How did the Scientific Revolution set the stage for, or lead into, the Enlightenment?
The Scientific Revolution was a remarkable milestone in human history in the 16th and 17th centuries because it changed the way educated people perceived the world. It caused the worldview of Europe to move from a religious background to primarily secular. Nothing was accepted based on faith and superstition and beliefs were replaced by rational thinking (Outram, 2013). Therefore, the Scientific Revolution led to an era of critical analysis of the society, world and the universe in general fueled by optimism that the human mind could solve anything, in what is renowned as the Enlightenment.
The Scientific Revolution fostered the foundation of a new intellectual movement (Enlightenment) also known as the Age of Reason. The premise of the Enlightenment was to use natural law to evaluate and understand all societal aspects. As a result, Enlightenment leaders believed in the adoption and use of scientific methods to expound on human nature and the laws of the society. For instance, Thomas Hobbes applied experimental attitude towards nature in politics (Outram, 2013).
The Scientific Revolution led to the foundation of the Enlightenment values of individualism because the use of scientific studies of human anatomy demonstrated the power of the human mind. The power of human beings to use logic and reasoning to discern the truth and the ability of scientists to draw conclusions rather than adhering to instilled authority illustrated the worth of individuals (Reill, n.d). Therefore, the influence of science and a period philosophical activity limited the reliance on the traditional teachings of the Church.
The Age of Reason aimed at promoting social reforms by first challenging the aspects of theocracy and autocracy in the society that had remained dominant for centuries. The Enlightenment thinkers believed that science was one of the foremost fundament tools of initiating change (Reill, n.d). As a result, trade and mechanization replaced the traditional agrarian economies. Most importantly, the study of chemistry, physics, natural science, social science, and political science proved that anything could be studied using scientific knowledge.
In conclusion, the Scientific Revolution was a fundamental breakthrough in human history that led to the emergence of Enlightenment. The scientific understanding of the universe and society facilitated social reforms by using science as a tool to promote change. Therefore, individuals could rely on scientific data to draw conclusions instead of following the traditional doctrines of the Church.
What were the political and social impacts of 19th century industrialization?
The 19th-century industrialization had a tremendous social and political impact as the Western civilization transitioned from an agricultural society into an industrial society. The Industrial Revolution ended the dominance of agriculture as the main economic activity. The adoption of technological advancement through mechanization and factories implied increased production with minimal labor input (Horn, Rosenband, & Smith, 2010). As such, industrialization had a major turning point both politically and socially because it influenced the daily life of society.
Industrialization led to negative social impacts. One of the notable challenges of industrialization was poor working conditions. The working class comprised of 80% of the population but had a limited bargaining power in terms of wages, working hours and working condition (Horn, Rosenband, & Smith, 2010). This was because of the increased rural-urban migration in pursuit of employment. Factory workers ended up working for long hours without paid vacations or holidays. Similarly, occupational hazards, for instance, in the coal and steel industries risked workers' lives due to the lack of occupational safety measures.
Industrialization also led to the rise of child labor because of factory owners aimed at lowering the costs of production and maximizing profits. Factories pursued cheap labor leading to the exploitation of unskilled child workers. Due to mechanization, children could operate factory machines easily than adults. Furthermore, children were not eligible to join labor unions and bargain for salaries and wages. Industrialization also had positive social impacts. Women, who were formerly regarded as housewives were given an opportunity to work. As a result, the role of women changed in the households. Some women were even breadwinners in their respective families. On the other hand, industrialization led to urbanization leading to the growth of cities and urban areas essential for economic activities (Horn, Rosenband, & Smith, 2010).
Politically, industrialization led to the emergence of economic systems such as capitalism, socialism, communism, and mixed economies. The economic systems became major political factors that influenced the working of the government. Furthermore, the increased necessity for raw materials led to the rise of colonization to support industries. Likewise, urbanization led to the need for representation in government. Therefore, there was a political need to invest in infrastructural development such as roads, social amenities, hospitals, and schools (Horn, Rosenband, & Smith, 2010).
Conclusively, the 19th-century industrialization had mixed social and political impacts. Socially, industrialization led to urbanization, child labor, poor working conditions, poor living conditions due to overcrowding in cities, and the rise of the status quo. Nevertheless, there were positive impacts such as the changing role of women in working-class citizens. Politically, there was an emergence of economic systems and the need for government representation as well as ways of yielding taxes to support infrastructural development.
How did the Great Depression affect society and politics globally?
The Great Depression was the fiercest economic downturn in the 20th century that affected the industrialized world and lasted from 1929 to 1939. Most notably, the depression was a global phenomenon, unlike previous economic failures. The impacts of the Great Depression had far-reaching social and political outcomes. For instance, during the depression, international trade fell by 30% as countries engaged in protectionism to govern their industries (Rothermund, 2002). The Great Depression led to the fall of living standard, unemployment and radical or far-right political movements across the globe.
The Great Depression led to the rise of unemployment and the fall of wages. By the year 1932, an estimated 30 million people were unemployed leading to the fall of living standards and the rise of poverty (Rothermund, 2002). The lucky few who remained employed suffered from low wages. In the United States of America, wages fell by 42% leading to the loss of purchasing power among individuals (Rothermund, 2002). Life became difficult for people around the globe due to the inability of governments to contain the situation.
On the other hand, the Great Depression created a specter for political instability for the vulnerable and economically devastated populace. The rise of fascism and militarism, especially in German, Japan, and Italy led to the social and political uprising. The Nazi ascension to power under Adolf Hitler promised the populace that they would rebuild the economy. Therefore, fascism and militarism were adopted as a means of overcoming the Great Depression by invading states to source raw materials and domination.
The Great Depression also led to the rise of totalitarian communism. Joseph Stalin used totalitarian communism in the Soviet Union to grip on power. As such, he instituted a planned economy using collective ownership of means of production under government control. Other countries in Latin America such as Argentina adopted military dictatorship to suppress civilians as a means of fighting civil unrests due to low wages, inflation, and famine. Nevertheless, countries like the US, Canada, UK, Australia among others adopted welfare capitalism to ensure fair distribution of wealth and power (Rothermund, 2002).
In summation, the Great Depression was the greatest economic downturn in human history that led to far-reaching social and political consequences in the world. The depression led to a sharp rise in unemployment, poverty, low living standards, and civil unrests due to famine. Politically, fascism, militarism, totalitarian communism, and welfare capitalism emerged as a response to the depression. The civilians were vulnerable and ready to support political movements that they felt would resolve the economic crisis.
What were the results of decolonization, post-WWII?
In the period following WWII, a large part of the globe was in the hands of European powers widely renowned as established colonies. The age of exploration during the 19th century had made Western Europe invest heavily in divvying up resources, territories, and people from other continents (Kennedy, 2016). During the post-WWII era, decolonization was necessary to end the expanding imperial system by granting states independence and self-rule. Decolonization led to instability in post-colonial political systems, economic disparities, and a shifting power balance in the UN.
The process of decolonization led to the rise of political instability in newly-formed independent states. In some countries, decolonization was peaceful while others became independent by fighting and overthrowing their colonial masters. As such, there was a problem with the transition of power from the colonists to native political figures. Therefore, there was a rise in political and military dictatorship in certain states leading to long years of civil war. Furthermore, political instability was promoted by leadership greed between politicians who disagreed on how to form a new government independent from colonial powers.
The creation of new states altered the composition of the United Nations. By 1946, there were 35 member states but by 1970, the UN had 127 member countries (Kennedy, 2016). This new composition led to a change in the balance of power within the UN. Most of the new member states were developing economies that faced internal problems arising from their past colonial rule. As a result, these countries were suspicious of the UN and at times were at odds with the organization by advocating continued decolonization and independent political structures different from the Europeans.
During the post-WWII era, decolonization led to the emergence of economic disparity between western civilization and newly independent states. The colonists had exploited the resources of different countries and even developed some while others were left to fend for themselves. As a result, most of these countries, especially in Africa became the least developed nations with looming poverty and inequality in wealth and power distribution (Kennedy, 2016).
In conclusion, decolonization ended the 19th-century imperialism of divying territories, resources, and people. It also led to the creation of newly independent states. However, the consequences of decolonization were far-reaching because it led to the rise of political instability, economic instability and civil war in the new states. Furthermore, former colonies are experiencing a form of neo-colonialism in the 21st century.
Horn, J., Rosenband, L. N., & Smith, M. R. (2010). Reconceptualizing the Industrial Revolution. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Kennedy, D. (2016). Decolonization. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Outram, D. (2013). The Enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Reill, P. H. (n.d.). The Legacy of the "Scientific Revolution": Science and the Enlightenment. The Cambridge Histo...
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