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Ideas That Shaped The Modern World History Essay


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We studied six revolutions during our course, the scientific revolution, the English revolution, the glorious revolution, the American revolution, the French revolution and the industrial revolution. Out of the six I support two, the scientific revolution and the industrial revolution, because they were more beneficial to society.

Many Historians disagree with the idea that the scientific and the industrial revolution are actually revolutions, since they believe that a revolution is "a fundamental change in political organization; especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed"(1). However, others believe that a revolution is not only that but also "a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something, a change in use or preference especially in technology"(1).  According to the second group of historians the scientific and the industrial revolution would be considered revolutions because on both there was a change in the use of technology and in the ideas and ways of thinking.

Unlike the peaceful glorious, scientific and industrial revolutions, the other three revolutions resulted in many fatalities and chaos in the European Counties. The British Revolution was when, as stated by the famous historian Rhinehart, Oliver Cromwell "the rising puritan leader, organized his troops into a powerful army that had great success against the royalists"(2) which lead him to overthrow the king and become England`s Dictator during a period known as the Protectorate, in the process many people from both parties were killed, England entered a civil war and the King was beheaded. The American Revolution was when the Americans fought to become independent from England, during the many wars between the two countries more than 7,200 American soldiers and 10,000 British Soldiers died (5). The French Revolution was when the French removed King Louis XVI from power and became a republic, later a dictatorship with Lafayette as the leader, there were many deaths during the French revolution, including the murder of the King, the Queen and Lafayette.

The scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution developed technologies and created new ideas, leading to cause progress in European societies. The scientific revolution was a "series of changes in the structure of European thought itself"(3) during the fifteenth century throughout the eighteenth century. Many advances in technologies occurred during the Scientific Revolution like the discovery of electricity when "In 1672, Otto von Guericke, was the first human to knowingly generate electricity using a machine"(3), advance in medicine with the increase of knowledge of anatomy, microscopic anatomy, the circulation of blood, inoculation, vaccination and pathology, and advance in math and chemistry through the alchemists and mathematicians (3). The industrial revolution was a "crucial turning point in history"(4), as said by the notorious historian Ellis, it started in England during 1750-1850. There were many technological improvements during the Industrial Revolution, like the powered railroads, water wheels and steam engines to power machines, the Dynamo and many other inventions (4). The improvements made during both revolutions were beneficial to the citizens because they facilitated lives, for example the improvement in medicine during the scientific revolution led to better treatments and less deaths due to diseases, the creation of the railroads during the industrial revolution made it easier and quicker for people to travel to other places, etc.

In conclusion, I support the Scientific and the Industrial Revolution because they were peaceful and they improved European societies through the discoveries of new technologies. Those revolutions managed to improve people`s lives through ideas, not war, which is exactly how a true revolution is supposed to be.

Word count: 593

Works Cited for Essay 1:

"Revolution - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 10 May 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/revolution>.

World History: People and Nations. Austin, TX: Holt, Rhinehart, and Winston. 2000. pg. 693-716

Hooker, Richard. "The Scientific Revolution." Washington State University - Pullman, Washington. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/ENLIGHT/SCIREV.HTM>.

Ellis, Elisabeth and Anthony Esler.  World History: Connections to Today.  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice-Hall, Inc.  1999.  Print

Johnson, Paul. A History of the American People. London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997. Print.

Category 1

Political Spectrum

Where are you on the political spectrum in 2011? Explain


The political spectrum is "a way of modeling different political positions by placing them upon one or more geometric axes symbolizing independent political dimensions" (2). As you can see from the picture, on the far left are the radicals and on the far right are the reactionaries. The radicals are the group of people who want to change the government into something new, and they are so extreme they could act against the law to accomplish their desires. The Liberals want the government to change into something new, but they wouldn't break the law to achieve their goal. The moderates wish for the government to stay the same. The conservatives want the government to change into a type of government that already existed in the past without breaking the law. The reactionaries want the government to go back to a type of government that already existed, but they don't care if they break the law to attain their goals.

The political spectrum was created during the French Revolution because of the way the Jacobin members of the National Convention sat during meetings (3). The convention was split into three groups, the Girondists, the Mountains and the plains (3). The Girondists sat on the far right corner, the plains in the middle and the Mountains in the far left (3).

In 2011 I would be in the conservative part of the political spectrum. I am not an extremist to be in one of the far edges as a liberal or a reactionary, but I'm not so content with the government of Brazil nowadays to just be a moderate. I like that Brazil has a republic as its government, but we are more of a neoliberal country, "a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that stresses the efficiency of private enterprise", (4), I believe that it would be more beneficial if we were to be a Welfare State , "government where the state plays the primary role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens", (5) like the European Countries used to be in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In a Welfare State Country the government is responsible to provide the citizens with their rights and necessities for a good life. The state became responsible for providing the welfare of the citizens because the workers fought for their rights and pressured the government so that it would become responsible. That is why in Europe the countries have quality public transportations, effective public schools, fair taxes, good public health facilities, high minimum salary, and many other rights that the workers are given, while here in Brazil people just accept the government`s rules, and get used to the bad conditions of our transportations and public schools. Since In Europe the State is the provider for the basic needs of the people and in Brazil the provider is the individual, in Europe the majority of the people are in the middle-class, and here in Brazil, the majority of the people are in the lower classes. Instead of valuing the unity of the workers, Brazilians value individuality, each man for themselves. Now a days it is all about the money, you only care if you get rich, if you become a CEO, you spend so much time striving to achieve your dreams, that you don't have time to fight for everybody`s rights, so you accept the lack of action from the state because you are used to individuality where you fight for yourself. It is not just Brazil, the whole world is adopting the Neo-liberalist government, the whole world is focusing on the individual.

In conclusion, nowadays, I would be a conservative according to the political spectrum. I wish that Brazil`s government could go back to what the government used to be in Europe in the last century, and still is in some countries like Norway and Denmark(5), but I wouldn't break the law to fulfill my desire.

Word count: 665

Works Cited for Essay 2:

Political Spectrum. Photograph. Kingsource55. Web. 09 May 2011. <http://kingsource55.com/pagotus/images/spectrum.jpg>.

"Political Spectrum -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 07 May 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1384947/politicalspectrum>.

World History: People and Nations. Austin, TX: Holt, Rhinehart, and Winston. 2000. pg. 693-716

"Neoliberalism - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neoliberalism>.

"Welfare State - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary."

Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/welfarestate>.

Category 2


What causes Progress in Nations?


Progress is "a gradual betterment; especially: the progressive development of humankind."(1) Therefore progress in Nations is when a country progresses or has a development. What causes progress in nations are the creations of new technologies and sciences that are helpful to the citizens of a country. England during the industrial Revolution is a great example because during that time period there were many technological breakthroughs that were extremely beneficial to the English citizens, which led the country to develop.

The industrial Revolution occurred in England during the 18th and 19th centuries (3), it was when, as said by the astounding historian Ellis, "production shifted from simple hand tools to complex machines"(3). During that time many new technologies were invented, perhaps even the most important of all, the steam engine. It was invented in 1712 by Thomas Newcomen, and it was powered by coal (3). This was an important invention, because the steam engine was what provided power for the revolution, leading to the factory system. This invention led to progress because it powered many factories that would lead to more jobs and create a shift from the field workforce to the industry workforce, which is highly beneficial to society because it is a development.

The steam engine led to the creation of steam railroads, as the above picture, from the outstanding Stanford Database, portrays. On September 15, 1830 Liverpool &Manchester, the first steam-operated public railway was opened (3). With the creation of railroads, transportation was easier and trips to other places were quicker. During that time period there was also the invention of the steam boat, which allowed people to make quicker voyages by sea. This meant that communications between countries were facilitated because it would now take less time for information to travel to other countries. Leading to progress because communications between nations had improved and transportation was facilitated.

Another important invention from the time period was the spinning mule. It was a "spinning device (…) which made it possible to spin many threads at one time and also produce strong cotton threads" (3). This device was important because with this development in weaving, it took less time and less effort to sow a piece of clothing, facilitating the work of many weavers. This invention leads to progress because it was an improvement in the sowing techniques used.

The Dynamo was also an important invention from the Industrial Revolution. It is an "electric generator that worked by rotating a coil of wire between the poles of a magnet, which created an electric current"(3). This was an important invention because it generates electricity, which led other inventions to be made where electricity would be used as a power source. Because of the Dynamo the English now had a new type of power source that was more effective then coal because you didn't need to keep adding coal to the furnace every time, England was progressing.

In conclusion progress in nations is when a nation evolves over time. What causes progress in countries are the new technologies and inventions of the time periods. The industrial revolution is a wonderful example of that because it was a period in England in which many new inventions, that were highly beneficial to society since it led to the development of the country, were created.

Word count: 550

Works Cited for Essay 3:

"Progress - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary."

Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neoliberalism>.

Railroads. Photograph. Stanford University. Web. 11 May 2011. <http://www.stanford.edu/dept/EHS/prod/general/railroad_picture.html>.

Ellis, Elisabeth and Anthony Esler.  World History: Connections to Today.  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice-Hall, Inc.  1999.  Print

Category 1


Which Enlightenment ideas do you not agree with? Why?

The enlightenment was "a philosophic movement of the 18th century marked by a rejection of traditional social, religious, and political ideas and an emphasis on rationalism"(1). During the Enlightenment period, many philosophes published their works to express their ideas; the most famous are Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesquieu and others. Their ideas are pretty similar, they all talk about a state of nature, a social contract and society; however each of them has a specific belief that sets them apart. Rousseau believes that the state of nature is a peaceful place where men are just and that society is corruptive, Locke believes that the law is what secures property, Montesquieu believes in the separation of the states, etc. From all of the philosophes and their ideas the one I do not agree with is Hobbes because he believes in an absolute sovereignty.

Thomas Hobbes was a British philosopher and political theorist, he was born on the year 1588 and died on the year 1679 (3). He was alive during the English Civil war therefore he witnessed the agonies of the war and the execution of Charles in 1649 (3). This influenced him to believe that absolutism was "the most desirable and logical form of government"(3).

He believes that the state of nature is a vile place in which no property is secure because "every man is enemy to every man"(2), and the only way to escape it is to sign a will in which they submit "their wills, every one of their wills, into his will, and their judgments into his judgment"(2) .He believes that to join society people should give their conscience to the sovereign. This is inhumane. The people renounce all of their judgment and power to one person, this one person can rule all of the people and force them to do whatever he pleases. This is not the only way to join society; people can get together as equals and create a republic, not a tyranny. The best form of government is clearly a republic or a separation of powers as Montesquieu had proposed. In a republic the power doesn't rely on only one person, but in three different groups, the executive, the legislative and the judicial, and each group has its role. The judicial judges the punishments for crimes, the legislative creates laws to protect property and natural rights of humans and the executive executes the laws. To make it even fairer, the citizens vote on who will represent the executive power. There is no government more just and fair than a republic.

He also believes that the best way to control people is through fear, by terrorizing them into being afraid of not obeying the ruler. However fear is not the most effective way to assure the citizens follow the rules, justice and education is. If you educate the citizens and teach them the difference between right and wrong they will learn and they will obey the laws. They don't need to be terrorized by a tyrant so that they will learn to follow the rules.

In conclusion I do not agree with Thomas Hobbes` ideas because he believes in an absolute sovereign, while an absolute sovereignty strips away the rights and will of the people. A republic is a much fairer government because everyone has equal rights and the power is not just concentrated in one person.

Sources Cited for essay 4:

"Enlightenment - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 13 May 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enlightenment?show=0>.

"The Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes." Oregon State University. Web. 13 May 2011. <http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/hobbes/leviathan-c.html>.

Perry, Marvin.  Sources of the Western Tradition: Vol. II. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.  3rd ed.  1995.

Category 2


To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: The exercise of absolute power by a ruler is the key to a strong state?

Absolute power is a "political system governed by a single individual"(1), the most common examples of absolute powers are monarchies and dictatorships. A strong state is a stable country with a good economy and strong military. I agree that absolute power is the key to a strong state in the sense that it usually has a good economy and a strong military; however it is not usually stable.

History has shown us many times on the past that countries that adopts absolute power as its government ends up having rebellions, which are not stable. The first example is England, whose government was an absolute Monarchy, in 1641 with the Irish rebellion and later in 1645 with Cromwell and his army overthrowing king Charles(2). The second example is France, another absolute monarchy, with the French Revolution in 1688. As the great historian McKay said: "the belief that representative institutions could defend their liberty and interests appealed powerfully to the well-educated (…) bourgeoisie"(3), which led them to kill king Louis the 16th and declare a republic. The third example is when the French killed Robespierre after he became a dictator, by rising to power together with the committee of public safety during the reign of terror (3).

Even though absolute power governments are not very stable, they do usually posses or at least try to posses good economies. For example, while Robespierre was the dictator, he tried to raise the French economy by decreeing the maximum allowable prices for products instead of allowing supply and demand to determine them, demanding that the only bread served would be the bread of equality (a brown bread made with a mixture of all available flours), and making everybody work producing arms and munitions for the war (3). With these actions, Robespierre was successful at making the French economy a little better after the revolution completely destroyed it. This proves that absolute governments strive to have good economies, which are one of the keys for a strong state.

Absolute powers also have strong military since the sovereign rules the estate and the military. An example for this would also be Robespierre, he created a massive army that defeated Holland, Britain and Spain. He did that by forcing "all unmarried young men" to be drafted, swelling "to one million men in fourteen armies"(3), creating the biggest army ever seen in European history. Combining the astounding number of soldiers, with the "young impetuous generals"(3), and also with the new sense of nationalism adopted by the French through the revolution and the "la Marseillase" (song that narrates the victorious revolution, now a days known as the French Anthem), Robespierre crated a victorious army. This proves that an absolute government has strong armies, which is one of the keys for a strong state.

In conclusion, a, absolute power is the key to a strong state when taking into consideration the economy and the military. However it lacks stability since it creates many rebellions from people who are unhappy with the absolutist government.

Word count: 502

Sources for essay 5:

"Absolute Power - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 13 May 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolutepowert?show=0>.

World History: People and Nations. Austin, TX: Holt, Rhinehart, and Winston. 2000. pg. 693-716

McKay, John P., Bennet D. Hill, and John Buckler. A History of Western Society. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. 5th ed. 1995.

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