The first Slavic people to fall under Byzantine influence were the Bulgarians. From the time these barbarians crossed the Danube in the late seventh century, they engaged in intermittent warfare against the Byzantine Empire. At the same time, a Slavic people called the Moravians had established a state of their own. Their rulers associated Christianity with their powerful neighbors, the Germans, and feared both German and papal encroachment.
In his later years, Mill referred to himself as a socialist; by his standard, however, most voters today are socialists.
Universal suffrage for men and for women, universal free education, the curbing of laissez faire in the interests of the general welfare, the use of the taxing power to limit the unbridled accumulation of private property— all these major changes foreseen by Mill are now widely accepted.
Besides tragic human losses from the war, Great Britain’s economic losses were grave. The national debt after the war was ten times that of 1914. Many British investments abroad had been liquidated to purchase food and war materials. Forty percent of the great British merchant fleet had been destroyed by enemy action.
Renaissance sculpture and painting were closely related, and Italian pictures owed some of their three-dimensional quality to the artists’ study of sculpture. The first Renaissance sculptor was Donatello (1386-1466), whose statue of the condottiere Gattamelata in Padua was even then a landmark in the history of art.
In theory the election of deputies to the National Convention in 1792 marked the beginning of political democracy in France. Virtually all male citizens were invited to the polls.
Yet only 10 percent of the potential electorate of 7 million actually voted; the rest abstained or were turned away from the polls by the watchdogs of the Jacobin clubs, ever on the alert against “counterrevolutionaries.”
The origins of the Modern West lay in the French Revolution, and the rising nationalism stimulated by it and by the conquests of Napoleon.
They lay also in the developments of the short, intense period between the Congress of Vienna and the wave of revolutions that moved across Europe in 1848. During this time and into the 1880s, the industrial revolution was also transforming Western societies, especially Britain, Germany, and the United States.
In the nineteenth century Britain emerged as a parliamentary democracy. The Reform Bills of 1832 and 1867 accomplished revolutionary changes without violence. The cabinet controlled Parliament; representation was increased through the extension of suffrage and the reform of electoral districts. In the stable political atmosphere of England, the two-party system grew. Disraeli and Gladstone, leaders of Conservatives and Liberals respectively, dominated politics in this age of reform.
In the years immediately after Waterloo, Britain went through an intense postwar economic crisis. Unsold goods accumulated, and the working classes experienced widespread unemployment and misery.
Popular suffering increased as a result of the Corn Law of 1815, which forbade the importation of cheap foreign grain until the price of the home-grown commodity rose to a specified level. This assured the profits of the English grain farmer and probably raised the cost of bread for the average English family.
The state religion of the Olympian gods and of the deified emperors still commanded the loyalty of many Romans, who regarded the proper observance of its rites as the equivalent of patriotism. But by the first century A.D. the old faith no longer allayed the fears of millions who believed in blind fate and inevitable fortune: people increasingly sought a religion that would hold out the hope of an afterlife better than the grim reality on earth. So, along with astrology and magic, mystery religions began to appear in Rome.
The revolutionary wave of the 1830s confirmed two major political developments. First, it widened the split between the West and the East already evident after the revolutions of 1820. Britain and France were committed to support cautiously liberal constitutional monarchies both at home and in Belgium.
On the other hand, Russia, Austria, and Prussia were more firmly committed than ever to counterrevolution. In 1833 Czar Nicholas I, Metternich, and King Frederick William III formally pledged their joint assistance to any sovereign threatened by revolution.