Edward Raymond Turner.

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previously stationed in the various outlying parts were
gradually withdrawn from those communities in which
white men predominated, at the same time that the
government of these communities was being transferred
to the control of their inhabitants. A beginning had been
made by the Canada Government Act of 1840; and this
was merely the first stage in a process by which the British
Empire was to be gradually transformed in part from an

The govern-
ment con-
trolled by
tives elected

The British




Evil condi-
tions in

imperial organization of the old type into a group of self-
governing dominions bound together by common heritage
and mutual attachment.

During the period after the fall of Napoleon, old laws
passed for discrimination or persecution had been re-
moved, and presently efforts were made to better the lot
of the mass of the people. The Church of England had
been established as part of the government in the sixteenth
century, and thereafter many discriminations were made
against Roman Catholics and Protestants not adhering to
the Anglican Church. Moreover, the government had
during the eighteenth century come substantially under
the control of the great aristocrats and property owners.
But in 1828 and 1829 respectively were repealed the laws
against Dissenters and Roman Catholics, which had de-
barred them from many of the rights of citizens. The
passing of the electoral reform laws widened the electorate
and gave a share of the government first to the middle
class then to a portion of the lower class. Enlarged
power of the lower class together with the increasing
humanitarianism of the time led to the passing in 1833 and
1844 of laws to regulate hours of labor for women and
children, while beginning with 1824 a series of laws was
passed legalizing the trade unions of workers, formerly
forbidden. For some time there was great discontent
among the poorer people, the Chartists demanding more
rapid reform and much more thorough change, but after
1848 this died out very largely. In 1846 the so-called
Corn Laws had been repealed, thereby allowing the im-
portation of cheap food for the masses. Then still greater
industrial prosperity developed. In 1870 Britain was first
in commerce and first in industry and wealth.

In the splendid prosperity and power of Great Britain,
Ireland, the other part of the United Kingdom, had almost
no share, though industrialism had been successfully
developed in the northeastern portion among the British



immigrants in Ulster. In the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries Ireland had finally been conquered by England,
the land had been confiscated, and the Celtic people had
been dispossessed. During the eighteenth century they
bad been subjected to discriminations which debarred
most of them from almost all of a citizen's rights. The
great majority of them lived as poverty-stricken ten-
ants on the estates of landlords. In 1793, however, Irish
Catholics were allowed to vote in elections, and in 1829
they, along with Catholics in Great Britain, were given
political equality with Protestants. Forty years later
the Irish Church, a Protestant Church imposed by the
government upon an unwilling Catholic population, was
abolished, and in 1870, indeed, a series of laws was begun
by which in course of time the economic condition of the
peasants would be immensely improved. Actually, how-
ever, by 1870, the condition of these people had not been
greatly bettered. Since the beginning of the century the
population, as is often the case, had been increasing very
rapidly in the midst of ignorance, misery, and scanty living.
Agriculture was the sole support of the peasants, who held
the little patches of ground which they worked by paying
rack-rents to English landlords. Frequently they suffered
hunger and were near to starvation. In 1846-9 a great
famine, followed by pestilence, swept away a large part
of the population, after which there began an exodus
of the surviving people to other lands, especially to the
United States. The population, which had increased from
5,000,000 at the beginning of the century to 8,000,000 by
1846, was now rapidly declining, as emigrants year by
year were leaving their home to carry unquenchable hatred
of Britain to other countries all over the world. Just
before 1870 the Fenians, an Irish revolutionary society,
supported by Irishmen in America, were attempting to
get independence for Ireland by creating a reign of terror
in Ireland and in England,

The con-
quest of

The Great



Great Brit- Irishmen in the United States had long been doing,

ainandthe yv'hat they afterward continued to do, as much as they
could to embitter relations between Britain and the
United States. These relations, which had not been good,
were now nevertheless improving. In 1783, following
the American Revolutionary War, the principal English
colonies on the mainland of North America had won in-
dependence. Viewed in larger aspect now this struggle
appears as one of the few civil wars among the English-
speaking people. In the years 1641-1660 there had been
civil war in England itself, but after great temporary
upheaval this at last came to an end. In the years 1775-
1783 there was conflict between the two principal parts
of the English-speaking people on the two sides of the
Atlantic Ocean. This resulted in the secession of the
American commonwealths and the permanent division
of the English-speaking people into two principal separate
parts. From 1861 to 1865 there was a struggle among
the English-speaking people in the United States, but
after the longest and most terrible war since Napoleon's
time, the South, which had attempted to establish its
separation and independence, was forcibly brought back
and reunited in the United States. All during the period
since the adoption of the American Constitution (1787-9),
and indeed little interrupted by the conflict of the Civil
War, the young nation had gone forward with giant
strides to greater prosperity and power, until now it held
promise of being, what it was destined to become in an-
other fifty years, the wealthiest and most important group
of civilized people in the world. Already by 1870 its
population exceeded that of the United Kingdom.
The two Between Britain and the United States there had long

great been much rancor and ill-feeling, though since 1814 never

branches of ^^^ armed conflict. Memories of the Revolutionary War
speaking^ ' ^nd the War of 1812 caused most Americans to think of the
people British as oppressors whose yoke had been cast off, at the

5. EUE

: IN 1870


same time that they despised them as su})jeets of a king,
while they boasted that they hved in a re[)ul)lic as free
men. On the other hand, EngHshmen thought of Ameri-
cans as ungrateful colonists, who would hear none of the
burdens of the British Empire, and who had ungratefully
cast off their allegiance as soon as they could; and they
looked down upon them as rough and inferior people in a
new, rude country. All disputes between the two nations
were arranged peaceably, however, after 1814, and slowly
relations became better. The great crisis had just been
reached during the Civil War, when] the British Govern-
ment recognized the Confederacy as a belligerent, sym-
pathizing with its cause and hoping that it would win
independence. Confederate privateers fitted out in Eng-
land swept American commerce from the seas, arousing
great bitterness in the North against England. Never-
theless, a great part of the middle and lower classes in
Britain earnestly hoped that the North would win, and
that negro slavery would be abolished. The turning-
point came when the war ended in 1865 with the complete
triumph of the North, and when two years later the Elec-
toral Reform Law of 18G7 made the Government of the
United Kingdom much more of a government by its people
than before. Gradually in spirit and character the
governments of Britain and the United States came much
closer together. The American Government was now
asking that England pay for the damage done by the
Southern privateers fitted out in English ports, and the
dispute about this caused relations to be strained and
unpleasant; but the Alabama Claims were about to be
adjusted peaceably a little later (1871-2), by treaty and
arbitration, perhaps the most important example of
such settlement of a difference between two great nations
up to that time.

In 1870 the leading nation on the Continent of Europe
was France, who had recovered the position she had so




The two
come closer

The position
of France



The leading

and down-

of strength

long held as the principal Continental state. During the
eighteenth century, despite much failure and incompetent
administration, she had held this position generally, be-
cause she contained twice as many energetic and highly
civilized people as any other well-organized state then.
During all this time the French were leaders in European
civilization; their language was everywhere known or
used by educated people; their styles, their taste, their
manners were universally imitated, while the ideas of
their philosophers and writers about social and economic
matters were studied with enthusiasm in every quarter.

In France it was that the great Revolution began, which
in the western half of Europe swept away the relics of the
feudal system, bringing many civil and social inequahties
to an end. Thence spread out over neighboring lands
ideas about political equality and the rights of man. There
was built up the stupendous power of Napoleon. For
some years at the beginning of the century France had
been the center of the greatest empire seen for ages, and
from Paris edicts had gone forth to be obeyed from War-
saw unto Madrid. Then came the collapse of the Napo-
leonic Empire, and with it, for some time, the end of the
leadership of France. The French emissary, Talleyrand,
was soon admitted to the inner circle of the small group of
great men who decided the destinies of Europe at Vienna,
but the settlement of 1814-15 was essentially a reversal
of much of what France had accomplished in the past
generation. When Napoleon staked all on a final contest
in 1813-14, France lost the "natural frontiers," which the
Revolutionary armies had won, and which carried her
boundary to the Rhine. These frontiers, perhaps, she
might have retained permanently had Napoleon been
wiUing to compromise before it was too late.

After Waterloo for a generation or more France was
remembered as a danger to the other nations and a dis-
turber of the peace of Europe; and for some time she was


regarded with as much suspicion as defeated Germany
was a hundred years later. During' this time any attempt
to alter the territorial arrangements made at \'ienna,
perhaps even the reestablishing of a republic in France,
would almost certainly have brought the French into
conflict with another European coalition. It was the
principal service of the French kings who reigned from
1814 to 1848 that they kept the peace, gradually allayed
the suspicion of their neighbors, and gave the country time
to recover from the exhaustion which the years preceding
had entailed. In 1848 a series of revolutions shook the
power of the conservative statesmen who had been
standing guard since Napoleon went to St. Helena, and
gradually the situation altered. A second republic was
established in France in 1848, succeeded by a second em-
pire, under the nephew of the great Napoleon, in 1852.
Already the French people, because of the inexhaustible
fertility of their soil, because of a rising industrialism,
and most of all as a result of their own energy and amazing
recuperative power, had fully recovered their strength.
The emperor. Napoleon III, parti}' to strengthen his own
position, soon embarked upon an ambitious poHcy in
foreign relations, and soon, with Britain largely holding
aloof from European affairs, France regained her old
position as leader among the European nations. In 1854
France, along with Great Britain and afterward Pied-
mont, assisted the Turks against the Russians in the Cri-
mean War; and the Congress which followed this struggle
was held at Paris to make the treaty which brought the
conflict to an end. In 1859 Napoleon assisted the Ruman-
ians to unite. That same year he helped the Italians to
shake off Austria's yoke, thus paving the way for Italian
unity also.

Thereafter, however, French foreign policy was in-
creasingly unsuccessful, notably in the attempt to control
Mexico and in efforts to extend the French frontier

with much

The Second

France and






Political and
social prog-


toward the Rhine. By 1870 Napoleon, baffled in all his
recent undertakings, had brought France to the point
where she was regarded with suspicion by most of the
European powers, and by some of them was heartily dis-
liked. A dangerous discord between the French Empire
and the new North German Confederation was increasing
each year. And by 1870 many people, realizing that
Frenchmen viewed with hostility the rise of a new, strong,
united Germany at their borders, and that a multitude of
Germans did not believe their national unity could be
completed until accounts had been settled with France,
considered that war between the two was only a matter
of time.

In France as in Great Britain there had been much
political and social progress. After the too-rapid changes
of the Revolution reaction had come first under Na-
poleon I, when a military despotism was established,
afterward under the Bourbons (1814-30). But even with
the Restoration in 1814 a constitutional government,
modelled on that of England, had been established, and
in the succeeding period this government was made
more liberal and the franchise was extended. Political
progress had recently been rapid, and in 1870 ministerial
government had been established almost as it existed in
England. In France, as across the Channel, the Indus-
trial Revolution had brought great changes and large
industrial ex^pansion. In the French cities, as in the
English, there had been many new baffling problems and
much discontent among industrial workers. Socialism,
which had its roots back before Revolutionary times,
had developed much more in France than in England, and
bodies of the workers awaited their opportunity to over-
throw the existing system. The period of the Terror in
1793-4 had seen efforts of radicals to bring to pass a
change in the interests of the masses of the French people.
In 1848, during a political crisis, the workingmen of Paris


under socialist leaders had attempted to brin^ about
sweeping reforms, and, when thwarted, rose in a terrible
revolt. In 1870 no such danger seemed imminent, but in
the very next year, after the disastrous defeat in war with
the Germans, there was to be a similar revolt in the Com-
mune of Paris. Nevertheless, this radicalism was con-
fined to a number comparatively small. Since the Revo-
lution the rulers of France had been the bourgeoisie.
Beyond them the great mass of the people, engaged in agri-
culture, were content with their lot, since the lands of the
Church and the nobles had been sold to them in small
holdings. They now formed with the bourgeoisie the great
foundation of French institutions.

By 1870 central Europe had undergone such great
transformation that its arrangement was altogether dif-
ferent from what it had been two generations, even one
generation, earlier. At the beginning of the nineteenth
century the Germanic people, and many Slavs whom once
they had conquered, were grouped together in three
hundred and thirty divisions, most of them quite small,
some of respectable size, and two, Austria and Prussia,
large and important European states. Very loosely they
were then bound together in the so-called Holy Roman
Empire, at the head of which was an emperor, the ruler
of the Hapsburg or Austrian dominions. This Empire
was actually not bound together by any strong or effec-
tively organized government, so that the various parts
acted much as they pleased, sometimes in unison, some-
times siding with foreign enemies against other members
of the Reich.

In 1806, when Napoleon was rearranging central
Europe as seemed to him best, the venerable Holy Roman
Empire came to an end, its Kaiser taking now the title
of emperor of Austria, the dominions directly subject to
his rule, while the various German states were not any
longer bound together in any common organization.

in France


Holy Roman
Empire and



The Ger-
manic Con-


toward real

After the downfall of Napoleon, however, the Congress of
Vienna erected the Germanic Confederation, much like
the old Empire which had disappeared, since the various
states were only loosely bound together as before, and
since the Diet, or general assembly, which was provided,
had no power to enforce its decisions. The spirit of na-
tionality rising then in central Europe, and stronger feeling
of common possession of German language and culture,
made many Germans yearn for a real union of the various
German states into a closely united federation or one
great national state. To this, however, Metternich and
other leading statesmen were opposed. Austria, the most
powerful of the states in question, was resolved that it
should not come to pass, since, in any real and strong
union of the German states, Austria, now the leader, would
almost certainly lose her position of leadership, for the
greater part of her extended dominions was peopled
not by Germans but by subject Magyars, Rumans, and
Slavs. Nevertheless, much had really been accomplished
toward attaining the unity for which German patriots
were yearning. "Germany" was not so divided as before
Napoleon's time. When his work was done there re-
mained only thirty-eight German states, several of them
of considerable size.

During the generation which followed 1815 little
progress seemed to be made. The system of Metternich
prevailed, and his system was opposed to German unity
and to any liberal constitutional progress. Gradually,
however, the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in
central Europe and the changing times undermined his
power, until in 1848 a series of revolutions brought his
regime to an end. Uprisings of the people in Prussia,
in Austria, in Hungary, and in other states, yielded reform
and constitutions temporarily, and the most ardent Ger-
man liberals even believed for the moment that the time
had come when it was possible to establish a united


German nation at last. At Frankfort a parliament
assembled to try to bring this about, but reaction soon
undid the work which the revolutions had accomplished,
and the work of the Parliament came to nothing. By
1850 the loose and ineffective Germanic Confederation
was restored.

Meanwhile, to a great extent unnoticed then, economic
ties were binding large parts of Germany together. Be-
tween 1818 and 1842, excepting Austria and Hanover, all
of the German states joined a customs union, the Zoll-
verein. At the head of the antiquated Germanic Con-
federation was Austria, apparently still the most powerful
of all the members; but the Zollverein was headed by
Prussia, whose strength was constantly increasing, and
whom more and more the smaller German states were
beginning to regard as their leader. For some time she
had been steadily building up her military power, and now
she prepared to dispute with Austria for the leadership
in Germany. Relations between the two steadily became
worse, and were designedly made worse by the great
Prussian leader, Bismarck, until the matter came to issue
in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. In this conflict the
Prussians had just won complete triumph; they had an-
nexed much neighboring German territory to their pos-
sessions, dissolved the old Germanic Confederation, ex-
pelled Austria from any association with the other Ger-
man states, and out of the German states north of the
river Main they had formed the new, powerful North
German Confederation (1867). Thus was brought to
pass what German patriots and statesmen had been dream-
ing of for ages, a Germany strong' and united. The work
was not yet complete, but Bismarck was already plan-
ning to bring the south German states into a larger Ger-
man union. Actually the appearance of this new, strong
German state in the midst of the older European states
had disturbed the older balance of power, and equilibrium

union under

The Nord-
Bund, 1867



Austria and


of the



had not yet been adjusted. In after times it seemed a
pity that German unity had not been brought about
peaceably, if that were possible, by the x-epublicans and
liberals of Germany in 1848; for what had so far been
achieved had largely been completed by Bismarck's genius
and guile, and wrought by Prussian military might.

In 1870 what had been the Austrian Empire had re-
cently become the Empire of Austria and the Kingdom
of Hungary united by a compromise, the Ausgleich, as
the Dual Monarchy (1867). In the Middle Ages, when
the Germans were pushing eastward and southward at
the expense of the Slavs, one of the principal border com-
munities had been the East Mark (eastern frontier state),
later known as the East Kingdom, Oesterreich, Austria.
In course of time its rulers, the Hapsburgs, by fortunate
marriages, by skilful diplomacy, and in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries by successful wars against the
waning power of the Turk, had enlarged their dominions,
until the great majority of the people subject to their
rule were not Germans but Magyars and Southern Slavs.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century Austria and
Hungary were the two principal parts of the Hapsburg
dominions. In Austria the principal element of the
population was the Germans, who were the ruling class,
and most powerful and wealthy; but the majority of the
inhabitants were the Czechs (West Slavs) of Bohemia and
Moravia, the Poles (West Slavs) of Galicia, and the South
Slavs of the country along the east shore of the Adriatic
and inward. In Hungary the principal element of the
population was the Magyars, who had once made the
Kingdom of Hungary; but they were less than half of
the entire population, the remaining inhabitants being
the South Slavs of Croatia-Slavonia, and the Rumanians
of Transylvania. Thus, Austria with Hungary had been
a German state for the most part only because it was
governed by Germans, and it was owing to the heteroge-


neity of its population and its non-Germanic character
that during the first half of the nineteenth century Aus-
tria gradually seemed less and less the natural leader of
the German states. During the Revolution of 1818 the
various subject peoples hoped they might win their free-
dom; and for a while it looked as though Hungary would
obtain virtual independence; hut in llicend the Austrians,
with the help of Russia, had subdued tliem all, and it
seemed that Hapsburg power was once more completely

Actually, however, the subject peoples, especially tlie
Magyars, were burning with a sense of their own national-
ity, and waiting for another opportunity to throw off the
yoke. Then Austria was unsuccessful in her foreign rela-
tions, being defeated by France in 18o9, and presently
in 1866, suffering disastrous defeat at the hands of the
Prussians. In the midst of this failure abroad and sullen
discontent at home it was necessary to make some new ar-
rangement. Accordingly, in 1867, by the Ausgleich, the
Austrians came to a good understanding with the most
powerful of the discontented peoples, the Magyars. The
Dual Monarchy now established was to be a union of an
Austria and a Hungary, substantially equal; with the

Online LibraryEdward Raymond TurnerEurope since 1870 → online text (page 9 of 49)