In Europe, the revolutionary transformation of the ruling systems
and state structures began with a bang: In 1789 the French
Revolution broke out in Paris, and its motto "Liberte, Egalite,
Fraternite"—Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood—took on an irrepressible
force. A fundamental reorganization of society followed the French
Revolution. The ideas behind the revolution were manifest in
Napoleon's Code Civil, which he imposed on many European nations.
The 19th century also experienced a transformation of society from
another source: The Industrial Revolution established within society
a poorer working class that stood in opposition to the merchant and
trading middle class. The nascent United States was shaken by an
embittered civil war. The economic growth that set in following that
war was accompanied by the development of imperialist endeavors and
its rise to the status of a Great Power.
Liberty Leading the People,
allegory of the 1830 July revolution that deposed the French
with Marianne as the personification of liberty,
contemporary painting by Eugene Delacroix.
The United States: Beginnings and Rise to World Power
The United States, spiritually still strongly rooted in the
European tradition, strove to develop its own identity. A foreign policy
of isolationism, manifested in the Monroe Doctrine, was implemented.
During the 19th century, the territory of the United States increased
through the purchase and annexation of land. After 1828 the differences
between the Southern and Northern states became increasingly apparent,
particularly over the issue of slave ownership. The Civil War from 1861
to 1865 traumatized the young country. Nevertheless, the Union was
preserved with the North's victory. After the Civil War, the country's
economic and technological ascent began. The entry of the United States
into World War I in 1917 signaled the abandonment of isolationism.
Statue of Liberty in Art
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