B 2.4.3 Response to Exercise


Some significant events and pieces of writing in Western history, 1740 to 1960:

Mid 1700s  ‘The Enlightenment’ was at its peak: a new search for knowledge on the basis of human reason alone.

1776           American ‘Declaration of Independence’ from Britain

1789           French Revolution: an attempt to establish a radically new political system under the slogan ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’

1790           Edmund Burke publishes Reflections on the Revolution in France – the classic statement of political conservatism (small ‘c’).

1791/2       Thomas Paine publishes The Rights of Man – in response to Burke, a defence of the principles of the French Revolution

1792           Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

C18–C19     Wilberforce and Clapham Sect campaign against the slave trade (outlawed 1808) and slavery (outlawed 1833)

C19             Spread of nationalist political thinking in Europe

1848           Attempted liberal/nationalist revolutions in several countries

1848           Marx and Engels publish The Communist Manifesto

1859           John Stuart Mill publishes On Liberty – the principal statement of British political liberalism

1864           Pope Pius IX, ‘Syllabus of Errors’   Strong anti-modern reaction

c.1850-1900  Formation of socialist political movements throughout Europe

1870-71     Nationalist movements bring unification of Italy and Germany

1891           Pope Leo XIII issues Rerum Novarum   This addresses the condition of industrial workers, arguing against both laissez-faire liberalism and socialism, and in favour of employers guaranteeing just working conditions and wages, and of the formation of Christian trade unions.

Late C19-C20  Beginnings of the ‘welfare state’ in Germany, NZ, Britain, etc.

1910           Emergence of Christian Ecumenical Movement: Edinburgh Conference

1914-18     The ‘Great War’, now usually called the First World War

1917           Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and start of the Communist or ‘Soviet’ regime

1920s-30s  Rise of fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany

1929-30s    Great Crash and Great Depression in world economy

1939-1945  Second World War, including genocide of the Jews

1945           The USA uses the atomic bomb against Japan

1945           Establishment of Communist governments in most eastern and central European countries, mostly under Russian control

1949           Establishment of Communist regime in China

1945-60s   Extension of ‘the welfare state’ in many developed countries

1945-89    ‘Cold War’ between Western powers and Soviet Russia

1940s-60s  End of European imperial control of much of Africa and S. Asia

This is of course a very selective list and you may well have thought of other things that may reasonably be judged to be as significant as the above.  Of course, this depends on what counts as historically ‘significant’ – you can study this in Module A, Unit 8.  As stated at the top, the main way the list is selective is that it is ‘Western’.  Indeed it is focused on Europe’s history.  It is ‘Eurocentric’ because it is especially events in Europe that affected the emergence of modern CST.


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