Stalin succeeded Lenin and transformed the Soviet government. He got rid of opposition and tried to gain total control over everything in the Soviet Union. He controlled the government, economy, and many other aspects of the people’s private lives.

  • A Government of Total Control

    Totalitarianism is a system of government where there is complete state control over life. These leaders claim to be providing security and guiding a better future. In the 20th century, mass communication made it easier to reach into everyone’s life.

    The totalitarian leaders often used secret police to crush opposition and make everyone afraid of accusations that they were an enemy of the state.

    The totalitarianism system was the opposite of Western democracy – there was no reason, freedom, dignity and personal worth.

    The leaders used terror, propaganda, censorship, and other persecution to control and persuade people.

    • Police Terror
      • Dictators of totalitarianism states used terror and violence. In normal situations, the police respond to criminals and protect citizens. In totalitarian states, the police enforce government policies through spying and intimidating citizens. They would even use brutal force or murder to achieve their goals.
    • Indoctrination
      • Totalitarian governments use indoctrination to change people’s minds. Indoctrination involves teaching citizens to glorify the leader and his policies, molding people into being unconditionally loyal. This policy started with very young children and were enforced by schools.
    • Propaganda and Censorship
      • Totalitarian states used propaganda and biased information to persuade the people. Their control over the mass media made this easy. Nothing could be published or created without permission from the state. Anyone suggesting that the information was false was severely punished for treason. Dissident individuals had to retract their work or be killed.
    • Religious or Ethnic Persecution
      • Totalitarian leaders created “enemies of the state”, fall guys incase anything happened. These groups were often religious or ethnic groups, subjected to terror and violence. Some were even forced to live in certain areas and subjected to special rules.
  • Stalin Builds a Totalitarian State

    Stalin tried to create a perfect Communist state by creating a totalitarian state. He began be crushing all his enemies.

    • Police State
      • Stalin’s secret police had tanks and armored cars to stop riots. They spied on telephone lines, read mail, planted informers. They even persuaded children to report what their parents were saying. Everyone feared the “knock on the door” in the early morning, which led to the arrest of a family member. These police arrested and killed millions of these traitors.
      • In 1934, Stalin turned against the Communist party. In 1937, the Great Purge killed anyone who was a threat to his power. Many of his old Bolshevik supporters were put on trial. When this ended in 1938, Stalin gained complete control. He killed anywhere from 8 million to 13 million deaths.
    • Russian Propaganda and Censorship
      • Stalin had control over the media. He did not allow creativity, censoring all unauthorized work. The media glorified his achievements.
      • The arts were also used for propaganda, showing heroic labor and positive initiatives.
    • Education and Indoctrination
      • The government controlled everyone’s education. Everyone had to learn the virtues of the Communist Party. Anyone who questioned them were imprisoned. Party leaders lectured workers, stressed the importance of hard work, and State-supported groups trained future party members.
    • Religious Persecution
      • Communists tried to remove religion. The League of Militant Godless was a government sponsored group of atheists who sent propaganda which attacked religion. “Museums of atheism” were setup to show how religion is superstition. However, these attempts failed and people still clung to their faith.
      • The Russian Orthodox Church was a target. Others also suffered as the police destroyed churches, synagogues, and killed religious leaders.
      • A perfect Communist state was very costly, eliminating personal rights and freedoms for the stability of the state.
  • Stalin Seizes Control of the Economy

    Stalin’s control of society increased and he began to overhaul the economy. He tried to catch up to other advanced countries in 10 years. In 1928, he created a command economy, giving the government complete control over the economy.

    • An Industrial Revolution
      • The first of the Five-Year Plans involved high quotas for steel, coal, oil, and electricity production. The government limited production of consumer goods, making people face severe shortages of food, housing, and other goods.
      • These difficult methods did produce impressive results. Though most of the targets fell short, the Soviets still made gains. The 2nd plan was launched in 1933, and was equally successful. In 10 years, industrial production of steel increased by 25 percent.
    • An Agricultural Revolution
      • In 1928, the government seized private farms and combined them into collective farms. Hundreds of families worked on these farms, producing food for the state. The modern machinery used on these government owned farms boosted food production and reduced the number of workers. Wealthy peasants resisted and were eliminated.
      • Peasants fought the government’s attempts to take over land. Many protested by killing livestock and destroying crops. Secret police moved peasants onto farms with bayonets. 5 to 10 million peasants died as a result. By 1938, 90 percent of all peasants worked on government owned farms. Russia produced twice the wheat they had before.
      • In hard to farm areas, the government created state farms which were operated like factories. Workers had wages and produced wheat.
  • Daily Life Under Stalin

    Women gained more roles, people became better educated, and drastic changes occurred. However, this came at a great price as citizens had their personal freedoms limited.

    Stalin’s economic plans created high demand for skilled workers, making education key for a better life.

    • Women Gain Rights
      • The Bolshevik revolution in 1917 made men and women equal. New laws were created and women helped the economy prosper. Women joined to workforce as a result of the Five Year plan. Children were taken care of by the state for working mothers. Some women performed the same jobs as men. However, men still had the best jobs.
      • Given the oppurtunity, women began to study science, especially medicine. By 1950, 75 percent of doctors were women.
      • They paid a heavy price as they had jobs, were responsible for housework, and child care. Soviet women were expected to provide the state with loyal citizens.
  • Total Control Achieved
    • By the 1930s, Stalin had complete control and had changed Russia into a industrial and political power. He brought a period of total control and rule by terror.
    • Soon, China also fell under Karl Marx’s influence and Mao Zedong also paved way for a totalitarian Communist state.
  • Effects of Revolution
    • Loss of Confidence
      • State of Russia?
      • Czar?
    • People’s Desires
      • More rights
      • End hunger
      • Self-determination
        • Create their own nation
    • Anarchy
      • Radical influences
    • Return of Lenin
    • Multiple Governments
      • Parliamentary Government (Kerensky – temporary government)
      • Military Government (Kornilov)
      • Soviet Government
  • Kornilov Affair
    • Military
      • General Kornilov
    • Supported by nobility
    • Fails
      • Troops don’t follow Kornilov
      • They switch sides and become Soviets
  • Soviet Government (Petrograd Soviet)
    • More radical
    • Marxist socialism
    • Mensheviks vs Bolsheviks
      • Moderate vs radical
    • Return of Lenin
      • Supported by Germany
        • Germans want to create more trouble
  • Red October – 1917
    • Bolshevik Red Guards
      • Led by Leon Trotsky, Politics by Lenin
      • “Peace, Land, Bread”
    • Treaty of Brest-Litosk (March 1918)
      • Treaty with Germany, exits WWI
      • Treaty humiliates Russia
        • People are unhappy
    • Civil War
      • Red vs White
      • Damage, death
    • Bolsheviks Take Over
      • Give land to peasants, etc.
  • Lenin’s Order
    • New Economic Policy (1981)
      • Modernize, industrialize
        • Foreign support
      • Mini-Capitalism
        • Small industries are private
    • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1992, USSR)
      • Maintains unity
      • Prevent nationalism
        • Each republic is self-government
        • Bolsheviks oversee
    • Dictatorship of the Proletariat
      • Everyone is “equal”
        • Not really true
      • Actually dictatorship of the communist party
    • Checka (Red Army)
      • Also called KGB
        • Secret police
      • Maintain state security
        • “remove” revolutionaries
        • Execute enemy of people
        • Reign of terror
          • Kill opposing upper class
    • Followed by “man of steel”, Stalin
  • Introduction
    • Nationalism
      • Monarchs
        • Maintaining power vs pleasing the people
    • Industrialization
      • Russia lags behind
    • Conservatism, Balance of Power
  • Domestic Conflict
    • Feudal Systems
      • Working Class vs Nobility
    • Czar Nicholas I
      • Used nobles support
      • Complete, absolute monarchy
      • Against industrialization
  • Crimean War
    • Russia tries to get warm-water ports
      • Loses war
      • Russia looks weak
    • Loses because of lack of transportation
      • Army can’t get supplies
    • Shows weakness of Concert of Europe
  • Alexander II’s Reforms
    • Modernization
      • Industrialization -> Win Wars
    • Emancipation of Serfs (1861)
      • Nobility gives land to peasants
      • Peasants pay “redemption payments” to nobles
        • Try to gain support of peasants
        • Try to keep nobility happy
    • Judicial system, military
    • Reform from above
      • Try to avoid changing government
  • Alexander III’s Conservatism
    • Reforms = Weak
      • More censorship
      • Secret police
      • Uniform culture
        • Ban all others
    • Continues industrialization
  • Nicholas II
    • Industrial Lag
      • Higher taxes to speed up industrialization
      • Foreign investors
        • Borrows money
    • Continues Industrialization
      • Boosts steal production
      • Construction of Trans-Siberian Railway
        • Coast to Coast connection
    • Weak, insecure, isolated ruler
      • Relies on the wife’s advice
    • WWI
      • Joins war, goes to warfront
      • Loses
      • Withdraws from war
        • Domestic turmoil
        • People unhappy
      • Soldiers mutiny
    • Wife takes over locally (Alexandria)
      • Rasputin takes over
        • Evil, fraud
        • Assassinated by nobles
  • Nationalism
    • Rapid industrialization
      • Urbanization
      • Reform
        • Unions outlawed
        • Why should we listen to the czar?
    • Marxism
      • Educated adopts these beliefs
      • During and after WWI
      • Revolution from below
      • Mensheviks vs Bolsheviks


The Russian Revolution officially started in 1917 but its ideas had been around for nearly a century. The rule of the 19th-century czars caused social unrest, forcing Army officers to revolt in 1825. Secret revolutionary groups plotted overthrows, acting in 1881 when they assassinated the reform-minded czar, Alexander II. Russia underwent a revolution.

  • Czars Resist Change

    In 1881, Alexander III rose to power. Once he gained power, he halted all reforms, reinstating the autocracy, a form of government where he had total power. Anyone who opposed him, did not speak Russian, or did not believe in the Russian Orthodox Church was considered dangerous.

    • Czars Continue Autocratic Rule
      • Alexander III used harsh measures to wipe out revolutionaries. He used censorship and secret police to limit free speech and watch schools and universities. The teachers had to write reports on each student and any political prisoners were sent to Siberia, in eastern Russia.
      • Alexander wanted a uniform Russian culture by oppressing all other groups. Russian became the official language and all other minority languages were not allowed to be taught in school. Jews were especially targeted and waves of pogroms, organized violence, broke out. The police and soldiers would stand by and watch Russian citizens destroy Jewish property.
      • When Nicholas II became czar in 1894, he continued these traditions. Unfortunately, he was blinded to the changing conditions of the time.
  • Russia Industrializes

    The industrialization changed the Russian economy. The number of factories in Russia doubled from 1860 to 1900 – however, they were still behind the western European nations. In 1890, one of Nicholas’s ministers launched a program to accelerate the industrialization. The government used foreign investors and higher taxes to boost the growth of industry. By 1900, Russia became the world’s fourth largest producer of steel.

    With British and French investors helping, they began to create the world’s longest rail line – the Trans-Siberian Railway. This railway started in 1891 and was completed in 1916, linking European Russia in the west to the Russian ports in the east.

    • The Revolutionary Movement Grows
      • Rapid industrialization brought many problems such as bad working conditions, low wages, and child labor. The government outlawed unions so unhappy workers organized strikes.
      • As a result, several revolutionary movements began. The Marxists followed the views of Karl Marx, believing that the industrial workers would overthrow the czar to form a dictatorship of the proletariat. Workers would rule the country.
      • However, the Marxists split in 1903 creating the moderate Mensheviks and the radical Bolsheviks. The Mensheviks wanted a broad support base while the Bolsheviks wanted a small number of committed revolutionaries willing to sacrifice everything.
      • Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin) led the Bolsheviks. He was ruthless and a good organizer. In the 1900s, Lenin fled to western Europe to avoid arrest by the czar. He still maintained contact and waited for a good time to return.
  • Crises at Home and Abroad

    The revolutionaries did not have a long wait, and Russia’s government began to collapse between 1904 and 1917. At this time, a series of crises showed the czar’s failures and weaknesses, leading to revolution.

    • The Russo-Japanese War
      • In the late 1800s, Russia and Japan were fighting for control of Korea and Manchuria. They managed to reach an agreement. However, Russia broke them and Japan retaliated, attacking Russians at Port Arthur, Manchuria in 1904. Repeated losses sparked unrest and led to revolt.
    • Bloody Sunday: The Revolution of 1905
      • Bloody Sunday was an event that occurred on January 22, 1905. Around 200,000 workers approached the czar’s palace in St. Petersburg carrying a petition. However, Nicholas II’s generals ordered the military to fire on the crowd, killing hundreds and injuring thousands.
      • This bloody Sunday started a wave of violence. In October, 1905, Nicholas agreed to give people more freedom and created the Duma – Russia’s first parliament. This Duma met in May 1906 and was moderate, trying to make Russia a constitutional monarchy like Britain. However, czar dissolved the Duma after 10 weeks as he did not want to share his power.
    • World War I: The Final Blow
      • Nicholas II made the decision to join World War II in 1914. Russia was woefully unprepared and Germans crushed the Russians. More than 4 million Russian soldiers were killed in a year. This showed the weakness of the czar and military.
      • In 1915, Nicholas moved to the war front to rally his troops. His wife Czarina Alexandra ran the government when he was away. However, she ignored advisers and listened to a “holy man” named Rasputin.
      • Alexandra’s son, Alexis had a life-threatening disease and Rasputin pretended to make him better. Alexandra showed her gratitude by allowing Rasputin to make many decisions. In 1916, some nobles murdered Rasputin for being anti-reform.
      • On the war front, Russian soldiers deserted. At home, food and fuel supplies became rare and prices soared. People from all classes wanted change and an end to war. Both Nicholas and Alexandra failed to solve these issues.
  • The March Revolution

    In 1917, women textile workers in Petrograd led a strike. Riots started all over because of the lack of bread and fuel. Nearly 200,000 workers went on the streets protesting. Soldiers originally followed orders and shot the rioters. However, they soon joined the rioters.

    • The Czar Steps Down
      • The protest grew into an uprising, the March Revolution. This revolution forced Czar Nicholas off the throne and led to his and his family’s execution. The three-century czarist rule collapsed, but the new government that came to power was still weak.
      • The Duma leaders created a temporary government, led by Alexander Kerensky. He decided to continue fighting in WWI, causing him to lose support. Conditions worsened as peasants demanded land, workers grew more radical, and other revolutionaries competed for power. The socialist revolutionaries formed soviets, councils that were more influence than the government in many cities.
    • Lenin Returns to Russia
      • The Germans believed that Lenin would make Russia’s war effort weak. They returned Lenin and his Bolsheviks to Russia in a sealed boxcar, reaching Petrograd in 1917.
  • The Bolshevik Revolution

    Lenin and the Bolsheviks gained control of the soviets in many major cities. By the fall of 1917, many people wanted to give power to the soviets. Lenin’s slogan gained support and he decided to take action.

    • The Provisional Government Topples
      • In November 1917, armed workers stormed the Petrograd Palace. These “Bolshevik Red Guards” took over the offices and arrested the provisional government. Kerensky and his colleagues dissapeared.
    • Bolsheviks in Power
      • Lenin ordered that the farmland be split and given to the peasants. The factories were given to the workers. The Bolshevik government also created a treaty with Germany.
      • In March 1918, Russia and Germany signed the treaty and Russia gave much of its land to Germany. This humiliation caused anger among Russians.
    • Civil War Rages in Russia
      • The Bolsheviks also had to crush their enemies at home. Their opponents created the White Army, a mixture of different groups. These groups barely got along, and even split into 3 White Armies at one time.
      • The Bolshevik Red Army’s leader was Trotsky. He expertly commanded his troops. Many Western nations sent aid to Russia to help the White Army. However, they were unsuccessful.
      • This civil war was extremely deadly. Around 14 million Russians died in the fighting and famine. This left Russia in chaos. However, the Red Army eventually won, showing that the Bolsheviks could keep their power.
    • Comparing World Revolutions
      • The Russian Revolution was similar to the French Revolution because it tried to destroy existing social political structures. The Revolutionaries used violence and terror. This is different from the American Revolution which built a constitutional government on top of existing structures.
  • Lenin Restores Order

    War and revolution destroyed the Russian economy. Trade halted, production dropped, skilled workers fled. Lenin tried to revive the economy and restructure the government.

    • New Economic Policy
      • Lenin temporarily aborted his plans for a state-controlled economy. He decided on a small-scale capitalist system called the New Economic Policy. These reforms allowed peasants to sell surplus crops instead of giving them to the government. The government still kept control of major industries. However, small businesses could have private ownership. The government also promoted foreign investment and relations.
      • Due to these new policies, the country recovered. By 1928, Russia was back to its pre-war production.
    • Political Reforms
      • Bolshevik leaders saw nationalism as a threat. Lenin split Russia into self-governing republics under a central government to stop nationalism. By 1922, the country became the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. USSR
      • The Bolsheviks renamed themselves to the Communist Party. This name came from Karl Marx, who described a classless society as a communist system. In 1924, the Communists created a constitution based on socialism and democracy. However, the Communist Party held all the actual power.
  • Stalin Becomes Dictator
    • Lenin had a stroke in 1922. He survived but the competition grew. Trotsky and Stalin were two notable men. Stalin was cold, hard, impersonal. (Stalin = man of steel in Russian)
    • Stalin started his ruthless rise to power. Lenin knew Stalin was dangerous, and was proved correct when Stalin seized complete control in 1928. Trotsky was forced into exile in 1929 and Stalin gained absolute power to become a dictator.

Adam Smith – He supported the laissez-faire economy – capitalism. He wrote “The Wealth of Nations”. For him, the ideal economy would be based on people’s self-interest. He argued for the 3 natural laws of capitalism: 3 natural laws of economics: The law of self-interest – People work for their own good; The law of competition – Competition forces people to make a better product; The law of supply and demand – Enough goods at the lowest possible price to meet demand

Almroth Wright – Almroth Wright was a British scientist who worked on medicine and vaccines.

Concert of Europe – The Concert of Europe was born from the Congress of Vienna. This agreement made the great powers look out for each other and stop revolutions. This treaty was for collective security and succeeded in maintaining peace until WWI.

Carlsbad Decrees – The Carlsbad Decrees were a set of decrees in German states. These decrees stopped college students from joining revolutionary “frats”.

Chartists – The Chartist movement demanded suffrage (vote) for all men and annual elections. They also proposed anonymous voting for all men. Finally, they wanted paid positions in Parliament so men from any social class could participate, not just the wealthy.

Charles Fourier – Charles Fourier was a French economist who tried to “cure” the faults of the industrialization with socialism. He believed in giving the factors of production to the public for operation. This would operate for the welfare of all.

Emmeline Pankhurst – Emmeline Pankhurs founded the Women’s Social Political Union in 1903. This group was militant, and she along with other members were arrested and imprisoned many times. While she was jailed, she led hunger strikes, causing the British officials to force feed Sylvia to keep them alive.

Friedrich Engels – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels created a radical movement called Marxism. Marxism had many socialist traits. Engels argued that there was a constant battle between the haves and have-not’s. He believed that have-not’s would eventually overthrow the have’s as the have-not’s had nothing to lose.

Greek Independence – The Greek independence was supported by the other nations. Many people still respected ancient Greek culture and did not want to see it destroyed. Also, the Christians did not want the Ottoman’s to rule over Greek/Romes as the Ottoman’s were a Muslim Empire.

Guiseppe Garibaldi – Garibaldi was the leader of the south Italian nationalists. Garibaldi led the army, who always wore red shirts. After capturing Sicily, they marched north to unite with the Sardinian ruler, uniting Italy.

John Stuart Mill – Capitalism is bad

Jeremy Bentham – He believed in utilitarianism – people should judge ideas based on usefulness.

Karl Marx – Marx was a German journalist and author of the Communist Manifesto. He suggested that history was plagued by conflicts between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Therefore, society should adopt communism instead of capitalism.

Robert Owen – Robert Owen was a British factory owner who improved working conditions for his employees. He realized how miserable the working class was and built houses for workers, prohibited children under the age of 10 from working, and provided free schooling. He also traveled to the United States and founded New Harmony, Indiana. He tried to make New Harmony a Utopia.

Schleswig and Holstein

The Factory Act of 1833 – This act made hiring children under the age of 9 illegal. It also limited children’s working hours. This act made child labor more tolerable.

The Combination Act of 1799 – The combination acts banned unions and strikes. However, many workers ignored these laws and joined anyways. These acts were repealed in 1824, and the government began to tolerate unions.

Social Darwinism – In Social Darwinism, the talented deserve the money they make. This environment is competitive and the market distributes the money. However, this would cause poverty in the lower classes.




Essay topics to review:

19th C Reforms in Great Britain

German and Italian Unifications

Reformers and their ideas



The Industrial Revolution came about because of inventions such as the spinning jenny and the steam engine. In the 1800s, more advances developed at a faster pace. A surge of science and economy produced great social changes.

  • Inventions Make Life Easier:

    In the early 1800s, machines were powered by coal. Later on, gasoline and electricity were developed. Gasoline was made from oil and powered the internal combustion engine. Electricity was generated and the current could be used to power machines.

    • Edison the Inventor
      • Thomas Edison patented more than 1000 inventions such as the light bulb and phonograph. His research started in Menlo Park, New Jersey where he worked with researchers under his employ, such as Lewis H. Latimer, an African-American inventor. The idea of having a “research laboratory” was also one of Edison’s most important inventions.
    • Bell and Marconi Revolutionize Communication
      • Alexander Graham Bell was a teacher of the deaf who also invented the telephone. He displayed this device in 1876 at the Philadelphia Expo
      • Guglielmo Marconi created the first radio in 1895, sending electromagnetic waves wirelessly. These primitive radios soon became standard for ships at sea who could send Morse Code messages.
    • Ford Sparks the Automobile Industry
      • In the 1800s, German inventors used the gasoline engine to power the automobile. This technology grew quickly but remained costly as they were hand made.
      • Henry Ford, an American mechanic made the cars more affordable by using standardized parts. He created automobiles using the assembly line, a line of workers who would each put a piece on the car as the car passed by on the moving belt.
      • These workers could make an entire Model T Ford in 2 hours. This reliable car was introduced in 1908 and sold for 850 dollars. As production costs fell, the price fell. Finally, it was only 300 dollars. Other factories adopted these ideas and by 1916, more than 3.5 million cars traveled on American roads.
    • The Wright Brothers Fly
      • Wilbur and Orville Wright were bike mechanics. In December, 1903, they built a gas powered flying machine at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The longest flight was only 59 seconds long but still kicked off the aircraft industry.
  • New Ideas in Medicine

    While earlier centuries had started to use the scientific method, the most significant insights came later.

    • The Germ Theory of Disease
      • The Germ Theory of Disease postulated that microscopic organisms called bacteria caused fermentation. The French chemist Louis Pasteur learned that heat killed bacteria. He soon developed the pasteurization process which would kill germs in liquids such as milk. Soon, many scientists agreed that bacteria also caused diseases.
      • Joseph Lister, a British surgeon read about Pasteur’s work and thought that the bacteria could explain why so many surgical patients died. In 1865, he ordered that his surgical wards would be kept clean, insisting on wounds being washed in antiseptics. Soon, 85 percent of his patients survived, a 35 percent improvement. Other hospitals also adopted these methods.
      • Public officials also began to understand that cleanliness helped prevent disease. They began to encourge the building of plumbing and other sewer systems. These steps improved public health and medical researchers developed vaccines and cures for deadly diseases. This helped them live longer, better lives.
  • New Ideas in Science

    Darwin’s work was the most controversial. This English naturalist contested the 1800s beliefs that every kind of living organism was made by god at the beginning of the world.

    • Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
      • Darwin challenged the idea of special creation. Based on his research on the HMS Beagle, he developed a theory that al life evolved from earlier live forms from millions of years ago.
      • In 1859, Darwin published his findings in the book, “On the Origin of Species”. Survival of the fittest led to the change of species, causing new species to evolve. This was known as the theory of evolution.
    • Mendel and Genetics
      • Though Darwin thought living things passed on their traits, he did not know why. In the 1950s, an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel discovered there is a pattern to the way traits are inherited. This began the science of genetics.
    • Advances in Chemistry and Physics
      • In 1803, John Dalton, a British chemist, theorized that atoms made up of all matter. Elements are made of one atom, with one specific weight. Compounds contained more than 1 atom.
      • In 1869, Mendeleev created a Periodic Table.
      • Marie and Pierre Curie discovered 2 radioactive elements. These elements were found in pitchblende, which released a powerful energy named radioactivity. The Curies shared the Nobel prize in 1903.
      • Physicists in the 1900s continued the work on the atom. Soon, the British physicist Rutherford said that atoms are made of smaller particles, a nucleus with electrons. Other physicists also began to study the structure of atoms.
  • Social Sciences Explore Behavior
    • The scientific theories also applied to the social sciences. Scholars began to study human society in a scientific way. This led to other social sciences such as archaeology, anthropology, and sociology.
    • Psychology was another important social science. The Russian physiologist Pavlov believed that actions were reactions to experiences and could be changed by training.
    • Another pioneer was Sigmund Freud who theorized that unconscious forces shaped behavior. He created psychoanalysis to deal with psychological conflicts.
    • Freud’s theories were influential. However, his ideas shocked many people as they were frightened by the idea that the mind was beyond conscious control. The theories of Freud and Pavlov changed the ideas of the Enlightenment. These ideas began to shake the ideas that humans could perfect themselves through reason.
  • The Rise of Mass Culture

    In earlier times, the arts were enjoyed by the wealthy as only they had money, time, and education. However, in the 1900s, a larger audience could enjoy mass culture.

    • Changes Produce Mass Culture
      • The rise of mass culture began as a result of the increase in literacy, cheaper publications, and the easy access to recorded media. The working class began to demand some leisure activities such as music performances, movies, and sporting events.
    • Music Halls, Vaudeville, and Movies
      • A popular activity was traveling to the music hall. The music hall would half a dozen acts, featuring singers, dancers, comedians, jugglers, magicians, and acrobats. These musical variety shows were called vaudeville in the US, traveling from town to town, appearing at theaters.
      • During the 1880s, several inventors tried to project moving images. One came from France, another came from Thomas Edison. The earliest motion pictures were black and white and only about 1 minute long.
      • In the 1900s, filmmakers produced feature films. Movies were a big business. By 1910, 5 million Americans attended nearly 10000 theaters each day. The European movie industry also followed this path.
    • Sports Entertain Millions
      • More people became interested in sports. Sports became entertainment as football, baseball, soccer, cricket, and more grew in popularity.
      • As a result, the Olympic Games began in 1896, reviving the ancient Greek tradition of athletic competitions. This first game started in Athens, Greece.


The urbanization and industrialization brought changes to many Western nations. People began to look for solutions to the problems brought on by the developments – they demanded reform and better conditions for the poor. Many people also called for political reforms and demanded that more people have a say in government. Many groups such as the middle class, workers, and women, all demanded for the right to vote.

  • Britain Enacts Reforms

    Britain became a constitutional monarchy in the 1600s, with the monarchy acting as the head while the Parliament has the real power. The British Parliament had a house of lords and a house of commons. Usually, the members of the house of lords inherited or were appointed the position. However, in 1999, the legislation abolished hereditary peers in the House of Lords. Meanwhile, the House of Commons was elected by the British people.

    However, this system was not a true democracy as only 5 percent of the people could elect members of the House of Commons. The right to vote was limited to men with large amounts of land. The upper class ran the government.

    • The Reform Bill of 1832
      • The upper half of the middle class was first to demand a larger influence on politics. Starting in the 1830s, protests spread across England in favor of a bill to extend suffrage (the right to vote). The simultaneous revolution of 1830 in France frightened the parliamentary leaders, and they passed the Reform Bill of 1832. This law allowed any well-to-do man in the middle class to vote and also modernized the districts for electing for the Parliament by giving industrial cities more representation.
    • Chartist Movement
      • The Reform Bill succeeded in increasing the number of voters, however, only a small percentage of men could vote. The Chartist movement arose among the groups that could not vote. This was named the Chartist movement because they presented their demands to Parliament in “The People’s Charter of 1838”.
      • The People’s Charter demanded suffrage for all men and annual elections. The People’s Charter also proposed other reforms such as secret votes, an end to property requirements, and paid positions in Parliament.
      • Parliament rejected these demands but the protests convinced many more people. The workers pressed political reform and Parliament finally responded. It gave the vote to working men in 1867, all men in 1884. By the 1900s, all the demands except annual elections became law.
    • The Victorian Age
      • This historic change was presided over by Queen Victoria. Victoria ruled from age 18 for 64 years in 1837. The British Empire reached the height of its glory – however, she refused to give up any power from the monarchy.
      • The kings before Victoria in the 1800s shifted political power to the Parliament, making the government completely led by the prime minister and the cabinet.
  • Women Get the Vote

    By 1890, many industrial countries had given all men the right to vote. However, no country had given women the right to vote.

    • Organization and Resistance
      • During the 1800s, women gained the right to vote in Great Britain and the United States. British women organized reform societiies and protested unfair laws and customs. However, the resistance to their demands grew as many people of both sexes felt that this was too radical a change. Some claimed that women did not have the ability to be in politics.
    • Militant Protests
      • After decades of peace, women began to take drastic measures. In Britain, Emmeline Pankhurst formed the Women’s Social Political Union in 1903. This group grew attention through militant means.
      • Emmeline Pankhurst and her family and other members were arrested and imprisoned many times. While jailed, the Pankhursts led hunger strikes. British officials force fed Sylvia and other activists to keep them alive.
      • Even with this much attention, the women did not gain the right to vote until after World War I.
  • France and Democracy

    Britain moved to more democracy in the late 1800s – France had just gained it.

    • The Third Republic
      • After the Franco-Prussian War, France went through crises, constantly changing government. The National Assembly agreed on a new government in 1975, a republic. This republic, The Third Republic lasted 60 years. However, France was still divided.
    • The Dreyfus Affair
      • The Third Republic was threatened by many groups such as monarchists, aristocrats, clergy, and army leaders. These groups wanted a monarchy. A controversy named the Dreyfus affair started the battle. Widespread feelings of anti-Semitism (anti-Jews) was an important part in this scandal.
      • In 1894, Captain Dreyfus was accused of selling military secrets to Germany. He was found guilty based on false evidence because he was Jewish. After a few years, new evidence showed he was framed.
      • Public opinion was strongly divided. Many anti-Jewish groups, army leaders, and clergy members did not want the case reopened as they were afraid this would make the army seem dishonorable. However, Dreyus’ defenders said that Justice was more important. In 1898, the writer Emile Zola wrote an letter accusing the army of covering up a scandal. Zola was sentenced to a year in prison. However, this letter gave Dreyfus’s cause more strength, leading to the French government declaring his innocence.
    • The Rise of Zionism
      • The Dreyfus case was an example of the anti-Semitism in Western Europe. However, this was even worse in Eastern Europe. Russian officials allowed organized violence against Jews, forcing Jews to flee in the 1800s and head for other countries like the US.
      • Many Jews wanted to create their own homeland in Palestine. In the 1890s, Zionism developed and the leader was Theodor Herzl of Vienna. However, it was many years before Israel was established.
  • Effects of IR
    • Low wages, erratic markets
    • Workers discontent
      • Unions
        • More power, leverage
        • Collective bargaining
    • Growing literacy
      • Educated middle class
      • Some lower class
    • Expansion of ideals
    • Reform
      • Fix the problems the Industrial Revolution caused
    • Big Brother
      • Government needs power over economy, oversee it
      • How much is enough? How much is too much?
    • Imperialism
  • Capitalism
    • Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith)
      • Laissez-faire
    • Social Darwinism
      • If you are talented, you deserve your money
      • Competitive, the market distributes the money
        • Poverty
    • Causes of poverty
      • Increase in population
      • Surplus of workers
    • US Economy
      • Rising GDP (production)
  • Utilitarianism/Socialism
    • Jeremy Bentham
      • People should judge ideas based on usefulness
    • John Stuart Mill
      • Capitalism is bad
  • Socialism
    • Economic equality
      • Charles Fourier
      • Factors of production should be owned by the government
      • General Welfare
        • Government makes it fair for everyone
      • Government ends poverty
  • Utopian Idealism
    • “Perfect Society”
    • Robert Owen
      • Experimented, everyone share their resources
    • Henry Thoreau
      • Goodness of people
      • Government “encourages” principles of fairness
  • Radical Socialism – Communism
    • Karl Marx – The Communist Manifesto
      • Class struggle – have’s vs have-not’s
      • Food + Survival = Primary Concerns
      • Bourgesie vs Proletariat
    • Production owned by people
    • No government, all people are the same class


The industrialized countries of the 19th century had a wide gap between the rich and poor. Business owners didn’t want the government to meddle. However, reformers wanted government involvement to improve working conditions for the poor. Workers demanded rights and protection – they created labor unions to make themselves more powerful.

  • The Philosophers of Industrialization

    Laissez-faire is an economic policy where owners of industry set their own regulations around working conditions. This policy favors free, unregulated economies. The name comes from French, where it means “let do” – “let people do as they please.”

    • Laissez-faire Economics
      • Laissez-faire economics came from the French economic philosophers from the Enlightenment era. These philosophers criticized nations who were wealthy from taxation on goods. They argued that government involvement would interfere with production of wealth. These philosophers believed that free trade would lead the economy to prosperity.
      • Adam Smith, and professor in Scotland defended free market economies in 1776 with The Wealth of the Nations, a book declaring that economic liberty guarantees progress. Therefore, government should not interfere.
      • Smith argued that there are 3 natural laws of economics:
        • The law of self-interest – People work for their own good
        • The law of competition – Competition forces people to make a better product
        • The law of supply and demand – Enough goods at the lowest possible price to meet demand
    • The Economists of Capitalism
      • Smith’s ideas were supported by more British economists: Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo. The also believed in the natural laws governing the economic life. Their ideas made up the foundation of laissez-faire capitalism. Capitalism is the economic system where the factors of production are privately owned and money is invested to make profit. These ideas helped start the Industrial Revolution.
      • Thomas Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798. This essay argued that population grows faster than the food supply. Unless there is war and disaster to kill people, many will be miserable. Malthus’ predictions seemed to be true in the 1840s.
      • David Ricardo continued on Malthus’s theory in Principles of Political Economy and Taxation in 1817. Ricardo also believed that the underclass would always be poor. He believed that wages decline as population increases. Few workers + scarce resources = expensive.
      • These laissez-faire thinkers opposed government efforts to help poor workers as they felt minimum wage laws and better working conditions would upset the system, lower profits, and undermine wealth in society.
  • The Rise of Socialism

    The opposite of the laissez-faire system was the socialist system. Socialism is the system where wealthy people and the government take action to improve people’s lives.

    • Utilitarianism
      • The English philosopher Jeremy Bentham made changes to Adam Smith’s ideas. He created the philosophy of utilitarianism. In the 1700s, he wrote influential works preaching that people should judge ideas, institutions, and actions based on the usefulness. Government should promote the best for the most people. Useful government policies are the ones promoting this goal. An individual should pursue what he wants without state interference.
    • Utopian Ideas
      • Other reformers were more active. A British factory owner, Robert Owen, improved working conditions for his employees after he realized how miserable and poverty stricken the working class was. He built houses near his cotton mill and rented at low rates, prohibited children under 10 from working, and provided free schooling.
      • In 1824, Owens traveled to the United States and found New Harmony, Indiana. He tried to make this place a utopia. It lasted 3 years but inspired other such communities.
    • Socialism
      • French reformers such as Charles Fourier, Saint-Simon, and more tried to offset the bad side of industrialization with socialism. Socialism gave the factors of production to the public for operation, operating for the welfare of all.
      • These reformers had a more optimistic view of human nature and a belief in progress and justice. The socialists believed that the government should plan the economy and hold control over factories, mines, and other industries. This would end poverty and promote equality, as these industries would be public. This way, workers would also own part of the industry, not just their employers. Some socialists such as Louis Blanc wanted change with the right to vote.
  • Marxism: Radical Socialism

    The German journalist Karl Marx created a radical socialist movement called Marxism. Marx and Friedrich Engels (Engel’s father owns a textile mill in Manchester) published their ideas in The Communist Manifesto, a 23 page pamphlet.

    • The Communist Manifesto
      • In “The Communist Manifesto”, Marx and Engels argued that human society was composed of warring classes. The middle class, also known as “haves” are the bourgeoisie. The lower class, or the “have-nots” are workers called the proletariat. The wealthy controlled the production of goods while the poor labored in bad conditions.
      • Marx and Engels predicted that because the Industrial had just widened the wealth gap, the workers would overthrow their employers because they have nothing to lose.
    • The Future According to Marx
      • According to Marx, the capitalist system would destroy itself:
        • Factories would put artisans out of business.
        • The proletariats (workers) would rise against the wealthy owners.
        • Workers would share in profits and would control the government.
        • After a period of peace, the government would go away as classless society developed.
      • This last phase was called communism -a complete socialism where all means of production are owned by the public. Private property no longer exists as all goods are shared.
      • In 1848, The Communist Manifesto produced a few short term results. Widespread revolts occurred all over Europe, but governments quickly crushed the rebels. It was only after the end of the century that the pamphlet had explosive results. In the 1900s, Marxism inspired Russia’s Lenin, China’s Mao Zedong, and Cuba’s Fidel Castro into adapting Marxist beliefs into their own situations.
      • In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels stated that economic forces were the dominating factor in society. However, history shows that religion, nationalism, and other loyalties are just a strong. Finally, many wealth gaps did not widen in the way predicted because of government interference and reforms.
  • Labor Unions and Reform Laws

    Factory workers faced long, hard hours at work and were constantly in fear of being laid off. However, in the 1800s, workers created voluntary labor associations called unions to press for reform. The working people became involved in politics.

    • Unionization
      • The workers in a union spoke with one voice. They would bargain and negotiate between the workers and her employers. Slowly, the began to bargain for better conditions and higher pay. If the employers refused, the union members could strike.
      • Skilled workers started the unions because they had the skills to have extra bargaining power. The skilled workers were harder to replace so these unions helped the lower middle class more than the lowest workers.
      • The unionization movement was slow and painful as both the British and United States government denied people the right to form unions. These governments felt that unions were a threat to social order. The Combination Acts of 1799 and 1800 outlawed these unions and strikes. However, many factory workers joined anyways. Parliament finally repealed the Combination Acts in 1824. They began to tolerate union.
      • British trade unions won the right to strike and peaceful picketing. They got around 1 million people involved.
      • In the United States, skilled workers had been in unions since the 1800s. In 1886, several unions combined to form the American Federation of Labor. Successful strikes gave these members higher wages and shorter hours.
    • Reform Laws
      • The reformers and unions forced the political leader to try and fix abuses caused by the rapid industrialization. In both Britain and the United States, the new laws fixed many cases of abuse. In the 1820s, Parliament passed the Factory Act of 1833 which made hiring children under the age of 9 illegal. Children 9 to 12 could only work for 8 hours and people 13 to 17 could not work more than 12 hours. In 1842, the Mines Act stopped women and children from working underground.
      • In 1847, Parliament helped women by making the workday limited to 10 hours for women and children.
      • The United States also passed laws to protect children. In 1924, the National Child Labor Committee ended child labor. This union forced national and state politicians to ban child labor and set maximum working hours.
      • The US Supreme Court objected to the federal child labor law as it interfered with the states’ rights. However, individual states were allowed to limit the working hours of women and men.
  • The Reform Movement Spreads

    The reform movements rose to combat the negative effects of industrialization. These reforms improved the workplace and gave the right to vote to working-class men. The impulse to reform with the ideals of the French Revolution helped end slavery and promote new rights.

    • The Abolition of Slavery
      • William Wilberforce was a highly religious member of Parliament who fought for the abolition of the slave trade. The Parliament passed a law ending slave trade in the British Indies. After retiring in 1825, Wilberforce continued hi fight. Britain abolished slavery in its entire empire in 1833.
      • The abolitionists had different motives. Some were morally against it, others thought of it as an economic threat. Also, a new class of industrialists preferred cheap labor over slave labor, and they soon gained power in Parliament.
      • The United States movement also decided to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence by ending slavery in 1865. However, slavery still persisted in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Brazil. Puerto Rico ended in 1873, Spain ended Cuban slavery in 1886, and Brazilian slaves only won freedom in 1886.
    • The Fight for Women’s Rights
      • The Industrial Revolution gave women higher wages than work at home – however, they still only made 1/3 the money men made.
      • Women led reform movements. During the 1800s, women formed unions in women dominated trades. In Britain, some women were safety inspectors in factories where other women worked. In the United States, college-educated women like Jane Addams ran settlement houses. These settlement houses were community centers to serve the poor residents from the slums.
      • In the US and in Britain, woman began to wonder why their rights should be denied based on gender. The movement began in 1848 in the United States. Women activists around the world formed the International Council for Women in 1888. Delegates and observers from 27 countries attended in 1899.
    • Reforms Spread to Many Areas of Life
      • Reformers tried to fix problems everywhere in society. Public education and prison’s where 2 of the highest on the reform list.
      • Horace Mann of Massachusetts wanted free public education for all children. He warned that all children should be prepared to become good citizens and that if this was not done, the republic would be destroyed. Many states started public school systems in 1850. Western Europe adopted this practice in the late 1800s.
      • In 1831, the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville condemned the brutal American prisons, comparing them to the liberty of American society. The prison reformers wanted to give prisoners a way to live a meaningful and useful life after being released.
      • In the 1800s, democracy grew in industrialized countries as foreign expansion increased. These industrialized democracies began facing new challenges.


Nationalism became the most powerful force for change in the 1800s. The nationalist influence spread through Europe and America, creating and breaking up countries. In Europe, it eliminated the balance of power set up by the Congress of Vienna, affecting the lives of millions. Empires used to be made up of many different people – now, nationalist led the people to be free and govern themselves.

  • Nationalism: A Force for Unity or Disunity

    Nationalism started efforts to create nation-states. These nationalists were not loyal to kings, but to people like them, with similar backgrounds and cultures. These nationalists believed that people of one ancestry should be united. However, other conservatives believed that nationalism was a force for disunity.

    Soon, authoritarian leaders also began to see nationalism as a powerful force they could manipulate. They began to use the nationalist feelings for their advantage, building nation-states where they held power.


Types of Nationalist Movements







Merging of politically different put culturally similar lands.

19th century Germany
19th century Italy


Culturally distinct group resists being added to a state and tries to break free

Greeks in the Ottoman Empire
French-speaking Canadians


Culturally distinct groups form a new state by having a single culture.

The United States


  • Nationalism Shakes Aging Empires

    Three of the oldest empires – Austrian Empire, Russian Empire, and Ottoman Empire – had a large amount of ethnic groups. When nationalism emerged in the 19th century, the ethnic unrest forced these empires to collapse.

    • The Breakup of the Austrian Empire
      • The Austrian Empire included the Slovenes, Hungarians, Germans, Czechs, Slovaks, Croats, Poles, Serbs and Italians. Prussia defeated Austria in 1866. With this victory, Prussia began to rule over the North German Confederation, a group of Prussia and 21 other German political units. Under the pressure of the Hungarians, Emperor of Austria split his empire in half, declaring Austria and Hungary as separate states, both ruled by him. This new empire is called Austria-Hungary. Nationalism continued to weaken this empire until they completely split after World War I.
    • The Russian Empire Crumbles
      • Nationalism also helped destroy Russian czars which had ruled for 370 years. The czar ruled over the Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, and other small groups. Each group had its own culture.
      • The ruling Romanov dynasty tried to maintain control, starting “Russification”, forcing Russian culture upon all people. However, this policy ended up actually making ethnic nationalist feelings stronger and weakened Russia. This weak empire could not withstand WWI and the communist revolution, forcing the czar to give up his power in 1917.
    • The Ottoman Empire Weakens
      • The Turks ruled the Ottoman Empire, presiding over Greeks, Slavs, Arabs, Bulgarians, and Armenians. Under pressure from the British and French, the Ottomans decided to grant equal citizenship to all people in 1856. This measure angered conservative Turks who wanted to preserve the past. This new tension led to several incidents: in one, the Ottomans massacred and deported Armenians. Like Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire broke apart after World War I.
  • Case Study: Cavour Unites Italy

    Nationalism not only destroyed empires, it also built new ones. Italy was formed as a result of the nationalism. From 1815 to 1848, fewer Italians were willing to live with foreign rule.

    • Cavour Leads Italian Unification
      • The Italian nationalists got their leadership from Piedmont-Sardinia, the largest Italian state. The kingdom had a constitution ever since 1848, making them seem like the ideal choice to be unified under.
      • In 1852, Sardinia’s king, Victor Emmanuel decided to expand Piedmont-Sardinia. He used diplomacy and alliances to gain control of northern Italy.
      • Austria was the primary obstacle to the Sardinian takeover of northern Italy. He allied with Napoleon III of France, and their combined power quickly crushed the Austrians. Sardinia succeeded in taking over all of northern Italy except Venetia.
    • Garbaldi Brings Unity
      • While Victor Emmanuel (Cavour) was uniting northern Italy, he also secretly helped nationalist rebels in southern Italy. An army of southern Italian nationalists were led by Giuseppe Garibaldi to victory. These men always wore bright red shirts, becoming known as the Red Shirts. They captured Sicily.
      • After Sicily, Garibaldi and his men marched north and eventually agreed to unite the southern areas with Piedmont-Sardinia. Emmanuel met Garibaldi in Naples, and Garibaldi willingly gave the Sardinian king his power.
      • In 1866, Venetia joined Italy. In 1870, the forces took over the “Papal States”. Rome came under Italian control, eventually becoming the capital of Italy. However, the pope continued to govern “Vatican City”.
  • Case Study: Bismarck Unites Germany

    Germany achieved unity in the mid-1800s. Starting in 1815, 39 German states joined into a German Confederation, dominated by the Austrian Empire. However, Prussia wanted to take over all the German states.

    • Prussia Leads German Unification
      • Prussia had a mainly German population, leading nationalism to unify Prussia. Meanwhile, most people were being torn apart in Austria-Hungary. Also, Prussia’s army was the strongest in Central Europe. In 1848, Berlin rioters forced a constitutional convention to write a constitution, starting the people on the path to unification.
    • Bismarck Takes Control
      • In 1861, Wilhelm I gained control of the throne.
  • A Shift in Power

    The 1815 Congress of Vienna had created 5 great powers who were equal in strength: Britain, France, Russia, Austria, Prussia. However, the wars in the mid-1800s strengthened Prussia, who joined with other states to form Germany.

    By 1871, Britain and Germany were both extremely powerful military and economically. Austria and Russia were far behind. France was in the middle.