The style of romanticism was not totally at variance with that of the Enlightenment; not only a modified doctrine of progress but also the cosmopolitanism of the eighteenth century lived on into the nineteenth. Homer, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Scott had appreciative readers in many countries; giants of the age such as Beethoven and Goethe were not merely Austrian or German citizens but citizens of the world.
The transition from modern to what some scholars refer to as postmodern history is marked by the rise and collapse of the great modern empires.
The age of maritime exploration and early colonialism had knit the globe together into one intellectual construct; the age of imperialism would give political and economic reality to this set of mental maps.
Imperialism, both as word and as deed, became part of the power struggle among the Western powers and, in the twentieth century, among non- Western nations as well.
Suffrage for the Duma was universal but indirect. Voters chose an electoral college, which then selected the 412 deputies. Although SRs and SDs boycotted the elections, many of them were elected.
The Kadets were the strongest party. Contrary to the expectations of the government, the peasant vote was highly liberal. But even before the First Duma had met, Witte was able to reduce its powers. He secured a large French loan, which made the government financially independent of the Duma, and issued a set of “fundamental laws,” which the Duma was not to alter.
The peace officially lasted only five years (421-416 B.C.), years that saw the gradual rise to eminence in Athenian politics of Pericles’ cousin, Alcibiades, a brilliant, ambitious, dissolute, and unstable youth, who initially succeeded the demagogic Cleon as leader of the lower-class war party against the restrained and unglamorous Nicias. During that time Athens underlined its ruthlessness by killing all the adult males of the island of Melos and enslaving the women and children as a punishment for Melos’s insistence on staying neutral in the war (416).
In the early modern period explorers representing western European nations crossed vast oceans to discover other civilizations. With superior material and technological strength, especially firearms, Europeans were able to win empires. The motives for European expansion varied from desire to serve God, to glory, gold, and strategic need.
Spain in its Golden Age, 1516-1659, offers a case study of the clash between the ideal of absolutism and the persistence of the varied groups on which the monarchy sought to impose its centralized, standardizing rules. The reigns of its two hard-working monarchs, Charles V (r. 1516-1556) and Philip II, span almost the entire century.
Lenin died in January 1924. During the last two years of his life, he played an ever-lessening role. Involved in the controversy over NEP was also the question of succession to Lenin.
Thus an answer to the questions of how to organize industry, what role to give organized labor, and what relations to maintain with the capitalist world depended not only upon an estimate of the actual situation but also upon a guess as to what answer was likely to be politically advantageous. From this maneuvering the secretary of the Communist party, Joseph Stalin, was to emerge victorious by 1928.
Judged by comparison with the achievements of Greek, Hellenistic, or Roman civilizations, or by those of the Byzantine and Muslim East, those of western Europe in these centuries may sometimes seem feeble or primitive. But this is what one would expect in a world where life was often too turbulent to allow much leisure for the exercise of creative skills.
The outlines of the new regime were already starting to take shape before the October Days. The Great Fear prompted the National Assembly to abolish in law what the peasants were destroying in fact. On the evening of August 4, 1789, the deputies voted that taxation would be paid by all inhabitants of the kingdom in proportion to their revenues, and that public expenses would be borne equally by all.
Frequently, entire families had to work as a matter of sheer economic necessity. A factory worker testified before a British parliamentary committee in 1831-1832:
At what time in the morning, in the brisk time, did those girls go to the mills? In the brisk time, for about six weeks, they have gone at 3 o’clock in the morning, and ended at 10, or nearly half-past, at night.
What intervals were allowed for rest or refreshment during those nineteen hours of labour? Breakfast a quarter of an hour, and dinner half an hour, and drinking of ale a quarter of an hour.