Olympe de Gouges: she was a French political activist and playwright whose abolitionist and feminist writing reached a large audience. Her play writing career began in the early 1780s at a time when France experienced increased political tension. She immediately became an advocate for improving the conditions of slaves in French colonies and also began writing political pamphlets. She is known in history as among the first feminist who demanded that French women be awarded equal rights as French men. In her text “Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizen” written in 1971, Olympe de Gouges challenged the notion of male-female inequality and the practice of male dominance.
Factory Act of 1833: this concept was explained R. W Taylor in the text “The Factory System” revealing that it was an attempt to establish a normal working day in the textile manu8faturing industry. The Act proposed that a normal working day was to begin at 0530 hrs and end at 2030hrs. Adolescents were not to be employed beyond periods of twelve hours while children aged 9-13 were not to be employed beyond periods of nine hours. Employment of the identified group was all together prohibited during the night. This act was important in history for defining the working hours of any industry. It was the starting point for workers to form unions and fight for better working conditions.
1848 Revolutions: these were a series of republican revolts that began in Italy and spread throughout Europe against European monarchies that ended up in failure and repression. The bad ending in the revolutions lead to widespread disillusionment among liberals. The revolutions were in the form of Chartist demonstration, peaceful reforms and democratic rebellions. In history, the revolutions are notable for being successful in France alone whereby the universal manhood and second republic were established though controversies between partisans of “republique democratique et sociale” and supporters of “republique democratique” lead to workers rebellion in 1848.
The Communist Manifesto: this was an 1848 political publication written by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. The manifesto presents an analytical approach to the present and historical class struggle and the issues associated with capitalism instead of a prediction of the potential future forms of communism. The test discusses Engel’s and Marx’s theories about the nature of politics and the society and features the idea of how the present capitalist society would in the end be replaced by socialism and finally communism. The manifesto is important in history as one of the most influential political manuscripts.
The Balkan Wars: these were two conflicts that occurred in south east Europe in 1912 and 1913. The conflicts were as a result of incomplete emergence of nation states on the European territory that was part of the Ottoman Empire. 4 Balkan states emerged victorious in the first war while Bulgaria one of the four states was defeated in the second war. It is recorded in history that the Ottoman Empire nearly lost all its territories in Europe and the wars triggered the Balkan crisis of 1914 which lead to world 1.
Saigo Takamori: he was given the name “the last true samurai” having been identified as the most influential samurai in the Japanese history. Saigo was noted for his persistent conservatism and an early opponent of the Tokugawa shogunate. Despite being exiled for five years, he returned to Japan to train Satsuma warriors. He was involved in the Meiji Restorations and while in government, he opposed the westernization of Japan and advocated for war with Korea. When his ideas were rejected, he led the Satsuma revolt and was defeated. He later became a symbol of devotion to principle.
Meiji Restoration: this was a political revolution in the history of Japan that led to the defeat of the Tokugawa shogunate and restored the country to the direct control of imperial rule under the leadership of Emperor Meiji. The restoration is important in history as it was the beginning of the Meiji period characterized by major political, social and economic transformation leading to the westernization and modernization of Japan (1869-1912).
Commodore Matthew Perry: known as “the father of the steam Navy in the United States” he is notes for serving in several wars including the war of 1812 and the Mexican-American war. History acknowledges Matthew’s role in opening of Japan to the west citing the convention of Kanagawa in 1854. He was also involved in the education of naval officers and assisted in the development of an apprentice system that helped established a learning curriculum at the US Naval Academy.
The Schlieffen Plan: the plan was designed by Germany’s army chief of staff as a strategy that would enable Germany counter a joint attack on France and Russia. The plan involved Germany using ninety percent of its armed forces to attack France while the rest of army would take defensive positions to counter the expected Russian attack. The plan was however not successful but the retreat of German soldiers to construct trenches between the North Sea to the Swiss Frontier ended the war.
Dunkirk Evacuation and the Battle of Britain: it was during the beginning of WWII when the Nazi troops seemed unstoppable. The British Expeditionary Force retreated to Dunkirk and successfully evacuated over 300,000 troops. The battle of Britain was primarily fought over the skies of England to repel the German invasion and was successful.
Europe has had a long history of colonial rule around the globe and their empire building endeavors began in the 1500s. In the late 1800s, East Asia was the focus of European imperial drive. Both China and Japan at first resisted western intervention following long standing policies off isolating foreign diplomats and merchants. This is because both were strong to resist attempts of complete domination. China is notable for its vast resources but its sovereignty was undercut by Europeans as they set up businesses, imposed trade rules, controlled territories and even administered functions of governments. Japan on the other hand was also forced to open up to trade with the west but it quickly transformed its economic and political institutions to be recognized by the world in its own way. This essay explores why China and Japan responded differently to the influence of the west.
In 1853, four ships led by Commodore Matthew Perry docked at Tokyo Bay in a bid to establish for the first time what came to be over two hundred years of regular trade and interaction between Japan and the west. During the Opium war, Japan realized Chinese weakness and signed treaties with the United States and several other European nations in 1854. During this time, the Japanese sought western knowledge in order to better defend themselves against the same influence. Japan’s reaction to the west was quick modernization following the Meiji Restoration which ensured that they did not fall behind the Europeans. The quick transformation was successful characterized by setting up of railroads, textile mills and other industries lead to Japan being treated equally together with other European nations. It is during this time that the Japan’s prestige rose and its nationalism increased up to tenfold (Bentley, 2005). Japan was not impressed by the European influence in Asia. There was a need to create a plan that would rid Asia of all European influence. Japan wanted to unite Asians under Japanese rule. It is this plan that led to World War II. However, it was ironic that Japan treated their conquest badly than their counterparts, the westerner. Their plan to rid Asia of the western influence was successful but it triggered the Asians to fight against the west for independence in the Indochina war.
China on the other hand reacted in a different way to the influence of the west. There strategy was to embrace western advancements and no sooner had the nation became powerful they set out to kick out the westerners. The most outstanding event was when China compulsory led Britain out of Hong Kong. Western influence is the motive why there is mistrust between China and the west up to the present date. China’s is recorded in history as being a failed state in the early 20th century following their disadvantageous relations with the west. The fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912 left a monstrous political vacuum in China following a population explosion, periodic famines, peasant unrest and rebellious secret societies (Mungello, 2013). It was after the Opium war in which the British won that China opened trading ports to the west. This led to the western powers scrambling for privileges from China leading several uprisings and rebellions that tore the nation apart in the 1950’s. Some Chinese advocates for the adoption of western military strategies to strengthen China while others supported the old order and resisted any efforts to change. In the midst of these controversies China was weakened and it could not resist Japanese and western powers efforts to seek concessions and favors. This historical memory continues to dominate the national consciousness of contemporary China. In the 19th century, many Chinese civilians went to the west to study and they adopted western ideas, reforms, science and technology. China has risen to a great power in the present day and this is attributed to a vibrant dynamic culture that continues to unfold.
Bentley, J. H. (2005). Interactions: Transregional perspectices on world history. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Mungello, D. E. (2013). The great encounter of China and the West, 1500-1800. Lanham, [Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.