Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Political Ideologies of the 19th Century


Conservatism in the 19th century, was a political ideology that favored returning to they ways of tradition, and avoiding change. Our vine shows the riotous behavior of the common people (Thomas), when they are given power. The conservatives used the French Revolution as a prime example of what would happen if there is no strong monarchy. Then the two rulers (Ellie and Parker) state that the riots are a reason that common people can not be left in charge of themselves. Next, a scientist is discovering new things, and bringing new ideas and knowledge into light. However, the conservatives were very stuck in their ways, and often used religion as a reason to keep to tradition. [Parker hits the apple (gravity/science) with a bible]. One main idea of conservatism is that social action should not be taken, conservatives opposed innovation and reform. The conservatives claimed that the French Revolution was a result of radical social and political reform, and so these things should be avoided. The political action that was promoted by conservatives was reinstating the old monarchies. The supporters of conservative ideas were usually the aristocrats.
Liberalism was an ideology that greatly contradicted the views of conservatives. Liberals believed that social and political reform were necessary for the advancement of the people. The liberals wanted "God-given, natural rights and laws that men could discern through the use of reason." The liberals supported a constitutional monarchy instead of absolute rulers. Many of the supporters of liberalism were members of the middle class. Nationalism was a belief that grew from a feeling of unity within a country while they were occupied by France. The people of the country saw their lack of unity as a weakness that allowed them to get conquered, and they developed a idea that a stronger nation is one that is bound together by language, customs and history. They believed that national unification was necessary and that foreign rulers must be removed.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Why Was America More Prepared For Independence Than Other Atlantic Colonies

There were a myriad of factors that contributed to the relative success of the American Revolution compared to other Atlantic revolutions around the same time. The driving force behind the revolutions played a large factor in the degree of success for each revolution.
A major reason for the success of the American Revolution, was the lack of widespread racial tension and violence. In America, the black population made up only a third of the total in the south, and under 5% in the north. 

This meant that the leaders of the colonies and the revolution were 
able to ignore the needs and opinions of the blacks. Although this is morally wrong, it allowed the country as a whole to stay more united with a similar purpose. Even though many Americans felt uneasy about the enslavement of blacks, they realized that in order to succeed in this revolution, they needed to focus solely on their goal of economic and political independence from Britain. On the other hand, in the Latin American revolutions, the racial and political tensions were the driving force behind the revolutions. In Haiti up to two thirds of the population was enslaved blacks; this meant that the minority had most of the power. The rebellions often "revealed the simmering fury of an oppressed people" who fought back, very violently after hundreds of years of enslavement. The Latin American revolutions often attempted to accomplish social reform, economic reform, and political independence all at the same time. This was overwhelming for the fledgling governments and many of the countries became poor.
The way that America had been treated by Britain also differed greatly from how the Latin American countries were treated by their mother countries. The Reparations that were imposed (or not imposed) and the relationships with the former colonial powers differed from country to country. After the American Revolution, the Americans and the British were able to form a treaty that helped satisfy the needs and wants of both sides of the war. The Americans agreed to make peace with loyalists still in the country and to return their goods to them. The King of England offered that if any British loyalist wished to leave America, that they would pay for the transportation and for any lost goods. However, in Latin America, especially Haiti, the relationship between them and their mother country was not as rosy. The French government demanded that an "independence debt" be paid to France to compensate for the goods (mostly slaves) lost in the revolution. This was an unlawful debt to impose, and the amount that was charged was ten times that of Haiti's annual income. This left that Haitian people and government poor and weak from this crippling debt. America was in a much easier situation because they had not been exploited by Britain.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Haitian Revolution

When the people of Haiti finally earned their freedom for French control, their welcome into the world was far less than satisfactory. When the Haitians successfully repelled the French attack, and declared themselves an independent nation, they were nearly ignored by the rest of the world. The other nearby newly independent nation, The United States, refused to recognize Haiti as a country, and did not trade as openly with them. Thomas Jefferson was afraid that if the ideas of a slave uprising, as had happened in Haiti spread to the united states, then there would be chaos. Haiti was not recognized by the united states until 1862, six decades after the revolution took place. The French government was still not pleased that they had lost Haiti, so they decided to impose a "independence debt" on the Haitian government.
Haitian Rebels Fight off French Troops
The lack of support and interaction with other countries in the world dealt a heavy blow to the new country of Haiti. The lack of trade with this new country caused the economy to fall to ruin, and poverty was rampant. When the French instated the "independence debt" the people had to way to resist the unlawful fee that they were being force to pay; they had no allies in the area, they were unable to resist the French. The Haitian people had no other option than to pay the 90 million gold francs (6 times the annual income of Haiti) because the french fleet was stationed in the bay, threatening re-enslavement. The reception, or lack thereof, of the new Haitian country caused it to be crippled by economic problems, and instability, the effects of which can still be seen today.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Napoleon Bonaparte undeniably left a resounding impact on all of Europe. His actions of conquering other countries, changing governments, stripping down old social orders, and instating new economies was revolutionary.

Each country Napoleon conquered, he removed the old monarchy, or the Ancien Regime, which were governments ruled by hereditary kings. He abolished the old monarchies and allowed for more of a free-form government. This allowed for more prosperity and freedom in the people of these countries. This government system lasted until Napoleon was defeated. However, when the old monarchies were reinstated, there was much resistance against the form of government that was "going backwards." The old monarchies were too weak to defend against attacks, and they were not ideal for the people.

Napoleon completely redesigned the social orders, not only in France, but also in conquered countries. He was opposed to the rich, upper class having a large sum of the money, and oppressing the poorer classes. This made him vastly unpopular with the bourgeoise of every country. One member of nobility in France,  Madame de Stael said that, "his profound contempt for all the intellectual riches of human nature: virtue, dignity, religion enthusiasm; in his eyes they are 'the eternal enemies of the continent.'" This shows the opinion that the upper class had for him because his removal of many arts and leisure activies from society primarily affected the rich. When the old rulers were removed, many of their laws went with them. People in the countries he conquered had more freedom and rights than they did under their old rulers. For this reason, Napoleon was seen in a positive light by many of his conquered people.
This depiction of Napoleon clearly shows a powerful, respected ruler
This made them very reluctant to changing back to the old government when Napoleon was defeated. The freedom they felt under Napoleon laid the seed for many revolutions that were to come later.

Napoleon's impact on other countries also included economic reforms. In the Ancien Regime the economies were strictly operated by the government and most of the money was controlled by the upper class. This meant that the lower classes were suffering under the strict laws of trade that prevented them from making as much of a profit as they could. One of Napoleon's generals, Marshal Michel Ney says, "The times are gone when the people were governed by suppressing their rights." Under Napoleon, the trading was much more open and the wealth was distributed more between the people. For all of these reasons Napoleon is seen often in differing lights; sometimes as a great leader in reforms, and sometimes as a ruthless conqueror. Regardless of your opinion, it is evident that he had a tremendous impact on the world.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Great Britain & U.S. Comparison

During the industrial revolutions in Britain and in the Unites States, the conditions were very different for workers and for industrialists. Industrialists (factory owners and upper level employees) were more likely to succeed in Britain. One factor that made industrialists more successful was the plentiful supply of cheap labor. The industrial revolution forced many women who were spinning wool at home to work in the factories. The factories were making textile goods for cheaper, so women were no longer able to sell their goods. This meant that women and many children had to work in the mills to make money. There were no other alternatives for income, so the factories were able to pay them very little money. In Britain, there was not enough land available that the common people could farm their own land and support themselves, so they had no option but to work. In Britain, the advanced technologies of textile production allowed the factory owners to make a significant amount of money. They then used part of this money to help "persuade" government officials to not make labor laws. This meant that the industrialists were insuring their own success. Even though the workers were living and working in derelict conditions, there were no laws that required these conditions to change, and the factory owners did not care. 
Young children were forced to work in the dangerous mills
For the workers, their experience was not ideal no matter where they were working, but in America, the conditions were better. In America, specifically Lowell, the mills and the city surrounding them were considerably cleaner and more organized than the factories in Britain. This is not because the industrialists were better people, it is because they had to be in order to attract workers. In America, the availability of very cheap labor was not as plentiful. People had more alternatives to factory work; there was so much available land out west, that if people wanted to claim their own land, they could. This meant that the people were not as desperate for work as they were in Britain, so the conditions and the pay had to be more appealing. The workers in Lowell were primarily young women. They were the cheapest to hire, and the easiest to control. However, often the factories had to convince the father of the women to let them go to the mills, this meant that the factories would have to at least seem attractive. The working conditions in Lowell were less extreme than in Britain. The work day was still painfully long, but there was some time given for social activities. Most of all the conditions were clean and organized, the women were given housing and food which is a vast improvement over the filthy streets of Manchester.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Lowell Experiment: A Success or a Failure?

For the thousands of girls who worked in the Lowell Mills during the American Industrial revolution, their experiences greatly shaped who they were, what they became, and their outlook on life. The impact of their tough work in the mills, as a whole, made the girls more independent and hard working than other women who did not share the same experiences as them. For the mill owners, the amount of financial success was staggering, they expanded factories into multiple cities and made even more money. From a social and humanitarian standpoint, the mills were still a poor place for anyone to work, let alone young girls.
Before Mary Paul left home to go work in Lowell, she wrote that,
"I want you to consent to let me go to Lowell if you can. I think it would be much better for me than to stay about here."
 She was expecting a place where she could earn her own money, buy her own things, and still send home some money to help support her family. At first she was pleased with her conditions, 
"We found a place in a spinning room and the next morning I went to work. I like very well"
 She was befriending many of the other girls, who were there for much the same reason that she was, and she seemed satisfied with her new working conditions. However, as the months drag on, her tone in the letters changes. Her pay is not amounting to what she wishes it would be. She is forced to spend much of it on board, and the rest on necessities. However, during this time she is still working hard and learning the value of hard work and independence. Throughout the final months of her living in the mills, she falls ill often and is unable to work very well. In her final letter she writes, 
"I have not been able to do much, although I have worked very hard."
 This shows her determination to make good out of what she has been given. Mary, along with many other mill girls, departs from the mills a strong, independent and determined young woman. Many of these mill girls were so deeply effected by their experiences at the mills; some of which were good, while some were bad, that they became activists for women's rights in their adulthood. The overall impact on the girls in the mills is that, while they may not have felt successful at the mills, their lessons learned from hard work at the mills helped them to succeed in life. 
The owners of the Lowell mills became very rich men, at the expense of a cheap labor force. The product that the mills put out was easier to make, so more could be sold, and at a lower price. This meant that more people were buying the goods from American factories, and less goods from other countries. This in turn led to a boosted economy which was good for everyone, but especially the mill owners. Because they hired almost exclusively young women, which were the cheapest section of the work force, the owners were able to keep much more money for themselves. The massive profits came at the cost of living and working conditions for the young women.
The living conditions, although far better than those in mills in Britain, are still deplorable. The girls were forced to live multiple people for a small room, and the work hours were unbearably long. At first Mary was pleased with her living and working conditions, she writes, 
"I get along in work have a first rate overseer and a very good boarding place." 
She is doing well in work and likes where she is living. However, as time goes on, she begins to realize that things are more treacherous than they initially seemed. In a later letter she writes, 
"My life and health are spared while others are cut off. Last Thursday one girl fell down and broke her neck which caused instant death... The same day a man was killed by the [railroad] cars. Another had nearly all of his ribs broken. Another was nearly killed by falling down and having a bale of cotton fall on him." This shows her fear of injury, and the real presence of danger in everyday life at the mills. For the owners of the mills, it was cheaper to have mills where accidents occurred 'infrequently' than to spend money to make sure that people were always safe. 
The Lowell experiment was both a success and a failure. For America as a whole, the factories in Lowell helped to advance our country industrially, economically, and to inspire some women to take active roles in women's and worker's rights. However, for the poor girls who were forced to work in these mills, many of them had no other option and were trapped in this system that gave them little to no pay.
The Lowell Mills - 1858
A place of constant motion and production