1. The American Revolution resulted in a Democratic government based on popular sovereignty while the French Revolution resulted in a popular authoritarianism under Napoleon Bonaparte. The U.S. Constitution is focused on representation, electoral procedures, limited executive powers, and the equality of the federal and state governments. In 1799 the French Directory, established during revolutionary unrest to represent the people, was toppled by a young general, Napoleon, when he established an authoritarian rule.
The U.S. established checks and balances in the government that shares the power between the judicial, executive, and legislative branches in order to prevent one person from taking all of the power, such as Napoleon did in France. These revolutions, both alike and different, set an example for other nations to follow and brought forth a new era of politics.
2. The Napoleonic period set an example of revolution for other European countries to follow by spreading ideas of nationalism and republicanism. In Europe, the spread of revolutionary fervor caused monarchs to form the Congress of Vienna, made between 1814-1815 of representatives of Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, to protect themselves from further revolutionary outbreaks and to reestablish political order in Europe.
In 1820 this “Holy Alliance” acted decisively to defeat liberal revolutions in Spain and Italy. After the 1830 uprising that overturned the restored monarchy in France, Belgians rose up to declare their independence from Holland. In Poland and Italy, similar uprisings combining nationalism and a desire for self-governance failed. Even as the dictatorship of Napoleon eliminated the democratic legacy of the French Revolution, revolutionary ideology was spreading and taking hold in Europe and the Americas.
3. The Industrial Revolution in Britain was sparked by technological advancements that led to changes in the social hierarchy. With more efficient farming technology such as the use of machinery and fertilizers during the Agricultural Revolution, many men, women, and children left Britain’s farms and moved to cities to work under the harsh conditions in the newly formed factories.
These factories were fueled by Britain’s own abundant natural resources (coal, iron ore, capital for investment and rivers to aid in the transportation of goods) as well as the invention of many machines that assisted in the mass production of clothing and other consumer goods.
Britain’s colonies such as America and India served as both a natural resources for raw materials used in production such as cotton, and as great consumer markets for finished goods. Britain’s many factories created a new working class in the masses employed in the dreary and unsafe factories as well as a middle and wealthy class as companies expanded and profited. As a result of the changes in social structure and employment, The Enlightenment movement took form.
They attempted to combat the horrendous conditions of the working class in passing The Factory Act of 1833 which demanded better pay for the factory workers and the elimination of child laborers. Labor unions were created to help rectify poor working conditions as well. With the fast paced mechanical and industrial changes in the Britain Industrial Revolution came changes in the traditional ways of society.
4. In 1850 there were many political coalitions in central Europe such as Italy, Germany and Russia, who used strong national pride for national unification purposes. Count Camillo Cavour managed to remove Austrian influence from all parts of Italy through a series of wars, thus spurring intense nationalism. Giuseppe Garibaldi, another Italian nationalist, raised a volunteer army in 1860 and drove Spain from the Kingdom of Two Siciles, thereby uniting all of Italy under Victor Emmanuel. Similarly, Otto von Bismarck, appointed by William I in 1861, was able to unite Germany through the Franco-Prussian war.
In 1871, the victorious Bismarck crowned King William I as emperor of the new German Empire, and a strong and proud Germany emerged. In Russia, Alexander III, through a policy known as Russification, demanded all Russians, including people in the far-flung reaches of the Empire were made to learn the Russian language and convert to Russian Orthodoxy. Those that didn’t were persecuted (primarily the Jews) and led to many nonconformist to flee Russia. Through this forceful process, Russia was successfully united in language and religion.
5. After 1870, diplomatic tensions arose as the new central European nations, Russia and Germany, threatened the old European powers of Britain and France. Britain and France feared that the collapse of the Ottoman Empire would allow Russia to take over the Eastern Mediterranean and those trade routes necessary to the economic flow between colonial Britain and France and the motherland. Russia annexed Poland and began its conquest to the west as well as Uzbek, Turkistan, Georgia, and Armenia to the south.
Britain and France were worried that it was only a matter of time before power-hungry Russia arrived at their doorstep, be it their homeland or their colonies. Likewise, with its newfound unity, rapidly growing industry and large army, Germany was becoming a dominant central European power and competitor. Britain and France, once the leading European countries, were now being challenged by newly emerging Russia and Germany.