Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stinky History

Stinky History

Towards the end of the article on the trade war we apparently declared on the French cheese that I love but can't really afford anymore.

: “ …However Roquefort got its start, the people of ROQUEFORT-SUR-SOULZON( a village of 600 souls in a remote part of southern France) have been making it for a long time. They were granted a monopoly on producing the cheese by King Charles VI in 1411. In 1666, the parliament in Toulouse granted Roquefort a "controlled designation of origin," which made it illegal for other communities to claim they were producing it… A decree from the prime minister in 2001 reviewed in excruciating detail how Roquefort must be produced to retain its distinction, including boundaries for the ewes' grazing grounds…”

Apparently even Napoleon let them be probably because “... A piece of Parmesan or Roquefort cheese closed his meals. ...” (Napoleon from the Tuileries to St. Helena: Personal Recollections by Louis √Čtienne Saint Denis, 1922

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Assess the Chartist movement: good/bad; effective/ineffective etc.

I am amazed by tha fact that over 3 million people signed one petition. It's also impressive how much the Chartists managed to not get themselves killed, hung, or massacred. I can see where they're coming from now. I used to think things like socialism were ridiculous, but now that I know about the life these people led, I would probably be one of the first to sign that list. So yes, I do believe their cause was justified and I'm starting to feel very lucky to live in America where everyone can vote and the government is happy to pass new laws when they are wanted. ALthough their cause was justified, as the book pointed out, they were going down the wrong road, the Chartists couldn;t get anything done because the few people in Parliament were protecting their private interests, not the interests of the people. It was when they started fighting fire with fire that they got stuff done. The labor unions proved more effective than government action, but I think government action was a nobler way to go than violence or revolution.

One thing I noticed, as did the book: England always looked for Perliamentary reform to adjust the government, whereas France looked toward revolution each time it wanted change. This must be because there were two different govs. Imagine what this must've meant for success as a country; a fluid, changable government is a vital necessity if you want to get ahead as a nation.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Peterloo Massacres and Six Acts

What happened, was after the wars had ended England faced a depression along with reactionist policies. The Corn Laws raised farm tariffs sky high to ward off too much importation of agricultural products to Britain during the "Flood". This made consumers angry. They organized in a field in Manchester and were shot at for the same reason that people get shot whenever they gather and are shot at, fear. This Peterloo "massacre" (as these events are often called) provoked the Six Acts which took away a number of the constitutional freedoms of the U.S. like the right of search and seizure, freedom to gather, and freedom of speech. These were all reactions to the flood of revolution throughout Europe at the time; governments were terrified of a mini-French revolution occurring on their turf. They were busy putting up "dikes" to stop the "flood". (the dutch were okay though, they had been doing this for years and were already well prepared)

What was so "revolutionary" about the Industrial Revolution?

Today, we measure a country's progress and value to the world economy in general in part by its level of industrialization, because in today's world it is very difficult for a nation to ensure the quality of life for its citizens that an industrialized country can provide. The Industrial Revolution itself was not revolutionary in the sense of BAM! Modern Progress! but more in the sense that it was a breaking out (albeit over time) from the older, accepted modes of production to the mechanized version which moved the world further down the path of consumptive leisure (meaning that we spend our leisure time using things others produce as opposed to finding something free to do), which is a necessary part of a capitalistic world. The dramatic change occurred when the world moved away from domestic production to making things with machines. Which, considering the moral dilemmas managers must have faced (or at least been presented with by established institutions), was pretty revolutionary.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Here is a comment I decided to make into a post:

I would like to make it clear that in my opinion, nationalism, used in a strictly national and military sense, has NOT been around for that long. It was only Louis XIV who created a national army for France. He was around in the 17th century, just two hundred years before Napoleon. It was a new thing that had not been going on until then. Before that people fought out of duty, fear, anger, pride, or to protect themselves, and of course to make money. When it comes to the spread of patriotism, there was no printing press before 1439. There were no salons, no reading cultures, no ideas spreading like wild fire, other than perhaps religious ones since the church was so well established and interconnected. It was a very isolated and personal existence as the majority of lives were agriculturally based.

As to nationalism as a whole, if there was any nationalism it was probably not national, but, manor-, town-, city-, state- or city-state-wide. You see Europe, had only come along as an Entity around the 13 or 1400s and the individual nations of Europe began forming as united political bodies from about then on. It seemed that as these nations grew stronger and more populated so too did the wars they fought; growing larger and more complex as nations ganged up on one another. People were much more concerned about heaven than they were about their nation during the middle ages. The New Monarchies that made these rough political boundaries into a Spain, a Britain, and a France. You can't really get fired up about nationalism until you have a nation to get fired up about.

Granted, Germany, around the time of Napoleon was not really a "nation" per se, but it wanted to be one, and it talked about being one, and it did so in the hopes that it would be it's own nation, and it fought for that image.

The city of Concord today has as much population as some of the major cities in the 16th and 17th centuries. The city of New York had as many people as some nations. People and their ideas have been spread out for a while.

I think that living in a small world today we forget how big the world used to be and how young we really are as a civilized race or even as a species.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What was so "revolutionary" about the "Industrial Revolution"?

Well for one, it got the people to revolve around the cities. I think that the Industrial Revolution was just as revolutionary as the French Revolution. Both took place in Europe and both involved bad conditions for poor peopleI think it was (like these young lads) more like an "Industrial Spiral" since there were still farmers and home industries just less and added a number of new factories. I think the Industrial Revolution was caused by the American and French Revolutions. The increased unity in Britain and an unsettled population sparked new ideas. I guess a revolution is just a major change or readjustment, kind of like the scientific revolution, the greatest spiritual adjustment in history.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What was so "revolutionary" about the "Industrial Revolution"?

The effects of the Industrial Revolution are still felt immensely in today's society. Perhaps the most revolutionary change in social structure that occured during the rev. was the growth of cities. In Britain by 1850, what had previously been a predominantly rural population had now grown and moved to cities, resulting in 31 cities with over 50,000 people. This urbanization soon spread with industrialism. Life changed dramatically for many-small farmers could no longer make a living doing what they were doing. Many had little choice but to move to the cities. There were many things "revolutionary" about the Industrial Revolution...industrialism itself was extremely revolutionary...urbanization is just a major one.

why england not france?

from what i have read, France was simply not in shape to handle an industrial revolution. While Napoleon ruled, nobody cared too much about the technology and new methods of business that had been jumping around. people in France were more concerned about their driven ruler whom I'm sure kept the male population down while having such an enormous army. England on the other hand wasn't run by one man either. they had been quietly building strength for a while as Napoleon drew all the attention. England was also run by more of the industrial folk. they had history in business and now they had the means of government to support their ideas. They used government power to support the movement and pave a road that was easy to walk for the people in the working world. The last reason i think England was in a better position then France was simply because of their foreign affairs. England has always been a power over seas in foreign territories and when Napoleon drew all the attention into Europe, England was able to claim land like it was new. Not to mention their exceptional navy could protect it with ease.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Napoleon's Empire V. Earlier Universal Monarchy bids (late)

Think back to Spain and France's earlier attempts at a universal monarchy. How do they compare to Napoleon's Grand Empire?

I think the key difference between the earlier bids for European supremacy and Napoleon's empire are in the fact that much of Napoleon's empire consisted of allied states that were not completely under the French heel. Granted, Napoleon could force all the countries within the empire (not counting Russia as a part of the empire) to act/not act, but much of the states that Napoleon had conquered were still allowed some semblance of self-government. I think a large reason that Napoleon was so able to control such a portion of Europe (i.e. most of it) was because he left this illusion of some self-government. It may have been the state of politics in his age, but for whatever the reason, strong political figures in many countries (tied, in essence, to whatever bit of Volksgeist the country had) were left with some power. I believe that this "delegation" of power, versus the earlier attempts at total control/domination, made Napoleon's empire more stable. The way I see it, the larger the area controlled, the greater the diversity of the population. With population diversity comes a differentiation of desires, and it is desires the deviate from the intentions of authority that cause problems. Napoleon was able to spread his control out across leaders who identified with their countries, where the earlier French and Habsburg reaches did not.

Page 434: "Industrialism vs. capitalism" Do you agree with Palmer's analysis? What does his analysis imply about the "Cold War"

The communistic approach to industry doesn't work very well. It is from capitalism that industry arose and thrived in, so of course it is capitalism that industry works best in, nothing has changed in industrialism's opinion of life in capitalism, a fish does not suddenly decide that he can no longer live in the sea, hop onto land and live a long, happy, and fulfilled life. In my opinion industrialism in communism was like a fish out of water. One of the biggest reasons industrialism worked so well was because of the competition. Who in the heck wanted to work in the horrible conditions of factory unless that was the only way to make a better happier life for themselves and to get what they desired. It is for themselves that people work hardest. Even in modern day America, it is the image of a wealthy, successful, and easy living human that drives so many people to work hard. Communism, as practiced during the cold war, severely omitted opportunity in its rule book, although it tried to replace this with terror, censorship (or lies, but there were lies in America as well) and a cult of personality, but the truth of the matter is, happy workers make good workers. I don't hate to quote Machiavelli (but I know that everyone else does) yet the U.S.S.R. is a perfect example of how the ways that governments do act is the same way that Machiavelli described, whether successful or not. People "will offer you their blood, property, life and children . . . when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you." The point I'm trying to make (and perhaps the same point that Machiavelli was trying to make) is that people as a whole are, when it comes down to the wire, are going to act more for self-benefit than for the benefit of others. This is, as a whole, not counting individuals. Stalin used terror to get people to work in the dismal factories, and combined fear with a forced (and false) love. Without self-worth OR RELIGION people seemed to lose that certain vibrancy, no wonder so many were trying to leave! It was slave labor, people want to be working for themselves and for their families who they are deeply and emotionally connected with.
With capitaism if people want money (even with small wages) they work, but they do not have to work so there is less restriction; although they are probably not going to quit their jobs they still can, for as we all know there is not much of a life without any money in society. In communism you have to work and you don't get anywhere and you can't control whether what your working for (which is in this case your nation) is getting anywhere. In communism if you decide to work (and you always decide whether at gun point or not) you see no results because you can only control yourself while working to improve an entire nation. In capitalism if you decide to work you make money and you have the opportunity to use it (however little it may be) in whichever way you choose; you improve yourself but you also improve your nation. In capitalism if you don't work you live on the street or out in the woods; you'll probably die but it's not definite. In communism if you don't work you get executed, not probably, you're dead. Not to mention in communism you have no religion and you see (or hear about) tens of innocent people killed everyday. This provides for some extreme depression because everything is beyond your control, and humans were not meant to live beyond there own control! It was a lack of opportunity in communism, plus terror, and atheism that made its members not work as hard as the workers in capitalism. Yet perhaps more important was the fact that Russia was in tatters and had to start from scratch after the revolution whereas the west had a relatively strong head start and had not much loss of security since it didn't have to change its whole system of government. The fact that Russians had nothing to lose caused them to agree to anything that would get them fed. This did not mean that they were any less unhappy about there dismal conditions, its obvious they were unhappy, that's why they fled to the west, that's why they didn't produce as much (although the American head start and money proved more decisive than happiness), and that's why when they fought they were more afraid of their home than the enemy, they were happy to live under enemy capture if they got fed. It is the same reason why free trade works better than mercantilism, it is natural, and communism is not natural, in the wild an animal's number one goal in life is to keep on living and bettering themselves, number two is others, and many times they act on the behalf of others to feel good about themselves. But when you are acting on the behalf of a government that is killing your friends and family, you do not feel very good about yourself. At least God is perfect, Stalin was as far from God as any idol could be and wouldn;t allow people to worship God. A life under communist Russia proved quite meaningless except for endless slave devotion to the painting of some evil old man. But my main point is opportunity, communists lacked the opportunity of a better life, they lost the fundamental pursuit of happiness. That is why they had to cover themselves up so much, people do not want to work in a factory to better an already extremely wealthy government in one store when they can work across the street for cash they can keep and get something for their efforts. People only volunteer for a reward other than cash, like knowledge or experience and unhappy people are less enthusiastic to help others. Communism is based on helping others and Russian communism made people unhappy. On top of that it put unhappy people in an unhappy place and expected great results. Looks like their expectations were a bit high.

Why in England and not in France?

The industrialization started in ENgland first for several reasons.
First of all, England's parliamentary gov. was in the hand of merchants and land owners. Therefore, these profit-chasing people were able to back their object with laws such as the enclosure act. Also, the social structure of England, which had a large middle class that had enough purchsing power, was more apt to the industrializing than that of France. England's naval dominance, as well as its ever-expanding colonies and markets further encouraged merchants to take more experimental measures... oh no fire drill

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Comparing France and Spain to Napoleon in respect to Universal Monarchy

The monarchs of France and Spain focused too much on simply uniting people for the sake of uniting them. Napoleon seperated himself from the average monarch by having one of the most successful military careers of all time. If your nation is able to march an army across Europe then the people will be proud of that and proud to be a French person. This feeling of nationalism was what was missing from previous attempts of universal monarchy.

Napoleon: Enlightened or not?

It's hard to answer this question since others have already said pretty much what I wanted to but I guess I will just try to further explain why Napoleon was in fact enlightened. One must put into perspective what it was like to be him. He felt like he could do great things for his country, all of Europe, and what lead to his demise, himself. He wasn't all for himself and that is apparent in the reforms that he constituted throughout France and Europe. However, Napoleon was ambitious for himself and saw that he could do great things. That is where his fault came in. He just went too far in his idea of basically taking over Europe. People weren't going to let that happen. Now, when one looks at the good things that he did do there can be much enlightenment to be seen. Napoleon abolished feudalism in France, something that no other despot could do or even tried to do. He promoted religious toleration with great success. Most importantly, he abolished slavery in France. if this can't be seen as enlightened I don't know what can. As seen in the last DBQ that was done about slavery, many of the people opposed to slavery were enlightened scholars. Napoleon held these values as well. There is no question that Bonaparte went too far in his dream of expansion, but to say that he wasn't enlightened is just plain ridiculous.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Napolean as an Enlightened Despot

I think Napolean was an enlightened despot especially due to his government reforms. He established constitutional monarchies in his HRE territories, and he himself set up reforms and a constitution that let the people think they had the power with the voting they could do. He got rid of any kind of bias in the legal systems against classes. Everything was now "jobs open to talent" and the aristocracy now had no special priveledges. The declaration of the Rights of Man was incorporated in Napolean's reforms and people were equal no matter how well off you were. Slavery was abolished in the French colonies, evidence of his enlightened principles of humanity and equality. As a despot he naturally wanted to help mankind, and therefore he liberated other people on his conquering campaigns to free them to enlightened principles as well. IF he hadn't been an egomaniac and overstretched his armies and campaigns he probably could have successfully kept france together and held his salelite territories. All in all his principles were good and he did progress France to an enlightened state that was more sensitive to the rights and equality of man. Even though it was a bloody part of French History, the Revolution and the Napoleanic period was one of the best things that happened to France to put in on an even playing field republic wise with Britain.

Think back to Spain’s and France’s earlier efforts to establish a universal monarchy. Compare them to Napoleon’s Grand Empire.

Well, obviously neither Spain nor France under the Sun King came as close as Napoleon did to attaining universal monarchy. But, I think one of the big problems for anybody that tries to take over all of Europe is England. Not only did the Brits resist all three of these attempts but also (though just barely) the attempts of Hitler during the 20th century. It's almost as if the Island of Britain is just as strong as the island of Europe (well. . . if Asia weren't there at least, even still Europe is a peninsula). I've been thinking about this for the past couple of weeks. This little fighter has remained undefeated throughout history where invasion is concerned. Perhaps the sea is more a barrier than we'd like to imagine. Wasn't one of the reasons for Constantinople's strength was the fact that it was surronded on three sides by water and by one on desert. It's the same deal with the U.S; if we weren't stronger than Mexico, Canada, or the Indians we might've had a lot more trouble maintaining our independence. I mean look at D-Day even with that gigantic operation we barely made it though. The sea is an excellent shooting range for "sitting ducks" like ships and disboarding soldiers. Not to mention the problem of the British Navy which was the best Navy of the world in its day. Considering the Brits were surrounded by water it's no wonder they behaved so effectively in it. It's been hard throughout history for a foreign power to maintain control over a colony that hates it. "you'd have to put a redcoat behind every tree" in the case of the American War for Independence. People (as a whole) aren't things you can just get, they will never all agree to an unwanted rule for long, especially when they have armed forces, unity, and a developed civilization. Infact, perhaps it is the human trait of wanting to be free that prevented universal monarchy from coming to pass. One of the biggest reasons, other than the superiority of the French army, for Napoleon's successful take over of The Continent was the fact that people welcomed the revolutionary ways he brought with him. They were getting something they wanted too (kind of). Had Napoleon been simply a foreign brute like Atilla the Hun or something he probably wouldn't have been so succesful because brute force only lasts for so long and once it's gone a leader has nothing to protect him other than his people's opinion of him. Had Louis and Charles been more well liked (and had had larger more unified armies) perhaps they would have gotten farther in their conquests than they did.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


So I know this isn't exactly a post topic but a comment Rob posted on one of my earlier posts got me thinking. I want to see what everyone thinks about this. Feel free to disagree its an open ended thing. Could Napoleon be blamed for WWII? I know there were many other factors than Hitler involved in WWII so this is mainly going to be focused on the European theatre. Here's what I think. Napoleon tried to unify Europe. He tried to make it all the same, same metric system, same republic, same flag, same customs, same dress, in other words a uniform europe was a better Europe. This is where Nationalism came into play. The different nations began to see the beauty of their old and independent cultures. Thus Germany became more "unified" as the peoples felt a more patriotic emotion towards their homeland. This nationalistic view would be passed on for a few generations until the man we all know as Adolf Hitler was born. He was raised with this pride and loyalty to his beloved nation. When he was a teen he saw the devastation of WWI and when his fellow german brothers needed someone to blame for their pain and suffering, Hitler, as we all know, blamed those foreigners, the "not true germans", the Jews... the story continues on from there. But all I'm saying is that if Hitler had not been raised with such a dedication to his country would he have been compelled to do all he did?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Napoleon: Enlightened or not?

OK, so this is a new post as well as a response to Sam's post and the comments people made on it.
If we define a enlightened despot as a ruler who has absolute power, but also rules with the ideas of the Enlightenment, then Napoleon was enlightened. He applied many of the Enlightenment's ideas while he ruled France. As Elise has already pointed out, he ended feudalism in France, going a step beyond enlightened despots such as Catherine and Frederick the Great. Napoleon supported scientific research and thought it was "the essential, rational foundation of modern knowledge" (pg. 410). Religious toleration was also a part of Napoleon's empire. Perhaps the greatest indicator of Napoleon's enlightenment is his belief that all men are created equal and want the same things. This is exhibited in his "careers open to talent" policy. If I remember correctly, we decided as a class that Joseph II of Austria was our most enlightened despot. He and Napoleon seem to have reformed the same things in their respective countries i.e. abolishing feudalism and religious toleration. To me, it seems that Napoleon's greatest mistake was the fact that he overreached himself. His ideas were good ones, but as Sam has already said, he tried to apply them everywhere using his military. Had he limited himself to France, he would have stayed in power much longer. Our book states that Napoleon: "carried over the rationalist and universalist outlook of the Age of Enlightenment" (pg. 406), "spoke endlessly of the enlightenment of the age" (pg. 410), and "may be thought of as the last and most eminent of the enlightened despots" (pg. 389).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lasting Legacies

The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire left many lasting legacies. It showed how the new Republic enabled a nation to exercise power more effectively than the traditional monarchy. Also it gave the modern world new methods of political organization and authoritarian rule. But most importantly, it left the legacy of nationalism. Without the Frenchman's national loyalty and patriotism Napoleon's army would not have been nearly as successful. Not only that but it proved to all the other nations what can be accomplished when a military force has something they're willing to die for... as opposed to the uneagerness of an army with nothing to fight for. Nationalism is something that the U.S. has always had since the formation of our beloved country but keep in mind that in the German melting pot of different cultures and provinces they had no idea of a love for the state. Thanks to the French Revolution, however, they gained a love for their country that became extremely apparent in WWII and that continues to this day.

Napoleon: Enlightened or not?

There is no doubt that Napoleon was an intelligent man. He was an excellent military leader. Napoleon's fall was that his entire empire was based on military supremacy. As Hanjae said, some countries agreed to French rule for short-term benefit, but the people's loyalty belonged to their own countries, not to Napoleon and the French. Napoleon didn't realize that he couldn't simply use force to keep his empire together. In my opinion Napoleon was not enlightened. His greatest strength was his military, but quite frankly he didn't have very much else going for him.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Rest of Europe vs. France

Coalition after coalition fails and it takes until page 422 (Section 51) for the rest of Europe to get their act together and form a coalition to “restore the balance of power.” (review Section 17 if you don’t remember “balance of power) Besides the invasion of Russia, what else do you think contributed to the formation of this coalition.

From the start, the Napoleonic Empire had a potential to be fragile for its dominance was mostly due to its military power alone. Coalitions, however, kept failing because each state had conflicts among them and was willing to make peace with France for short-term benefits.
The grievances, however, remained and the enforced Continental System mounted the already increasing hostility to the French Empire. Also, ironically, the enlightened ideas that Napoleon had spread boosted the development of nationalism and romanticism.
Therefore, the states were readier than ever to work together by the time Napoleon invaded Russia. Once Napoleon's Grand Army was gone, they finally merged together to defeat the French.