there were attacks and capturing of royal armories. Political revolution resulted in a national convention composed of lawyers, professionals and those who owned properties. Big numbers of the deputies were people whose age were on average forty-five and included a handful of artisans. Due to the distrust to the king and his activities, the convention urged for the abolishment of the monarchy and establishment of a republic. Revolutionary army of unprecedented size was created that would function to protect the created republic from foreign enemies. Central government appointed committee that worked as agents to educate the republic on the war emergency measures. The new formed government also provided economic controls by establishing a system of food price control and cloth supplies.
The massive changes and revolutions resulted in the growth of nations and technology to a size that made countries try and take over other people’s countries. Conflicts erupted from the expansion of European Empire which resulted in the drawing up of borders as well as falling of some empires. The succession within the empire resulted to the division of the colonies, and this altered the European balance of power. Republicans attacked the king’s monarchy due to mistrust in his activities. The colonies used the empires to improve their economic status as well as promote mercantilism. Rivalries in trade developed among the European powers and this caused strain. The greater empires had a conflict over fishing rights as well as a fur trade.
The powers developed differences in the 18th century that led to the emergence of wars. An example is the Great Northern War. Revolutions led to the expansion of empires that later caused conflicts. The conflicts, which were as, a result of political problems, religious, demographic and economic crisis saw a wide spread fall in politics, economics and society. There was also some general crisis resulting from intellectual and religious changes. Several European powers fought in the War for Spanish succession. The wars and conflicts proved some empires to be greater than others. An example is the Great Northern War that saw the establishment of Russia as a greater power in Europe. French monarchy received criticism and lost its privileged status as the Third Estate marched towards liberty, equality and fraternity. This ultimately led to the rise of Napoleon who was a representative of the first military dictatorship.
American and French revolutions were related. Both the colonies had a struggle against monarchial and aristocratic powers. This resulted in the creation of the greatest possible freedom. Despite both the revolutionary wars being relatively small, those conflicts and wars caused heavy economic losses in the colonies. The war strained the colonies, but they withstood the challenge. The revolutions resulted in a creation of newly independent United States while French revolution resulted in the overthrow of its monarchial government. This greatly impressed the people because of the ideal of freedom and democracy they experienced after the revolutions.
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