Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
The world was a changing place leading up to the 1770s. Expansion began and the people were driven to explore the previously uncharted. To begin with, the Columbian Exchange came about. Because of the new movement, people, animals, plants, and diseases were transferred between the new and the old worlds. Though many benefits came through this economically, diseases were disastrous. It was so bad that 75% of the Mayan and Incan population were killed from epidemics. Disease, however, was not the only thing taken to the new world. Along with explorers and businessmen came the Catholic Church; they were determined to spread Christianity. The missionaries tried hard to suppress the local rituals, but in actuality religions became mixed.
Desirable resources were found in the Americas and the Atlantic system came about. An extensive network of trading routes was created and many profits came from newly founded plantations. In Jamaica alone there were over 600 plantations, and the best profit was made from destroying the land and depending on free labor. Despite these harmful methods, this was the beginning of development, leading to the modern day capitalism we know. Individuals profited from stock exchanges and insurance was created for trade and cargo ships.
The 18th century had a dilemma: because of this colonization and trade, European nations began to feel increasingly competitive. A philosophical movement, the enlightenment period, arose which challenged religious and political institutions. Views on the world were changing. Society was being reformed as social behavior began to be governed, women of middle and upper class participated in this movement and Benjamin Franklin emphasized the American potential during this time.
In order to make the most profit for themselves, colonialists relied on slaves to take care of the hard labor. Slavery expanded as plantations became more common and any attempt of rebellion was squashed. The slaves on these plantations were put through impossible conditions. They were forced to work all day and if not, major consequences were to be met. The slaves could find themselves whipped, chained, and/or mutilated for disobeying.
People were taken captive and transported through the middle passage, a section of the Atlantic circuit. On board the transport ships, men were seen as the most dangerous captives and were chained and put through more brutal conditions. The book The Slave Ship emphasizes this by describing how women had more freedom about the ships. However this luxury came at a price: most women and children were taken advantage of by the ship’s crew.
Once the long journey on the ship was complete, most captives found themselves going through a period called seasoning. This was a period where they were, in a sense, broken. It was during this period that the slaves learned what their new life would entail. Along with this, they had to acclimate to the new area. Many were exposed to new diseases and died. The life expectancy on a plantation was not long at all either.
So how did people find themselves forced into slavery? In Africa, brother was betraying brother. No one was safe. Instead of the Europeans hunting down the people and taking them themselves, they traded. Money and goods came with handing over people. Many who were traded were prisoners of war, but that was not all of them. A major benefit that came to the Africans was weaponry. By trading slaves, they could become more powerful themselves.
Thankfully today, slavery in this sense no longer exists. One of the firsts to act against slavery was the English. During the enlightenment period, new ideas of physics, chemistry, electricity, and astronomy came about. But also, so did the idea that slavery was bad. The people of this period believed that slavery violated an individual’s natural human rights. And because of this belief, British parliament went to court and abolished slavery. A mere three years later, the abolishment movement swept to America and the American Revolution occurred.
Founded in 1300, the Ottoman grew vastly. Some of the main reasons it saw progress was because the leader was sharp and intelligent, they were the strategic link between Europe and Asian, and their army was incredibly powerful. Once inflation hit the nation, Janissaries became the powerful ones in politics. They began taxing the people and became rich.
However, between 1580 and 1650, major transformations occurred to the major Port of Izmir. The Ottoman Empire was unable to fully control trade and European dominance grew in the region. Because of this, Janissaries began to weaken and the Europeans swept in and were able to manipulate trade policies. Because of this, the Tulip Period came about where European influence was widely popular.
Up north in Russia, changes were occurring as well. Major expansion was happening, which created a diverse group of Russians. Peter the Great was a major part of change for the nation because of his love of western languages and the new technologies he excitedly brought to his home. He was an adventurous man who led a busy life as he went undercover in Europe in attempt to understand how other nations became so powerful. He was a revolutionary man as he demonstrated Russian power through the Great Northern War. Additionally, he transformed the social scene of Russia. He worked to end the seclusion of women, especially of the upper class. He required that men of power brought their wives to social gatherings and encouraged them to give their output on politics.
When the Stamp Act of 1765 was created, many of those in British America were angered by it. The British ruled from afar and had no direct officials in America. The colonialists had been running their homes rather independently and were outraged that a government so far away could try to impose such an act. The British weren’t just upsetting colonialists either. Many natives who traded furs found themselves outraged as the price of fur declined. They could not afford such a change and found themselves conflicted. In attempt to maintain this act for the colonists, British soldiers were placed in Boston. As a rowdy crowd grew, these soldiers open fired and killed five colonists. This event was seen as senseless and was the turning point, which motivated people into action. The colonists were outraged and the revolution began, led by George Washington.
France had to face the dilemma of revolution as well. The living conditions were terrible as poverty rates skyrocketed and people fought to survive. When the calling of the Estates General was made and they locked themselves in a room, people were outraged. They were tired of struggling and wanted change. The royal palace was invaded, where the king was captured and later murdered. Mobs scoured the French prisons, killing the inhabitants. A new French government was created and it consisted of mainly Jacobins. However, the revolution was not over. Maximilien Robespierre had led some of the most radical phases of the revolution. He was eventually executed, and his death was seen as an end to the reign of terror. But Napoleon was soon to rise and his power brought a new phase to revolution.
These two revolutions were extraordinary events in the world at the time. They were the motivators that lead to more rebellion. They gave the courage needed to people everywhere to stand up and fight for their rights. When the French revolution came about, French colonies were weaken and word of what was happening spread to the slaves, who then took the opportunity to rebel and gain their freedom. Other European nations came around too in 1848. Though not successful, they occurred in states such as Germany and Italy.
The industrial revolution was a time of massive change as people flocked to cities for work. In Britain, class lines began to blur as a variety of people made profit. Many new ideas and inventions came about, including mechanization. This new process, which lessened the work a person does, was brought to the United States. With mechanization Americans were able to make many cotton mills, leading to a boom in cotton farms.
One of the biggest impacts from the industrial revolution was the emergence of environmental problems. Sewage in cities contaminated the water, disease was increasingly common through that contamination, and there was noise pollution from the newly invented trains. The people were severely affected as well. Unions came about after the revolution, but before then the workdays were excruciating long and workers were given few breaks. Children were also hired as young as five years old and were beaten if any mistakes were made.
But not every impact was negative. Products and goods became more widely available and affordable and while this happened, immigration to England and North America boomed. Furthermore, many great inventions and ideas came about. For example, the idea of laissez faire became widely popular. As for inventions, the steam engine was a massive creation which was adapted for steam powered trains and railways. The electric telegraph was invented too, making it much more easily to transmit information long distance.
Britain and America were able to prove their strength. Through wars fought and the ability to defend their nation, the states were seen as two major powers one would not want to cross. In fact, it would make more sense to be on their side. The British had expanding imperialism and were able to gain almost complete control over India. They were even able to get the native peoples to join their British army. The nation was also able to further expand by the creation of agile clipper ships.
However, not all nations responded to this rising imperialism well. A heavy effort was made in Russia to remove any western influence through top-down reforms. Especially after the Crimean War, they wanted nothing to do with the western world and most people embraced pan-slavism. The Qing-Empire, in modern-day China, opposed the British too. When Qing attempted to ban opium trade with them, the British drew military forces and brutally defeated the Chinese. In the treaty, the people were forced to embrace the western imperialism by opening up more trade ports and having a specific reduced tax for the British.