Book Review: ‘Homeland,’ by R.A. Salvatore

Homeland2It’s taken far too long for me to get around to reading R.A. Salvatore in a comprehensive manner. I have vague memories of reading The Thousand Orcs at some point as a young child, but I didn’t really pursue the wider series, for whatever reason. Nearly a decade later, and I’ve finally gotten around to starting the series chronologically, with Homeland.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It’s a much older style of fantasy than much of what I’ve been reading recently. By this, I mean that it includes a number of the tropes which might called ‘classics’. I do enjoy twists on well-established tropes, as is becoming increasingly common in more recent fantasy, but every now and again, reading ‘classics’ is very enjoyable. In the case of Homeland, and the Dark Elf Trilogy in general, the books are also considerably shorter than more modern fantasy books, which makes them incredibly manageable and easy to get through.

I enjoyed the characters a lot, as well as the new world described by Salvatore. Having read The Thousand Orcs, I had vague notions of where Drizzt was headed, and it was fantastic to see his ‘origin story’. Having said that, I had an issue with Dark Elf society. It was incredibly dark, which normally I’m a fan of, but in this case, it seems a little too dark. After a little thought, it seems like an incredibly impractical society. Due to the book being enjoyable and short, I loved the society, but once I had finished, I had time to stop and consider, and ended up picking holes.

Overall though, a very enjoyable and nostalgic book.

‘Homeland,’ by R.A. Salvatore is the first in The Dark Elf Trilogy.

Advertisements

Compare and contrast the state-building policies of Austria and Prussia between 1849 and 1866/71

This essay achieved a high 2:1 in the second year of my undergraduate.

Compare and contrast the state-building policies of Austria and Prussia between 1849 and 1866/71

The period between 1849 and 1866/71 is one of significance for both the Austrian and Prussian states. Simultaneously a phase of imperial growth for Prussia and decline for the Habsburgs, there are differing arguments as to the reasons for this, ranging from Prussian domination of the Zollverein to the opinion that it was the Austrian Empire was suffering from a degree of imperial overstretch.[1] The definition of ‘state-building’ is of course open to interpretation. For the purposes of this essay, ‘state-building’ policies will be considered those that benefit the state. Infrastructure or domestic, economic, political and foreign policies are all areas which might be considered among those used for state-building purposes. Although there are several common themes to both Austrian and Prussian state-building in this period, and most have to do with the so-called ‘German Question,’ it seems more efficient to split Austrian and Prussian policy into smaller areas so as to consider each more closely.

In the area of infrastructure policies, potentially the most obviously associated with state-building, it is difficult to compare the two nations, as there were very few similarities, if any. In Prussia, the focus was on promoting obedience to the state, for which the Protestant church was used merely as a tool. The attitude to education in Austria by contrast was surprisingly liberal, as shown by Thun’s reforms in the early 1850s.[2] This initial liberalism was massively counteracted in 1855 by the Concordat with Rome, which gave the Catholic church far more latitude in the application of education, and is described by Macartney as the closest the Austrian government came to returning to pre-1848 conditions.[3]

The Prussian government structure did not change a massive amount over the period, while the Habsburg administrative structure changed at least temporarily under Bach in the early 1850s – into that of a unitary state. [4] Inevitably, this caused a certain degree of ‘germanisation,’ which caused more domestic problems than it solved, and led to the ‘Ausgleich’ with Hungary of 1867.[5] All of these contrasts are down to the fact that Prussia had a large majority of one ethnicity, language and religion -that of German Protestants- while the Austrian Empire was made up of a myriad of nationalities and ethnicities, and her peoples spoke a similar number of different languages, which caused issues both financial and otherwise.[6]

The two states’ economic policies are therefore the first areas in which comparisons can be drawn. At least initially, both Prussian and Austrian statesmen recognised the importance of state-owned railways, and thus sponsored their construction.[7] Even if Prussian railway building outstripped Austria, and later proved decisive in the 1866 war, it seems prudent to compare the states, as it emphasises just how important railways were considered as modes of transport for goods and troops alike.[8] Bruck’s championing of the Austrian state railways was not the only way in which he attempted to emulate the Prussian economic system. He attempted to remove the internal trade barriers, and promoted liberal trade in general, against the prior protectionist tendencies of the Habsburg Empire.[9]

The final and potentially most significant way in which the Austrian and Prussian economic policies were alike was their recognition of the importance of the Zollverein. The impact of the Zollverein on the economic fortunes of the two states would seem to be undeniable, and this is evidenced by the repeated Austrian attempts to gain membership in the union, and the corresponding Prussian defence of its dominance.[10] In short, the Habsburg government recognised that the Prussian economic development was the way in which Austria should proceed, and attempted to enact similar policies. It is arguably due to the noted differing domestic situations of the two states that they enjoyed far more success in Prussia and the German Confederation than they did in the multiethnic Habsburg Empire.

As in the other aspects of state-building policies, it is easy to contrast the two economies, mainly due to the fact that the Prussian liberal tendencies with regards to trade were somewhat more inherent than in Austria.[11] The Habsburg policies following the disruption of the Crimean War between 1853 and 1856 were largely protectionist, promoting instead a large, internal domestic market,[12] something which arguably kept Austria out of the Zollverein,[13] kept her industrially underdeveloped and financially weak,[14] and arguably was brought about by state monopolies.[15] Rightly recognised as a cause of economic stagnation, it contrasts greatly with the growth displayed in Prussia in the 1850s.[16] Many argue that this growth was due to the combination of state-run industries, such as coal in the Saar, Ruhr and Silesia regions, steel and pig iron,[17] and the aforementioned liberal trade restrictions. The same freedom of entrepreneurship was only introduced in Austria as part of wider industrial reforms in 1859, acting as a strong example of the economic differences between Austria and Prussia.[18]

One of the themes of not just the Austrian state-building policies, but also the entire period was Austria trying to either gain entry to or unite with the Zollverein.[19] This school of thought was once again championed by Bruck, and his ideas of an economic ‘Mitteleuropa,’[20] and certain of his statements revealed just how highly he valued membership in the Zollverein.[21] The contrast drawn between this policy and that of Prussia is that Prussia simply protected its dominance of the customs union, brought about by an economy already shown as having been growing in strength, rightly recognising its significance not just economically but also politically.[22] The economic policies of both of the empires were important for their state-building designs, as a strong economy would have given a solid basis for domestic consolidation.

Immediately following the 1848 revolutions, both Prussia and Austria were in similar positions politically, both having comparatively liberal constitutions in place,[23] having had comparable experiences of revolution in their respective capitals. Similarly, in the years following 1849, both constitutions suffered significant conservative reforms: in the Habsburg Empire there came the Sylvester Patent in 1851,[24] while in Prussia there was a more subtle decree regarding the state prosecutors, and a liberally-supported revision to move from universal franchise to a three-class franchise system.[25] This essentially secured a conservative majority,[26] something considered of benefit to the Prussian state.

Both states then endured a period of political stagnation which lasted almost a decade. While this led to dissatisfied minorities in the Habsburg Empire,[27] Prussia had no such problems, and the state was left free to focus on economic development, something potentially more important for her in terms of achieving her aims.[28] The next real political reforms in Austria did not come in until after 1860, with the October Diploma and the February Patent of 1860 and 1861 respectively,[29] and the next point at which politics came to the fore in Prussia was in 1860, over the military reforms of Moltke, which led to the infamous ‘constitutional gap.’[30] This would seem to show the affinity shared by the conservative state in both Prussia and Austria, their reluctance to diverge from pre-1848 attitudes, and the resultant conservatism inherent of any contemporary state-building.

The contrasts between the two political systems are striking. As already noted, the Prussian executive was somewhat more subtle in re-instituting absolutism than the Habsburgs. This meant that when they were faced with a constitutional crisis in 1862, following Bismarck’s handling of the military reforms, it showed just how resilient the Prussian state could be.[31] Especially poignant when compared with the result of Austrian political difficulties in 1867,[32] it emphasises the contrasting levels of success of political state-building in the two nations. The other main area in which Prussia succeeded where Austria failed was in the political reformation of the German Confederation. Although Prussia did suffer some setbacks, most notably with the Union Plan in 1849,[33] Austria enjoyed no success whatsoever in reorganising the Confederation. By contrast, Prussia under Bismarck was able to –with the aid of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866- force through reforms for the federal constitution, and the introduction of universal manhood suffrage, both of which were viewed as the best way to integrate the new states of the North German Confederation.[34] The appearance at least of a liberal state meant that the southern German states were far more receptive to Prussian diplomacy in the years between 1866 and the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, making the transition from ‘Prussian state’ to ‘German nation’ a smoother one.

While foreign policy may seem by its nature an area not overly related with state-building, it was in fact crucial in both Prussian and Austrian efforts to consolidate in the period following the 1848 revolutions. The comparisons that can be drawn between the respective foreign policies of Austria and Prussia are few, but significant. For example, both states had the established aim of gaining dominance in the German Confederation.[35] The proposal of the Erfurt Union in 1849[36] and the defence of the Zollverein[37] both show Prussian intentions. Dominance in Germany was also mentioned by Schwarzenberg, Buol and Rechberg,[38] and arguably shown as an aim by their repeated efforts to join the Zollverein.[39]

Austrian foreign policy is an area subject to historiographical debate, with questions asked about Schwarzenberg’s time as minister-president. Traditionally portrayed as conducting aggressive foreign policy throughout his time in office, there is a lot of support for this viewpoint,[40] although more recently this has been challenged, particularly by Austensen.[41] Others attribute the aggressive Austrian foreign policy to other factors, including the influence of Metternich and Prokesch.[42] Inevitably, this should be contrasted with the non-confrontational nature of the contemporary Prussian foreign policy, as shown by the acceptance of the ‘humiliation’ at Olmütz in 1850.[43] Another obvious point at which to contrast the Prussian and Habsburg foreign policies is the handling of the Crimean War between 1853 and 1856. Prussian absolute neutrality ensured that, while it did not endear her to either Britain or France, she did not alienate Russia.[44] The contrast with the Austrian policy of pro-western ‘armed neutrality’ and attempted mediation is stark. Not doing enough to raise her standing with Britain and France, she simultaneously succeeded in losing Russia as an ally.[45]

Consistent themes ran through both Prussian and Austrian foreign policy following the Crimean War. For Austria, the priority was securing Austro-Prussian cooperation in the face of the revolutionary threats posed in Hungary and Italy.[46] In a sense, Austrian policy was also contradictory, as it aimed not to cooperate with Prussia, but also prevent any significant expansion.[47] In direct opposition to this, Prussia under Bismarck was concerned mainly with diplomatically isolating Austria, as is shown by the support offered to Russia during the Polish uprising of 1863, and the alliance formed with Italy in early 1866.[48] This in turn exposed the possibility of a Prussian military victory over Austria, and the potential for expansion in the German Confederation.

As has been shown there are far more contrasts to draw between Austrian and Prussian state-building than there are comparisons, and this is exemplified by the ability of Prussia to inflict a military defeat on Austria in the war of 1866. Although a few comparisons have been pointed out, it seems that Austria was trying to catch up with Prussia in all fields following the initial liberalist tendencies resulting from the 1848 revolutions. The economic policies and resultant growth provided the Prussian state with the tools it required to strengthen itself and its army, which was undoubtedly crucial in the victory over Austria at Königgratz. Perhaps the easiest way to explain it is to say that Austria was busy attempting to return to the Concert Europe of 1815, while Prussia was able to adapt to the new social, economic and political conditions following the Springtime of the Peoples.

Word Count (including title): 2,934

[1] E. Dorn Brose, German History 1789-1871: From The Holy Roman Empire to the Bismarckian Reich (Oxford, 1997), p.271

[2] C.A. Macartney, ‘The Austrian Empire and its Problems, 1848-67,’ in ed. J.P.T. Bury, The New Cambridge Modern History vol.X: The Zenith of European Power 1830-1870 (Cambridge, 1964), p.530.

[3] C.A. Macarteny, ‘The Austrian Empire,’ p.533, see also, D. Blackbourn, The Fontana History of Germany, 1780-1918: The Long Nineteenth Century (London, 1997), p.229.

[4] E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem of Reform in the German Confederation, 1851-1863,’ The American Historical Review 56 (1951), pp.276-94, C.A. Macartney, ‘The Austrian Empire,’ p.531, R. Austensen, ‘Austria and the “Struggle for Supremacy in Germany” 1848-1864,’ The Journal of Modern History 52 (1980), p.199.

[5] C.A. Macartney, ‘The Austrian Empire,’ p.533.

[6] R. Elrod, ‘Realpolitik or Concert Diplomacy: The debate over Austrian Foreign Policy in the 1860s,’ Austrian History Yearbook 17 (1981), p.87, E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ pp.279, 280, C.A. Macartney, ‘The Austrian Empire,’ pp.533, 535, 537-8.

[7] For Prussia, see D. Blackbourn, The Fontana History, pp.184-5, E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.270, J. Breuilly, ‘Revolution to Unification,’ in ed. J. Breuilly, Nineteenth-century Germany: Politics, Culture and Society 1780-1918 (London, 2001), p.140, and J. Joll, ‘Prussia and the German Problem, 1830-66,’ in ed. J.P.T. Bury, The New Cambridge Modern History vol.X: The Zenith of European Power 1830-1870 (Cambridge, 1964) p.505, and for Austria see D. Blackbourn, The Fontana History, p.232, E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.269.

[8] E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.270.

[9] R. Austensen, ‘Austria and the “Struggle for Supremacy,”’ p.199, E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.269, R. Elrod, ‘Realpolitik,’ p.86, C.A. Macartney, ‘The Austrian Empire,’ pp.534-5.

[10] E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ pp.276, 280, 286, 290, R. Elrod, ‘Realpolitik,’ pp.89-91,

[11] J. Joll, ‘Prussia and the German Problem,’ p.505.

[12] E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.269

[13] E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ p.282.

[14] M.S. Anderson, The Ascendancy of Europe 1815-1914 (Harlow & London, 2003), p.20.

[15] J. Joll, ‘Prussia and the German Problem,’p.505.

[16] M.S. Anderson, The Ascendancy of Europe, p.24.

[17] D. Blackbourn, The Fontana History, p.185, J. Joll, ‘Prussia and the German Problem,’ p.505, J. Breuilly, ‘Revolution to Unification,’ p.140, H.W. Koch, A History of Prussia (London & New York, 1978), p.242.

[18] M.S. Anderson, The Ascendancy of Europe, p.24, D. Blackbourn, The Fontana History, p.232.

[19]E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ p.278.

[20] W.O. Henderson, The Zollverein (Cambridge, 1939), p.203, E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ p.278, E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.272.

[21] See Bruck, cited in W.O. Henderson, The Zollverein, p.211.

[22] E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ p.282, E. Dorn Brose, German History, pp.271, 284.

[23] C.A. Macartney, ‘The Austrian Empire,’ p.526.

[24] D. Blackbourn, The Fontana History, p.226, R. Austensen, ‘Austria and the “Struggle for Supremacy,”’ p.200.

[25] H.W. Koch, A History of Prussia, p.243, E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.265.

[26] H.W. Koch, A History of Prussia, p.243.

[27] C.A. Macartney, ‘The Austrian Empire,’ pp.542-5.

[28] J. Joll, ‘Prussia and the German Problem,’ p.505.

[29] E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ p.281, C.A. Macartney, ‘The Austrian Empire,’ pp.542-5.

[30] G.A. Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army 1640-1945 (Oxford, 1955), pp.136-7, J. Joll, ‘Prussia and the German Problem,’ pp.509-11, E. Dorn Brose, German History, pp.279-80, D. Blackbourn, The Fontana History, pp.240-1, J. Breuilly, ‘Revolution to unification,’ p.143, W.E. Mosse, The European Powers, p.104, H.W. Koch, A History of Prussia, p.248.

[31] J. Breuilly, ‘Revolution to unification,’ p.144, W.E. Mosse, The European Powers, p.104, D. Blackbourn, The Fontana History, p.241, G.A. Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army, pp.136-7, J. Joll, ‘Prussia and the German Problem,’ pp.509-11.

[32] E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ p.280, C.A. Macartney, ‘The Austrian Empire,’ p.550.

[33] E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.274, H.W. Koch, A History of Prussia, p.243, W.E. Mosse, The European Powers, pp.39-40.

[34] J. Breuilly, ‘Revolution to unification,’ p.520, J. Joll, ‘Prussia and the German Problem,’ p.520.

[35] E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ p.276.

[36]H.W. Koch, A History of Prussia, p.243, E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.274.

[37]E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.284

[38] R. Austensen, ‘The Making of Austrian Prussian Policy, 1848-52,’ Historical Journal 27 (1984), pp.861-76, R. Austensen, ‘Austria and the “Struggle for Supremacy,”’ pp.195-225.

[39] W.O. Henderson, The Zollverein, p.203, E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ p.278, E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.272.

[40] See R. Austensen, ‘Austria and the “Struggle for Supremacy,”’ pp.198, 207, R. Elrod, ‘Realpolitik,’ p.85, A.J.P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe (Oxford, 1954), p.22, H. J. Schoeps, Von Olmütz nach Dresden1850-1851: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Reformen am deutschen Bund, Veröffentlichungen aus den Archive preussicher Kulturbesitz VII (Cologne and Berlin, 1972), pp.46-9, 153, 154 and H. Böhme, Deutschlands Weg zur Grossnacht: Studien zum Verhältnis von Wirtschaft und Staat während der Reichsgründungszeit 1848-1881 (Cologne and Berlin, 1966), pp.8, 14, 15 cited in R. Austensen, ‘The Making of Austrian Prussian Policy,’ p.862.

[41] R. Austensen, ‘Austria and the “Struggle for Supremacy,”’ p.219.

[42] E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.274, R. Austensen, ‘The Making of Austrian Prussian Policy,’ pp.865-7.

[43] H.W. Koch, A History of Prussia, p.243, E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.274.

[44] J. Breuilly, ‘Revolution to unification,’ p.141, H.W. Koch, A History of Prussia, p.246, W.E. Mosse, The European Powers, p.56, G.A. Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army, p.133

[45] M.S. Anderson, The Ascendancy of Europe, p.19, E.E. Kraehe, ‘Austria and the Problem,’ p.280, J. Breuilly, ‘Revolution to unification,’ p.141, E. Dorn Brose, German History, p.275.

[46] R. Elrod, ‘Realpolitik,’ pp.89-91, R. Austensen, ‘Austria and the “Struggle for Supremacy,”’ pp.211, 216-7, R. Austensen, ‘The Making of Austrian Prussian Policy,’ pp.861, 866-7, 874-6.

[47] H. Rumpler, ‘Österreich – Ungarn und die Gründung des deutschen Reiches,’ in ed. E. Kolb, Europa und die Reichgründung: Preussen-Deutschland in der Sicht der grossen europäischen Mächte 1860-1880 (Munich 1980), pp.144-5, cited in R. Austensen, ‘The Making of Austrian Prussian Policy,’ p.861.

[48] For the Polish uprising see J. Breuilly, ‘Revolution to unification,’ pp.144-5, W.E. Mosse, The European Powers, p.110, H.W. Koch, A History of Prussia, p.246, and for details of the alliance with Italy see J. Breuilly, ‘Revolution to unification,’ pp.147-8, H.W. Koch, A History of Prussia, p.247.

Bibliography

Anderson, M. S., The Ascendancy of Europe 1815-1914 (Harlow & London, 2003)

Austensen, R., ‘Austria and the “Struggle for supremacy in Germany” 1848-1864,’ The Journal of Modern History 52 (1980), pp.195-225

Austensen, R., ‘The Making of Austrian Prussian Policy, 1848-52,’ The Historical Journal 27 (1984), pp.861-76

Böhme, H., Deutschlands Weg zur Grossnacht: Studien zum Verhältnis von Wirtschaft und Staat während der Reichsgründungszeit 1848-1881 (Cologne and Berlin, 1966)

Blackbourn, D. The Fontana History of Germany 1780-1918: The Long Nineteenth Century (London, 1997)

Breuilly, J., ‘Revolution to Unification,’ in ed. J. Breuilly, Nineteenth-Century Germany: Politics, Culture and Society 1780-1918 (London, 2001)

Craig, G. A., The Politics of the Prussian Army 1640-1945 (Oxford, 1955)

Dorn Brose, E., German History 1789-1871: From the Holy Roman Empire to the Bismarckian Reich (Oxford, 1997)

Elrod, R., ‘Realpolitik or Concert Diplomacy: The debate over Austrian Foreign Policy in the 1860s,’ Austrian History Yearbook 17 (1981) pp.84-97

Enderink, S. F. W., ‘Austria and Prussia: German Unification in the nineteenth century,’ Comparative History (June, 2010)

Evans, R. J. W., Austria, Hungary, and the Habsburgs: Essays on Central Europe, c.1683-1867 (New York, 2006)

Green, A., Fatherlands: State-Building and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Cambridge, 2001)

Hawgood, J. A., ‘Liberalism and Constitutional Developments,’ in ed. J. P. T. Bury, The New Cambridge Modern History vol. X: The Zenith of European Power 1830-1870 (Cambridge, 1964), pp.185-212

Henderson, W. O., The Zollverein (Cambridge, 1939)

Joll, J., ‘Prussia and the German Problem, 1830-66,’ in ed. J. P. T. Bury, The New Cambridge Modern History vol. X: The Zenith of European Power 1830-1870 (Cambridge, 1964), pp.493-521

Koch, H. W., A History of Prussia (London & New York, 1978)

Kolb, E., Europa und die Reichgründung: Preussen-Deutschland in der Sicht der grossen europäischen Mächte 1860-1880 (Munich 1980)

Kraehe, E. E., ‘Austria and the Problem of Reform in the German Confederation, 1851-1863,’ The American Historical Review 56 (1951), pp.276-94

Macartney, C. A., ‘The Austrian Empire and its Problems, 1848-67,’ in ed. J. P. T. Bury, The New Cambridge Modern History vol. X: The Zenith of European Power 1830-1870 (Cambridge, 1964), pp.522-51

Mosse, W. E., The European Powers and the German Question, 1848-71: With Special Reference to England and Russia (Cambridge, 1958)

Schoeps, H. J., Von Olmütz nach Dresden1850-1851: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Reformen am deutschen Bund, Veröffentlichungen aus den Archive preussicher Kulturbesitz VII (Cologne and Berlin, 1972)

Schroeder, P. W., ‘Austro-German Relations: Divergent Views of the Disjoined Partnership,’ Central European History 11 (1978), pp.302-12

Showalter, D., The Wars of German Unification (New York, 2004)

Siemann, W., ‘The Revolutions of 1848-1849 and the persistence of the old regime in Germany (1848-1850),’ in ed. J. Breuilly, Nineteenth-Century Germany: Politics, Culture and Society 1780-1918 (London, 2001)

Simms, B., The Struggle for Mastery in Germany, 1779-1850 (New York, 1998)

Taylor, A. J. P., The Struggle for Mastery in Europe (Oxford, 1954)

Feedback:

68%

All the following feedback is rated on the following scale: Outstanding-Excellent-Good-Competent-Pass-Fail.

Breadth of Reading: Good

Critical approach to historiography: Excellent-Good

Focus on question: Good

Organization of the material: Good-Competent

Depth of understanding and insight: Excellent-Good

Use of examples: Good

Introduction and Conclusion: Excellent-Good

Factual accuracy: Excellent

Comprehensiveness of coverage: Good

Fluent and correct English: Excellent-Good

Accurate spelling/proof reading: Good

Sources cited correctly: Competent-Pass

General Comments and Advice: This was a very good essay which showed a lot of engagement and thinking. Your comparisons were well made but a stronger overall argument would have been good for structuring the essay. The individual discussions of the various points were very well done and your conclusion shows you had a good overall argument. In general, your footnotes were good, though you don’t reference materials you have not read directly.

 

 

How feasible were the goals of the 1848 revolutionaries?

This essay achieved a high 2:2 (58%) in the first year of my undergraduate.

How feasible were the goals of the 1848 revolutionaries?

To decide whether or not the goals of the 1848 revolutionaries were feasible or not, it must first be defined. A common definition for feasible is “easily or conveniently achievable,”[1] and by this definition the revolutionary aims of 1848 were anything but feasible due mainly to the strength of the opposing conservative forces. There is however disagreement about what the overall aims of the 1848 revolutionaries were: in part a result of the historiography of the period; however the sheer number of different contemporary revolutions also means that it is highly unlikely that they all had the same goals. The historiography of the period is such that some historians (including most up until 1980) follow the Marxist[2] idea that the revolutions of 1848 were “wars of progress.”[3] In opposition to this view however are those challenging Marx, the main idea of which is the ‘unimportance of the workers’[4].

The debate about what the goals of the revolutionaries were can be broadly divided into ideological goals (such as those regarding social and political reform) and practical goals, which were more concerned with the need for food (following widespread failed harvests in 1846/7), or with petty revenge. Normally the more complex ideological goals were far less feasible than the simpler, shorter term practical goals. Very generally, the people in rural environments were less ideological in their aims in 1848, as is shown particularly in the German Confederation, with the unrest in the town of Wiesbaden and the state of Württemberg, where “peasants stormed the residence of the lord and destroyed it, along with records of dues and services owed.”[5] As well as this, there are several instances elsewhere of similarly insignificant goals (in terms of the entire country), as unrest in certain areas of central Europe and Italy originated with “dwindling access to forested lands in which communities had found fuel, pasture and other goods.”[6] This clearly shows that the ‘peasants’ were far more concerned with what they could gain in the short term (or at least, easily) than with grand ideas of political and social reform.

To think of these disturbances as having aims however might be incorrect; it is probable that a lot of what happened was purely spontaneous – set off by the urban uprisings (“once peasants were confident that they could act without risk.”[7]), with very little in the way of planned objectives. Whenever the aims were decided, they were certainly feasible (or more than the ideological goals at least), due to the overwhelming mass of support for the cause in (very regionalist) rural areas (for example, the mob in Wiesbaden was said to have numbered some 30,000[8]) and the fact that it was very difficult to control uprisings outside of the political centres, mainly because of the fact that it was a comparatively (to cities) large area, which “many regimes still had only a tenuous hold on…”[9]

In opposition to this however, is the more stereotypical imagery of the 1848 revolutions: of the revolts in the urban centres (and most importantly those in the capital cities). These urban centres included the likes of Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, Venice and Milan, as well as arguably the starting point of the others: Paris.[10] The aims of these urban revolutions were, by and large far more ideological, focusing more on political and social reform than their rural counterparts. It is for this reason that the urban revolutionaries had an extremely difficult (and therefore unfeasible) task; the attitudes towards change, reform and especially revolution had only become more negative between 1789 and 1848. The evidence for these attitudes is shown clearly by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, which effectively created the Austro-Hungarian Empire as the main power block in continental Europe by promoting its power throughout northern Italy and the German Confederation. The main aim of creating this power block was to prevent any revolutionaries (most importantly France) from enjoying any success. The creation of this power block shows exactly how impossible the task of ideological (generally urban) revolutionaries was; it was created specifically to prevent exactly what they were trying to achieve.

Urban revolts were far easier to put down (obviously making it more difficult for them to be successful), not only because of the small area which had to be subdued by the armed forces (who generally remained loyal) but because there was unlikely to be an instance where the entirety of the population rose up, due to fear of another ‘Terror’ among the wealthier classes.[11] This fear was certainly also present among the ruling class throughout Europe, due to the general attitudes to change following the events of 1789. The nervousness exhibited by the various major monarchies between 1789 and 1848 produced a certain sense of insecurity, mainly because of the talk of revolution[12] which persisted through the period (most notably in 1820 and 1830). This insecurity and fear is best epitomised by the speed with which Louis-Philippe abdicated; street demonstrations in Paris began on the 22nd February and he abdicated on the 24th February.[13] This example however perhaps gives an inaccurate indication of the strength of the revolutionary movements (particularly in Paris): initially there was very strong support which belies the speed with which it melted away in the face of any hint of adversity (the European revolutions were by and large over by the end of 1848) – this fragility shows clearly the lack of conviction (or the sheer power of the conservative forces) behind the revolutionaries. With such a lack of conviction, the goals of the revolutionaries cannot be considered at all feasible.

The reactionary attitude of the European monarchs meant that there were very few parliaments throughout the continent (and even fewer which had any real power), and this meant that in terms of the average man, there was very little interest in socialism (this also applies to liberalism and nationalism, but not necessarily due to the lack of parliaments).  The sheer indifference present was a massive obstacle to the revolutionaries, as it meant that they had to first politicise the masses; a difficult task in the face of such oppressive reactionary states. Initially then, the aims of the revolutionaries seemed unfeasible to say the least. An obvious example of an ineffectual parliament is the Frankfurt Parliament in the German Confederation, which spent too long deliberating over who deserved the new German crown, only to realise they had no real authority (mainly due to the lack of military power) without socialist support (perhaps something to do with the minority which elected them[14]). Socialism[15] receded very quickly with the restoration of the Conservative powers, which meant that initial surges in support for Socialist movements dwindled very quickly later into 1848 (a possible reason for why they failed so quickly). The fact that the socialist movements of Europe were so short-lived could not really have been predicted, although their ultimate failure was easier to foresee (due the strength and age of the established order), thus making their aims for a more egalitarian type of government naive (and therefore not very feasible).

Similarly to Socialism, the Liberalist movements were also only at prominence for a very brief period in 1848, for many of the same reasons. In the time preceding the 1848 revolutions, Europe was almost exclusively ruled by absolute (and therefore very conservative) monarchies with the associated views on liberalism. The rise of the revolutions did cause liberal officials to rise to office (as well as conservative ones to fall, or be exiled – most notably Metternich in Austria), although this was merely a fearful attempt to placate the masses rather than any genuine liberal feeling on the part of monarchs. Despite the similarities, the two movements did not support each other, or even necessarily have the same goals[16]. These differences meant that each movement was incredibly open to interpretation by almost every level of society, and these divisions in turn made the task of each revolutionary group far more difficult as they were struggling with each other, as well as the overwhelming superiority of the conservative powers.

In terms of historiography, the revolutions of 1848 were indeed (as argued by Marx and Engels) “wars of progress.”[17] Although in the short term they failed, there were some key progressive advances in the move towards more constitutional forms of government, notably the survival of the Piedmontese constitution (which arguably led to the unification of Italy). The fact that many of the aims of the revolutionaries were achieved in the long term (if not because of them) perhaps shows that their goals were not very feasible by virtue of their being so short sighted; if they had not tried to implement such sudden changes to such an established order, the revolutionaries may have enjoyed more success (though they would then no longer be termed ‘revolutionaries’ rather, reformists).

In short, while the achievements of what can be termed the ‘rural revolutionaries’ were more easily gained than their urban counterparts, it would be wrong to say that the goals of these revolutionaries were feasible. It does not appear as if there were any established goals at the beginning of the ‘campaign;’ it was focused purely on the mindless destruction or defiance of anyone in authority.[18] By contrast the urban revolutionaries had clear, established goals which can be considered the legacy of the French Revolution of 1789. This meant that, although the targets were clearer, they were exactly what the conservative forces expected and feared (and so were prepared for – with the Congress of Vienna), in turn making these objectives much more difficult to achieve (and less feasible to begin with). Since the 1848 revolutions are best characterised by the urban unrest, and the aims of the urban revolutionaries were so impossible in such a short period of time, it has to be said that they were not at all feasible.

Word Count: 1,981

 

[1] Google Dictionary, http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&sa=N&q=feasible&tbs=dfn:1&tbo=u&ei=Xie4TqGdCsmy8QPq38mLBQ&ved=0CB4QkQ4&biw=1366&bih=651 accessed 5/11/11

[2] Supported by F. Engels (1820-1895) in Germany, and more recently by R. Sewell: http://www.marxist.com/1848-revolutions.htm, accessed 6/11/11. For further reference and context, as well as different views see M. Malia (ed. T. Emmons) History’s Locomotives: Revolutions and the Making of the Modern World, pp218-9,

[3] C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World 1780-1914, p.156

[4] For these views, see: G. Rudé (ed. H.J. Kaye), The Face of the Crowd: studies in revolution, ideology and popular protest, T.S. Hamerow, Restoration, revolution, reaction: economics and politics in Germany 1815-1871 and R. Price, The Revolutions of 1848.

[5] J. Breuilly, The Revolutions of 1848, from D. Parker (ed), Revolutions and The Revolutionary Tradition in the West, 1560-1991, p.110

[6] C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World 1780-1914, p.156

[7] J. Breuilly, The Revolutions of 1848, from D. Parker (ed.), Revolutions and The Revolutionary Tradition in the West, 1560-1991, p.114

[8] J. Breuilly, The Revolutions of 1848, from D. Parker (ed.), Revolutions and The Revolutionary Tradition in the West, 1560-1991, p.110

[9] C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World 1780-1914, p.156

[10]Some historians such as J. Sperber state Palermo in Sicily as the starting point of the 1848 revolutions (see The European Revolutions 1848-51, pp.111-17). Paris is suggested by J. Breuilly, The Revolutions of 1848, from D. Parker (ed.), Revolutions and the Revolutionary Tradition in the West, 1560-1991, p.110.

[11] C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World 1789-1914, p.156

[12] See M. Malia (ed. T. Emmons), History’s Locomotives: Revolutions and the Making of the Modern World, p.216

[13] J. Sperber, The European Revolutions 1848-1851, pp.111-17

[14] T.S. Hamerow, “The Elections of the Frankfurt Parliament,” The Journal of Modern History, 33 (1961), pp.15-32.

[15] For an opposition to the Socialist view, see Alexis de Tocqueville, http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1270&Itemid=262 accessed 7/11/11

[16]Again, see Alexis de Tocqueville, http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1270&Itemid=262 accessed 7/11/11

[17] C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World 1780-1914, p.156

[18] J. Breuilly, The Revolutions of 1848, from D. Parker (ed.), Revolutions and The Revolutionary Tradition in the West, 1560-1991, pp.110-115

Bibliography

Primary Sources

de Tocqueville, A, http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1270&Itemid=262 accessed 7/11/11

Marx, K., The Class Struggles in France, (originally published 1895 by Engels).

Secondary Sources

Bayly, C.A., The Birth of the Modern World 1780-1914, (Oxford, 2004).

Breuilly, J., ‘The Revolutions of 1848’, in D. Parker (ed.), Revolutions and the Revolutionary Tradition in the West 1560-1991, (London & New York, 2000).

Hamerow, T.S., Restoration, revolution, reaction: economics and politics in Germany 1815-1871, (Princeton, 1958)

Hamerow, T.S., ‘The Elections of the Frankfurt Parliament’, The Journal of Modern History, 33 (1961), pp.15-32.

Hobsbawm, E.J., The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789-1848, (London, 1962).

Malia, M. (ed. Emmons, T.), History’s Locomotives: Revolutions and the Making of the Modern World (United States of America, Yale University Press, 2006).

Price, R. People and Politics in France, 1848-1870, (Cambridge, 2004).

Price, R., The Revolutions of 1848, (Basingstoke, 1988)

Rudé, G. (ed. H.J. Kaye), The Face of the Crowd: studies in revolution, ideology and popular protest, selected essays of George Rudé, (New York, 1988)

Sewell, R., http://www.marxist.com/1848-revolutions.htm, accessed 6/11/11

Sperber, J. The European Revolutions 1848-1851, (Cambridge, 1994).

 

Assess the Impact of the Cotton Industry on the British Economy 1770-1830

This essay achieved a low 2:1 in the first year of my undergraduate.

Assess the impact of the Cotton industry on the British economy 1770-1830

­­There are a range of viewpoints surrounding the industrial revolution, the relative importance of the cotton industry, and the effect the two had on the British economy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The traditional view of the industrial revolution is that of ‘King Cotton,’ and explosive industrial and by extension economic growth. More recently what can be termed ‘Revisionist’ historians (as well as economists)[1] have put forward evidence that economic growth was in fact slow; that it was a mere acceleration of present growth. The cotton industry undoubtedly had an impact on the British economy, by virtue of many inter-related factors and arguably stemmed from the notable progressive technology through the period. As well as this, the rate of expansion of the industry, the increase in its wealth and its effect on population growth had an inevitable knock-on effect on the economy[2]. The overall impact of the cotton industry and its expansion on the British economy is widely regarded[3] as a substantial one, but most historians[4] tend also to stress the importance of other industries such as iron and agriculture, which is probably accurate; the cotton industry was the greatest single contributor to national economy -which is not to say that other industries were unimportant, just that cotton far outstripped their growth, as is shown by the cotton industry overtaking wool[5].

The inventions, innovations and general progressive technologies of the cotton industry must be regarded as important in its expansion and therefore its effect on the British economy. Hargreaves’ invention of the Spinning Jenny in the 1770s boosted the output of cotton products significantly[6], increasing the value of the industry as a whole within the economy through both domestic sales and exports. The other important inventions (Arkwright’s Water Frame and Crompton’s Mule) are perhaps more crucial when assessing the effect of the cotton industry on the British economy, due to the fact that they opened a new mass market and arguably diversified the industry respectively[7]. The fact that the cotton warp produced by the Water Frame was cheaper than its linen-based competitors to produce, and that it was effectively a brand new mass market meant that it was very attractive to consumers. Crompton’s Mule produced cotton comparable to silk, which meant that the luxury materials which were previously imported from India among others became more reliably[8] available on the domestic market, and this contributed significantly to a rise in demand, and a fall in costs. All of this further increased the amount of money involved in the industry, and had the overall effect of increasing its value, which had the accompanying effect of stimulating general economic growth.

The impact of inventions within the cotton industry was not however restricted to simply its direct effect. The fact that the cotton industry was seen by contemporaries as at the forefront of technological advancement attracted people into the industry, which allowed the industry to further expand. The large demand growing for the finer quality cotton produced by the Mules had the similar effect of drawing workers into the industry[9]. The combination of these effects is most famously exemplified by the development of Manchester: both in terms of population growth[10], and the expansion of the industry. In 1782, there were just two cotton mills in Manchester and by 1802, there were 52[11]. The shift of population into what increasingly became urban, industrial centres in turn meant that the industries (specifically that of cotton) were able to continue growing and progressing, which was of course reflected in the economy, by contrast to the economies of contemporary France and Ireland[12].

The expansion and growth of the cotton industry inevitably led to an increase in its value (from £500,000 in the early 1770s to more than £5,000,000 before 1800[13]), and this had effects both direct and indirect on the greater British economy. The direct effects included the increase in its contribution to the national product -from 0.5% before 1770 to 60% by the first decade of the nineteenth century[14]-, as well as a change to British exports (by the end of the Napoleonic Wars, around one half of all British exports were cotton products[15]). Apart from this, the increased value of the industry meant that there was greater scope for further expansion, due to the fact that it made additional funding available both for new mills and for technological research to improve production methods still more. As well as this, the affluence and capitalist nature of the cotton industry undoubtedly attracted people seeking to make money out of the new markets.

As has already been stated, there was considerable population growth, both across Britain and more particularly in areas where the cotton industry was prevalent. The best example of this is in Lancashire: in 1801, the population of Lancashire was 673,486 and by 1830, it was around 1,336,854, most of which was concentrated in new industrial towns. The impact of the cotton industry specifically can be demonstrated by the higher than national average population growth (close to 15%) in Lancashire (over 20% per decade in the period)[16]. It was not only the areas in which the cotton industry became established which were affected however: there were areas of significant growth which did not have cotton mills. The most notable of these were Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow, which grew into major commercial ports due to the increase in cotton imports needed to supply the new and rapid growth[17]. While this concentration of population was undoubtedly a result of the centralisation of the industry, it is probable that this movement of people also contributed to a certain extent. As more people moved into urban industrial areas, there was a larger potential labour force, and so the industry was able to expand faster, which in turn nurtured the embryonic working class.

The cotton industry had other perhaps further-reaching effects on the wider British economy. The fact that the growth of the cotton industry arguably heralded the beginnings of a proletarian working class meant that it was significant for the development of the British economy[18]. The main contributing factor to the creation of the working class was also an important phase in the development of the British economy: due to the fact that it was more economical to build bigger mills and factories, it became increasingly advantageous to centralise the industry[19]. It is important to stress however that the working class was not simply restricted to the cotton industry; it played a part in the development of industry in general although the former as the largest growing industry arguably contributed most to its creation though. As well as this, the growth of the cotton industry also served to stimulate development in other indirect but connected industries, such as transport, banking and commerce[20], which clearly shows the breadth of the impact that the industry had on the British economy.

The impact of the cotton industry must however be qualified. Different historians have varying views on the level of qualification however. Cipolla argues that the cotton industry on its own was not revolutionary, and that it was only in conjunction with the developments in other industries that there was such an impact on the economy, and that no single industry was more important than any of the others[21]. This is effectively stating that the impact of each individual industry was limited. It is true that the iron and coal industries, and the developments therein had significant effects on the British economy, and that the cotton industry was not solely responsible for the economic growth experienced by Britain as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Indeed Pawson argues that the expansion of the cotton industry in this period was due to the prior century and a half of development, and that 1770-1830 was merely a period of acceleration of growth, rather than it being completely unprecedented[22]. Whether or not it was unprecedented, it is certainly true that the ‘acceleration’ of this period had a profound effect on the British economy, and the impact of the cotton industry is undeniable.

Despite these counter arguments, it is fair to say that the impact the cotton industry had on the British economy was significant. The expansion of the industry, both in terms of output and its diversity served to enrich both the industry and as a result the economy. This drew more people into the industry which in turn contributed to the its rate of expansion, and meant that its development was somewhat self-sufficient. This autarchic nature only served to increase the profits of the industry, which meant that its contribution to the development both of other (ancillary) industries and the larger economy can be considered the most important in this period[23]. The general population growth which was resultant of the rise of the cotton industry had perhaps the broadest effect on the British economy, because the extra population did not invariably end up in cotton industry. Attracted to areas of greater affluence, the population would have been involved in other supporting industries as well as the cotton industry. This would seem to confirm that the effect of the cotton industry on the economy was not only significant of itself, but also fairly wide-ranging.

Word count (including title): 1,930

 

[1] Such as Williamson, Harley, and Crafts, see F.W. Botham and E.H. Hunt, ‘Wages in Britain during the industrial revolution,’ The Economic History Review, 40 (1987), p.380.

[2] E.J. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: An Economic History of Britain since 1750, p.51.

[3] Although not exclusively: see M. Koyama, ‘The Price of Time and Labour Supply: From The Black Death to The Industrious Revolution,’ Discussion Papers in Economic and Social History, 78 (2009), p.3.

[4] See T.S. Ashton, The Industrial Revolution 1760-1830, pp.58-60 or C.M. CIpolla (ed.) The Fontana Economic History of Europe Volume 4, part 1: The Emergence of Industrial Societies, p.162.

[5] T.S. Ashton, The Industrial Revolution 1760-1830, p. 75

[6] C.M. Cipolla (ed.), The Fontana Economic History of Europe Volume 4, Part 1: The Emergence of Industrial Societies, p.176.

[7] T.S. Ashton The Industrial Revolution 1760-1830, pp.72-3.

[8] E.J. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: An Economic History of Britain since 1750, p.41

[9] T.S Ashton, The Industrial Revolution 1760-1830, p.74.

[10] See E. Pawson, The Early Industrial Revolution: Britain in the Eighteenth Century, p.33.

[11] T.S. Ashton, The Industrial Revolution 1760-1830, p.74.

[12] E. Pawson, The Early Industrial Revolution: Britain in the Eighteenth Century, p.39.

[13] C.M. Cipolla (ed.), The Fontana Economic History of Europe Volume 4, Part 1: The Emergence of Industrial Societies, pp.176-7.

[14] C.M. Cipolla (ed.), The Fontana Economic History of Europe Volume 4, Part 1: The Emergence of Industrial Societies, pp.171-7, see also E.J. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: An Economic History of Britain since 1750, p.51.

[15] E.J. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: An Economic History of Britain since 1750, p.51

[16] J. Watts, The Facts of the Cotton Famine, p.34

[17] E.J. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: An Economic History of Britain since 1750, p.41

[18] C.M. Cipolla (ed.), The Fontana Economic History of Europe Volume 4, Part 1: The Emergence of Industrial Societies, p.186.

[19] E.J. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: An Economic History of Britain since 1750, p.67

[20] C.M. Cipolla (ed.), The Fontana Economic History of Europe Volume 4, Part 1: The  Emergence of Industrial Societies, p.186

[21] See C.M. Cipolla (ed.), The Fontana Economic History of Europe Volume 4, Part 1: The Emergence of Industrial Societies, p.162

[22] E. Pawson, The Early Industrial Revolution: Britain in the Eighteenth Century, pp.102-3

[23] See E.J. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: An Economic History of Britain since 1750, p.51

Bibliography

Ashton, T.S., The Industrial Revolution 1760-1830 (London, New York & Toronto, 1948)

Botham, F.W., and Hunt, E.H.,  ‘Wages in Britain during the industrial revolution,’ The Economic History Review, 40 (1987), pp.380-99

Chapman, S.D., The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution (Basingstoke, 1987)

Chapman, S.J., The Lancashire Cotton Industry: A Study in Economic Development (Manchester, 1904)

Cipolla, C.M. (ed.), The Fontana Economic History of Europe Volume 3: The Industrial Revolution (Glasgow, 1973)

Cipolla, C.M. (ed.), The Fontana Economic History of Europe Volume 4, Part 1: The Emergence of Industrial Societies (London & Glasgow, 1973)

Crafts, N., ‘Productivity Growth in the Industrial Revolution: A New Growth Accounting Perspective,’ The Journal of Economic History, 64 (2004), pp.521-35

Harley, C.K., ‘Cotton Textile Prices and the Industrial Revolution,’ The Economic History Review, 51 (1998), pp.49-83

Hobsbawm, E.J., Industry and Empire: An Economic History of Britain since 1750 (London, 1968)

Hudson, P., The Industrial Revolution (London, 1992)

Jones, E.L. and Mingay, G.E. (eds.), Land, Labour and Population in the Industrial Revolution (London, 1967)

Koyama, M., ‘The Price of Time and Labour Supply: From The Black Death to The Industrious Revolution,’ Discussion Papers in Economic and Social History, 78 (2009), pp.1-45

Pawson, E., The Early Industrial Revolution: Britain in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1979)

Watts, J., The Facts of the Cotton Famine (London, 1866)

Feedback:

62%

All the following feedback is rated on the following scale: Outstanding-Excellent-Good-Competent-Pass-Fail.

Breadth of Reading: Good

Critical approach to historiography: Competent

Focus on question: Good

Organization of the material: Good-Competent

Depth of understanding and insight: Good-Competent

Use of examples: Good

Introduction and Conclusion: Good-Competent

Factual accuracy: Good

Comprehensiveness of coverage: Good

Fluent and correct English: Good

Accurate spelling/proof reading: Good

Sources cited correctly: Competent

General Comments and Advice: Good discussion, referring to your reading and some comments thereon. It started a bit stilted but once you got going it was well written and flowed well. Footnoting style needs sorting, but overall a good essay.