Theme 1: The centralizing of states led to a powerful government which led to the country's success, and if a state failed to properly centralize, it ended up losing power, but if a state became too powerful, others attempted to restore balance to Europe.
Theme 2: Conservatism is usually prevalent in the ruling class, but lower or middle class people attempt and succeed in making liberal reforms for their country to improve their quality of life, but sometimes these liberal reforms would be met with a strong conservative backlash that would overshadow the liberal movement.
30 Years' War
1618 - 1648
The Thirty Years War was the last major war based on religion and it caused influence for war and decision making to shift from religion to political interest most of the time.
English Civil War
1642 - 1651
The English Civil War overthrew the monarchy with a Parliament controlled by Oliver Cromwell, and although the monarchy was restored the following decade, the idea of a country being ruled by parliament only and not a king influenced many following liberal revolutions.
1643 - 1715
Louis XIV was the peak of conservatism in France. He was the perfect representation of conservatism in the ruling class. Unlike other leaders who lost some of their power due to liberals, Louis XIV did extremely well in maintaining his power and policies until after he died.
Peter the Great
1682 - 1725
Peter the Great reformed Russia into a more western country, showing elements of rationality and enlightenment in doing so.
After James II gets replaced by the significant protestant William of Orange, the chance for Catholicism to replace England’s Anglican beliefs is destroyed, which further diminishes the power of the Catholic church.
War of Spanish Succession
1701 - 1714
The War of Spanish Succession caused the Catholic Spanish Habsburgs to be removed from power, narrowing the power of the Habsburgs.
Frederick the Great
1740 - 1786
Frederick the Great was an enlightened absolutist, meaning he used the ideas of rational thought to make decisions, and was the best example of this.
Seven Years' War
1756 - 1763
The Seven Years’ War caused Britain to emerge as the world’s leading colonial power which eventually caused them to be able to industrialize their economy much quicker than in other countries.
Catherine the Great
1762 - 1796
Catherine was an Enlightened Despot, meaning she ruled with the ideas of the Enlightenment rather than simply political interest
1789 - 1799
The French Revolution was one of the first examples of a very liberal group taking over the more conservative government.
First French Republic
1792 - 1804
The French Revolution signaled a strong liberal gain in the form of a republic, which was soon met by a conservative backlash in the form of the Congress of Vienna after Napoleon’s rule.
First French Empire
1804 - 1814
The First French Empire, led by Napoleon, was a major threat to the balance of power in Europe and nearly everyone else attempted to restore balance, which was eventually done and led to the Congress of Vienna.
Collapse of the Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire collapsed after centuries of weakness due to its lack of unification, and came back as soon as it was unified in the form of Germany in 1871.
Klemens von Metternich
1809 - 1848
Metternich opposed liberal attempts at reform in Austria while holding on to conservative values
Congress of Vienna
1814 - 1815
The Congress of Vienna was the pillar of conservative backlash after Napoleon took over France. The gains made by liberals in the previous decades were completely undermined.
Revolutions of 1848
The attempts at radical liberal reform were consistently stopped by conservatives in power.
1853 - 1856
The Crimean War ended up destroying the Concert of Europe created by the Congress of Vienna, as Europe was back to fighting over pieces of land as it was before.
Unification of Italy
Italy, which had previously simply been a geographic area of weak states, was unified into a strong constitutional monarchy under the leadership of Victor Emmanuel
Otto von Bismarck
1862 - 1890
Otto von Bismarck unified the previously weak German Confederation and made it powerful, which many other countries did several centuries ago with similar success.
1870 - 1871
France, under the leadership of Napoleon III, and Prussia, under the leadership of Otto von Bismarck, fought after Bismarck provoked Napoleon into declaring war. The Second French Empire collapsed and Germany became unified as a result, which led to the trends of increased centralization (Germany) and liberal gains in control of government (France).
Previously, many German states had very little power, but after Germany was unified, they suddenly had much more power, and they prosper much more than they did before.
Assassination of Alexander II
The radical attempt to destroy the Russian Autocracy was soon met with a strong conservative backlash in the form of Nicholas II
1906 - 1917
The State Duma was created by Nicholas II to attempt to preserve autocracy in Russia. The dissolving of the Duma if it wasn’t pro-tsar showed the desire for conservatism to stay in power.
Theme 3: Economies became more free and diverse as time goes on, such as the transition from mercantilism to capitalism, and eventually in some places, to socialism.
Theme 4: Western countries replaced agricultural based economy with industrialized economies, which created and solved many problems.
Atlantic Slave trade
1500 - 1750
The Atlantic Slave Trade was a dominant economy until most of Europe replaces it with industrial or capitalist economies.
Dutch Golden Age
1600 - 1700
The Dutch Golden Age was a period where the Low Countries prospered in nearly every way, especially economically, but as other countries centralized and developed better, the non-centralized Netherlands were left behind.
1750 - 1900
The Agricultural Revolution increased productivity of British farms, which led to the availability of more workers and eventually to the Industrial based economy of the 19th century.
1760 - 1840
The Industrial Revolution involved many innovations that caused economies of western nations to change into industrial economies from agricultural economies.
James Watt's Steam Engine
1763 - 1764
The Invention of the steam engine was key in changing European economy industrial.
1772 - 1823
David Ricardo's classical economics system showed inspiration from rationality and helped capitalism develop into nearly all of Europe.
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
The transition from mercantilism to capitalism was brought upon by the classical economic ideas present in Smith’s book.
An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus
The Iron Law of Wages explained in this essay was a key part of classical economics, using rationality to develop new views of economics.
1804 - 1881
Disraeli attempted to undermine liberal reforms by Gladstone with conservative reforms.
Mazinni’s group of republican Italian nationalists fought for an egalitarian society, and although they didn’t achieve their goal, their efforts helped unite Italy.
Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
Karl Marx’s ideas present in the Communist Manifesto inspired many individuals such as Lenin to overthrow their conservative governments and replace it with an egalitarian society.
Emancipation of Russian Serfs
Alexander II of Russia attempted to catch up to the industrializing western Europe by freeing serfs, and even though little changed in the end, the emancipation of serfs in Russia signified a victory for liberals.
1868 - 1894
The liberal reforms to society such as increasing suffrage of British working class made by Gladstone demonstrate how relatively conservative values were replaced with liberal gains.
The Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill
Mill's desire to put women on an equal societal level as men embodies the rationality in making equal class structures.
1870 - 1924
Lenin wanted to turn Russia into a socialistic government with universal suffrage for all classes, embodying Marx’s principles with his liberal gains.
The Paris Commune was an attempt to make an egalitarian self-ruled government in Paris. Although they were defeated quickly, their push for a society without classes contributed to socialist thinkers.
The Reichstag was selected through universal male suffrage, which brought more theoretical power to the lower classes of Germany, even though they had nearly no power.
Public Health Act of 1875
The sanitary problems caused by the Industrial Revolution were diminished after this act passed, highlighting that not all effects of the Industrial Revolution were positive.
Married Women's Property Act
Granting women the right to own property outside of their husband’s influence is a huge liberal gain that chipped away at the relatively conservative laws regarding women’s rights in Britain.
Parliamentary Act of 1911
This act gave more power to the House of Commons, which was based on the normal citizens of England rather than the House of Lords, which was for the upper class.
Equal Franchise Act
The Equal Franchise Act made all English women equal to men in law, as they could now vote at the same age as men, and the liberal's goals of slowly achieving universal suffrage from the conservative government had been achieved.
Theme 5: Old ideas based in superstition and tradition were rejected after rationality from the Enlightenment was applied to several different fields, leading to new philosophies and political policies.
Theme 6: Religion was a key piece of everyone’s life until the 17th and 18th centuries, when religion lost influence, which led to changes such as the unifying factor of a group of people going from religion to nationality or ethnicity.
Theme 7: Catholicism, and royal families with Catholic influence, especially the Habsburgs, lose their power steadily after the protestant reformation, although it does make a comeback in several instances.
1400 - 1600
The Renaissance was a new age of arts and thinking, showing considerable influence from religious sources in the time period.
1450 - 1500
Humanism was inspired by Religion and its focus on individualism led to the creation of many new intellectual theories.
1509 - 1564
Calvin's Protestant ideas, along with Luther's, helped reduce Catholic influence by converting Catholics.
Martin Luther's 95 Theses started the Protestant Reformation, which led to the inevitable decline of the Catholic Church.
Diet of Worms
The unsuccessful attempt to dispel the Protestant Reformation by Catholics shows the reducing power of the church.
On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres
This piece of literature, although not as persuasive as some other scientific works, laid the foundation for the Scientific Revolution and also started to challenge the authority of religion, as Copernicus’s thoughts were completely contradictory to the church’s.
1543 - 1687
The development of the scientific method led to the Enlightenment after being applied to intellectual ideas, which eventually led to nearly all of modern European philosophy.
1545 - 1648
Contrary to previous events, the Catholic church makes a comeback and remains the dominant religion of Europe, although its power would still diminish after this.
Peace of Augsburg
It reduces Catholic influence in the Holy Roman Empire by letting princes choose Lutherism to replace Catholicism
1561 - 1626
Francis Bacon was the champion of Inductive Reasoning, involving using evidence to form rational conclusions.
1588 - 1679
Hobbes applied rationality to the origin of government by claiming that power came from a social contract rather than the traditional thought of God-given power.
1596 - 1650
A pioneer of Deductive Reasoning, Decartes certainly used rationality when creating his thought process of using rational ideas to get rational facts.
Edict of Nantes
The Edict of Nantes of Henry IV reduced the power of the Catholic church even further, replacing it with protestant power even though Catholicism remains dominant.
1600 - 1750
Another comeback of Catholicism, Baroque Art showed that Catholicism and religion in general were, although weakened, still powerful forces
The Starry Messenger by Galileo
Galileo's publishment of his work started the Scientific Revolution, which started a new age where facts and rationality meant more than superstition and tradition.
1632 - 1704
A Social Contract Theorist, Locke rejected the traditional claim that ruler’s power came from God and also embodied a more optimistic view that was characteristic of the Enlightenment.
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes
Louis XIV strengthened the power of the Catholic church by not allowing Huguenots to practice as freely, which is one of the few examples Catholicism makes a comeback.
The pinnacle of the Scientific Revolution, Principia completed an era of scientific study and Isaac Newton explained his studies extremely thoroughly using empirical evidence as rational backing.
1694 - 1778
Voltaire based his philosophy on reason instead of superstition and tradition, and his influence further reduced the religious powers of the government.
1700 - 1800
The Enlightenment involved rationality being applied to many different ideas, and this affected how philosophy developed for the rest of European history
Jean Jacques Rousseau
1712 - 1778
Rousseau was a Philosophe who rejected irrationality and tradition and embraced the ideas of the Enlightenment, and based his philosophy around rationality.
1771 - 1858
Inspired by beliefs from the French Revolution, and therefore Enlightenment, Owen was a founder of Utopian Socialism with emphasized rationality