General History XI: 1789–1871
This period of General History is usually taught as a Europe-centred paper, and deals with such issues as rapid but uneven industrialization, the growth of large cities, the shift from a society of orders to one of classes, concerted state-building and the emergence of fundamental ideologies of liberalism, democracy, socialism and nationalism, secularization and religious revival, the first manifestations of feminism, together with the Romantic movement in art and literature. The destructive and constructive force of the French Revolution was transported across Europe through the Napoleonic Empire, an increasingly bureaucratic state system. Through the Congress system European powers sought to control the revolutionary nationalism generated by France, while governing élites struggled to find a balance between order and liberty. The liberal, democratic, socialist and nationalist forces which challenged the established order came to a head in the revolutions of 1830 and 1848‑9. The struggle for nation-building was characterized by a decade of war involving Italy, Austria, France and Germany, a period of political reaction coupled with intense modernization and continuing radical unrest. These processes culminated in the unifications of Italy and Germany, the collapse of the second empire and attempts at extensive reform in Russia. The period ends in 1871, with the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune.
The paper is usually studied partly comparatively, partly on a country by country basis, looking at such issues as Italian nationalism, the debates over German integration, the failure of the monarchy to re-establish itself in France and the experience of autocracy in Russia. Outside Europe, it is possible to study the United States (slavery, the Frontier, Jacksonian democracy and the American Civil War), British rule in India and the Indian Mutiny, the Latin American revolutions, the Greek and Egyptian revolts against the Ottoman Empire, and the impact of the west on China and Japan, leading to such phenomena as the Taiping rebellion and the Meiji restoration. Altogether the paper deals with a crucial period which witnessed the painful emergence of modern Europe and a decisive phase in the relations between Europe and the wider world.