V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > B. The French Revolution and Europe, 1789–1914
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
B. The French Revolution and Europe, 1789–1914
1. Overview
 
Periodization. Basic trends in Europe's modern history began in the 1780s with the first phase of the Industrial Revolution in Britain and with the political and social revolution of 1789 in France. The advent of World War I in 1914 drew this tumultuous modern period to a close.  1
During the years 1789–1815, Europe was dominated by the French Revolution and related reform movements elsewhere, culminating in several revolutionary wars and the Napoleonic Wars. During the next period, 1815–48, efforts to return to more conservative politics were progressively undermined by the political movements and doctrines tossed up by the French Revolution (liberalism, radicalism, nationalism, and early socialism) and by social unrest provoked by increasing commercialization and the beginning phases of industrialization. This period culminated in the widespread revolutions of 1848–49. These revolutions produced important changes, but their failures also altered European politics, as both conservatives and liberals began to develop new tactics. Between 1850 and 1914, European industrialization advanced, with a growing array of social and cultural, as well as economic, effects. Debates about constitutional structure began to be resolved, but pressures for new government policies to address social issues increased. Diplomacy and war assumed more importance than they had during 1815–48, as governments put their new industrially produced weaponry to use and sought in diplomacy a reduction of political disputes.  2
Regional as well as purely national differences marked Europe during the 19th century. Russia and eastern Europe participated widely in cultural trends and diplomatic engagements, but their political forms and above all their social and economic structures differed markedly from those of western Europe. By 1850, Russia had experienced little significant liberal pressure, while its social structure, predominantly rural, featured divisions between aristocrats and serfs. Russia's early industrialization and growing political turmoil from the 1880s onward thus resembled patterns in western Europe almost a century before, rather than contemporaneous developments. The Balkans formed another region with distinct economic and political issues, while in western Europe, Spain, southern Italy, and Ireland participated only partially in many general trends.  3
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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