Modern History


Figure 1.--The long sweep of Western Civilization with many fits and starts has been toward the development of human rights, the value of the individual, and the rule of law. Modern society and decent living standards began to become possible with the emergnce of free market capitalism and the Industrial Revolution and at the dawn of the 20th Century a bright future beckoned. The horror of World War I spawned terrible totalitarian powers, European Fascism, especially the German NAZIS, Soviet Communism, and Japanese militarism. This threatened what British Prome Minister Winston Churchill called new Dark Age. And it would be Britain and its Commonwealth and the United States by a narrow margin that would defeat the Totalitarian menace and permit the development of a midern system through which millions around the world are emerging from poverty and achieving comfortable fullfilling lives.

Most historians agree that the modern age began about the 16th century. Several events came togethrr at about this time. The Renaissance had fostered profound changes in the outlook of Euopeans. In the East, The Mongols were in eclipse so there was no danger from the Steppe. This allowed the Ottomon Turks to consolidate their power and seize Constaninople (1453) and drive into Europe. In the West, the Spanish completed the Reconquista and the great Voyages of Discovery negan with Columbus' voyage (1452). Ottoman naval powr was broken at Diu (1509), although land armies continued to threatened Vienna for more than a decade. uther launched the Protestant Reformation (1519) leading to more than a century of religious wars. Althiouh small countries, the Netherland invented capitalism and was able to stave off attempts by Spanish and French Catholic absolutists. England also a small power was able to usde capitalism and naval suporenmecy to emerge as a major European power. The Enlightenment under cut the traditionasl foundatioins of Europe (18th century). This was followed by the Industrial and French Revolution. The Industrial Revolution remade Europe in the 19th century and provide Europe the means of projercting power. Sociaslism challenged the foundations of captalism and acqwuired many devotees. European capitalism was buttressed by the rise of America. Several hegemonic powers attempted to supplant the Anglo-American world system (Willhemite Germany, NAZI Germany, Imperial Japan, and finally the Soviert Union). Despite many advantages, each failed. And a seeries of Revolutions (Mexico, and China) challenged the Western view of moderity. There is less agreement as to just what modernity meant. It might be defined as the rise of the West. This is somewhat misleaing. It is true that modernity first occurred in the West. We see it better defined as economic capitalism, political democracy, and pluralism). European countries first adopted modernity and were well rewarded. America and Britain embraced in most fervently and were the best reqarded. Here Protestantism seems to have played a role. Other non-Western countries have also been well rewarded (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Sinappre and most recently India). The rise of China raises the questioin of weter the same succes can be achieved with capitalism, but without democracy and pluralism.

Centuries

Most historians agree that the modern age began about the 16th century. There is of course no exact date defining when the medievakl era enbded and the modern era began. Several events came togethrr at about this time. The Renaissance had fostered profound changes in the outlook of Euopeans. In the East, The Mongols were in eclipse so there was no danger from the Steppe. This allowed the Ottomon Turks to consolidate their power and seize Constaninople (1453) and drive into Europe. In the West, the Spanish completed the Reconquista and the great Voyages of Discovery negan with Columbus' voyage (1452). Ottoman naval powr was broken at Diu (1509), although land armies continued to threatened Vienna for more than a decade. uther launched the Protestant Reformation (1519) leading to more than a century of religious wars. Althiouh small countries, the Netherland invented capitalism and was able to stave off attempts by Spanish and French Catholic absolutists. England also a small power was able to usde capitalism and naval suporenmecy to emerge as a major European power. The Enlightenment under cut the traditionasl foundatioins of Europe (18th century). This was followed by the Industrial and French Revolution. The Industrial Revolution remade Europe in the 19th century and provide Europe the means of projercting power. Sociaslism challenged the foundations of captalism and acqwuired many devotees. European capitalism was buttressed by the rise of America. Several hegemonic powers attempted to supplant the Anglo-American world system (Willhemite Germany, NAZI Germany, Imperial Japan, and finally the Soviert Union). Despite many advantages, each failed. And a seeries of Revolutions (Mexico, and China) challenged the Western view of moderity.

Defining Modernity

While there is a general sagreement as to the time scale of modern history, there is less agreement as to just what modernity meant. It might be defined as the rise of the West. This is somewhat misleaing. It is true that modernity first occurred in the West. We see it better defined as economic capitalism, political democracy, and pluralism). European countries first adopted modernity and were well rewarded. America and Britain embraced in most fervently and were the best reqarded. Here Protestantism seems to have played a role. Other non-Western countries have also been well rewarded (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore and most recently India). The rise of China raises the questioin of weter the same succes can be achieved with capitalism, but without democracy and pluralism.

Country Histories

History is commonly structured around national states or reguional groupings of nation states. Thus most people are acustomed to viewing history through thre prisim of their own national experiences. Of course, this can lead to many misunderstandings as so many historical developments involve interactions with other countries. We have worked on many historical events as we developed HBC, working on a thematic and chronological approach. Many of these topics toch upon or pertain to many individual countries. A number of HBC readers have expressed an interest in specific countries. So it seems a reasonable to create pages on national histories that tie these various pages together for readers interested in a specific country. We do not have many of these national history pages, but will begin to create them as HBC develops. Here we invite readers to contribute assessments of their country's history. HBC's focus is of course largely American and we are thus interested in reader contributions on their history.

Wars and Social Upheaval

HBC has collected information on numerous wars and major historical crises. Military history commonly focuses on the actual fighting, tactic, weaponery, soldiers, and strategic consequences. Battles and the wars in which they occur often have much more significance than purly military and diplomatic consequences. There are commonly pervasive political, economic and cultural consequences which affect the lives of individuals. One of the many impacts has been fshion. In most cases we have just collected basic information on the conflict and our understanding of fashion impacts are still limited. We have primarily focused on 19th and 20th century conflicts. This is the historical period in which specialized clothing existed for boys. Some of these conflicts had major impacts on fashion. Some of these conflicts had less impact on fashion, but are important to fully understand the sweep of history and the other conflicts we are assesing. We hope to eventually, however, expand our coverage to earlier conflicts as well.







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Created: July 22, 2003
Last updated: 08:12 PM 2/3/2010