Introduction: Understanding the Modern World

Introduction: Understanding the Modern World



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In his book, The Philosophy of History (1832), Friedrich Hegel argued that: “Peoples and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.” (1) According to Aldous Huxley, this did not change in the 20th century: “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.” (2)

I do not accept this view of history and much more prefer the view expressed by Edmund Burke in 1790: "People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors." (3) The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard added that "life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards". Or as George Santayana put it: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (4) It is significant that these words are inscribed on a plaque at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. There could not be anything more important than to use our study of history to prevent events such as the Holocaust ever happening again.


Politicians often refer to historical events to justify the actions they have taken. For example, when George Bush and Tony Blair decided to remove Saddam Hussein from power they compared him to Adolf Hitler and themselves to Winston Churchill. They criticised those urging caution as being like Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax during the late 1930s. Therefore, the government policy of appeasement was similar to those advocating negotiations with Hussein.

Those who disagreed with Bush and Blair were keen to refer to another recent international conflict. They argued that an invasion of Iraq might result in another Vietnam War. It was pointed out that no major power had been able to successfully suppress a small nation since Hitler took over countries in Europe in 1940. However, once people began adopting guerrilla warfare in response to Nazi occupations, such as in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, it became impossible for Hitler to win and has changed warfare for ever. (5)

In the recent EU referendum debate David Cameron has suggested that if we leave the organization we might be responsible for a new world war: "Isolationism has never served this country well. Whenever we turn our back on Europe, sooner or later we come to regret it. We have always had to go back in, and always at a much higher cost. The serried rows of white headstones in lovingly-tended Commonwealth war cemeteries stand as silent testament to the price that this country has paid to help restore peace and order in Europe. Can we be so sure that peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt? Is that a risk worth taking?" (6)

His opponents could point out that our involvement in First World War and the Second World War were not caused by isolationism but engagement in European politics. It was military alliances with other European countries that caused us to become involved in these two international conflicts. That might have been a good thing but it definitely was not isolationism.

Simon Jenkins went further back in history to attack Cameron's theory: "The best thing that happened to medieval England was its defeat in the hundred years war and the end of English ambitions on the continent of Europe. The best thing to happen in the 16th century was Henry VIII’s rejection of the pan-European papacy. The wisest policy of his daughter, Elizabeth I, was an isolationism so rigid that she rejected one continental suitor after another. Britain fought off all attempts by France and Spain to restore European Catholicism, and accepted a Dutch and a German monarch strictly on the basis of British parliamentary sovereignty." He goes on to say that in 1734, Robert Walpole, the British prime minister, could proudly tell Queen Caroline: "Madam there are 50,000 men slain this year in Europe, and not one an Englishman." (7)

Boris Johnson has also been using examples from history in an effort to persuade the British public to vote "No" in the EU referendum. Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Johnson said European history had seen repeated attempts to rediscover the "golden age of peace and prosperity under the Romans". Johnson told the newspaper, "Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods." (8)

Johnson could have added that it was only when Merkel, Napoleon and Hitler headed east in Europe that they got into trouble. He might have been factually correct but like Ken Livingstone, when he referred to Hitler's negotiations with Zionist leaders in 1936, when discussing the anti-Semitism controversy, this did not go down very well. As one political commentator pointed out, “invoking the ghosts of Hitler and the Nazis in any political argument is a profoundly dangerous strategy.” (9)

It is not only politicians who select evidence from history to support a political argument. The same is true of historians, who like politicians, have an ideology. Herbert R. Finberg has convincingly argued: “History free of all values cannot be written. Indeed, it is a concept almost impossible to understand, for men will scarcely take the trouble to inquire laboriously into something which they set no value upon”. (10)

The historian, E. H. Carr, illustrates this in his book, What is History (1961): "The facts are really not at all like fish on the fishmonger's slab. They are like fish swimming about in a vast and sometimes inaccessible ocean; and what the historian catches will depend, partly on chance, but mainly on what part of the ocean he chooses to fish in and what tackle he chooses to use – these two factors being, of course, determined by the kind of fish he wants to catch. By and large, the historian will get the kind of facts he wants. History means interpretation." (11)


Even the facts available to the historian is a problem. For example, it has been said the people living in the 13th century were devoutly religious. All the facts we have available suggest that this was the case. Geoffrey Barraclough, the medieval historian, has pointed out that the facts available to us have been pre-selected for us by people who believed it, and wanted others to believe it. Therefore, the historian is dependent on the historians, scribes and chroniclers of the time. Barraclough argues that "the history we read though based on facts, is, strictly speaking, not factual at all, but a series of accepted judgments." (12)

History is more of an art than a science. A historian can never be completely objective. As the German historian and theologian Ernst Troeltsch explained many years ago: "We get our ethics from our history and judge our history by our ethics." Historians are important people and play a vital role in our survival. As H. G. Wells, who as a novelist, was driven by ideology, pointed out: "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." (13)

As a young student I remember having a poster on my wall about being a historian. It included the African Proverb: "Until the lion has a historian of his own, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter." It was at this time that I became involved in the History Workshop movement that advocated “history from below” and produced what became known as "people's history". In the early years this meant primarily working-class history but over time, it expanded to include the new women’s history. Its founder, Raphael Samuel, called on historians "to actively recover the history of ordinary people and their movements". (14)

When I entered teaching I was determined to encourage my students to study the lives of ordinary people as well as the well-known names of those who have ruled us. The first teaching materials I produced dealt with the lives of the soldiers serving in the trenches on the Western Front. Of course, today, there is nothing unusual about this, but in the 1970s history textbooks took a very different approach to the subject.

We also looked at the lives of women during the war. People such as Sylvia Pankhurst, Enid Bagnold, Mary Borden, Mary Allen, Chrystal Macmillan, Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, Dorothy Lawrence, Flora Sandes, Katharine Furse, Vera Brittain, Margaret McMillan, Elsie Inglis, Margaret Dawson, Florence Farmborough, Margery Corbett-Ashby, Eveline Haverfield, Selina Cooper, Helena Swanwick, Christabel Pankhurst, Margaret Storm Jameson and Hannah Mitchell (a full-list can be found here).

All historians agree about important events that need to be studied. However, they disagree about the way it is studied. For example, take the subject of the English Civil War. Historians have written books about the subject without looking in any detail about groups that emerged during the conflict such as the Levellers, Diggers and Ranters. Very few historians writing about this war mention the names of Katherine Chidley, Mary Overton and Elizabeth Lilburne, yet they played an important role in the early struggle for democracy. It is not as if we do not have material on these people. Hundreds of pamphlets have survived that were written by these radicals. We know what they thought about the situation they found themselves in, but the historians have ignored their voices for ideological reasons.

A historian, like a journalist, knows that the most effective way to influence opinion is by the selection and arrangement of the appropriate facts. In the words of E. Carr: "The historian is necessarily selective. The belief in a hard core of historical facts existing objectively and independently of the interpretation of the historians is a preposterous fallacy, but one which it is very hard to eradicate." (15)

This approach to history is far from objective. To the historian the subject is far too important to be that sort of study. If I did not have strong opinions on history I would never be able to summon up the energy needed to write a book on the subject. My old history professor, Arthur Marwick, used to quote Keith Thomas on being an historian: "The justification of all historical study must ultimately be that it enhances our self-consciousness, enables us to see ourselves in perspective, and helps us towards that greater freedom which comes from self-knowledge.” (16)

In the 19th century historians thought it was possible to write objective history. John Dalberg-Acton argued that it was possible to write objective history (he called it "ultimate history") once we had studied all the sources available. "It is a unique opportunity of recording, in the way most useful to the greatest number, the fullness of the knowledge which the nineteenth century is about to bequeath... By the judicious division of labour we should be able to do it, and to bring home to every man the last document, and the ripest conclusions of international research. Ultimate history we cannot have in this generation; but... now that all information is within reach, and every problem has become capable of solution." (17)

In the following century historians began to question the concept of objective history. Professor Sir George Clark, explained in his introduction to The New Cambridge Modern History (1957) that Lord Acton had been wrong in his belief in the possibility of producing "ultimate" history: "Historians of a later generation do not look forward to any such prospect. They expect their work to be superseded again and again. They consider that knowledge of the past has come down through one or more human minds, has been processed by them, and therefore cannot consist of elemental and impersonal atoms which nothing can alter... since all historical judgements involve persons and points of view, one is as good as another and there is no objective historical truth." (18)

As historians we need to constantly reconsider our past. Christopher Hill, another important figure in my development as an historian, once commented: "History has to be rewritten in every generation, because although the past does not change the present does; each generation asks new questions of the past, and finds new areas of sympathy as it re-lives different aspects of the experiences of its predecessors." (19)

The historian still faces the problem of being controlled by the facts available. Carl L. Becker, controversially argued that "the facts of history do not exist for any historian till he creates them". (20) The historian and the facts of history are necessary to one another. "The historian without his facts is rootless and futile; the facts without their historian are dead and meaningless". The real function of the historian is "to master the past and understand it as the key to the understanding of the present". (21)


Is Caribbean History the Key to Understanding the Modern World?

Four distinguished scholars consider a historical question of enormous contemporary resonance.

‘The Caribbean became a focal point of rivalries among Europeans, a location where imperial contests were fought’

Carla Gardina Pestana, Author of The English Conquest of Jamaica: Oliver Cromwell’s Bid for Empire (Belknap Harvard, 2017).

The Caribbean ushered in the modern world. Most infamously, it was the site of full-blown racial slavery – a horrific institution founded on the commodification of people as objects of exploitation – which was perpetrated on a massive scale. The Caribbean population intermixed not just European, African and indigenous American, but also housed a great diversity from within Europe itself. All the groups that crossed the Atlantic from Europe came to the West Indies, setting up rival colonial outposts, but also living together in specific colonies and achieving levels of diversity only seen in the most polyglot of European cities.

The Caribbean became a focal point of rivalries among Europeans, a location where imperial contests were fought. The value placed on the region fostered these struggles for power. The Caribbean’s high value arose from two facts that also signalled its centrality to modernity. It was a gateway for the silver extracted from the Americas, which funded the Habsburgs’ worldwide empire and fuelled an emerging global economy toward modernity. And (along with Brazil) it was the locus for the creation of plantation economies based on racial slavery. These plantation economies were central to the creation of the factory model of economic exploitation which made the plantation colonies the most valuable holdings of European colonisers in the 18th century, including both French Saint-Domingue and British Jamaica. Sugar and silver had devastating environmental effects as well, another precursor of modern economies of exploitation.

All these elements – racial slavery, diversity, imperial violence to achieve superiority, oppressive economic exploitation on a vast scale and the resulting astounding profits – heralded the advent of the modern, interconnected, global reality of inequality, mass consumption and disregard for the environment. Only by understanding the pivotal place of the Caribbean in this experience can we come to terms with the legacies that we still grapple with today.

‘The Caribbean was the birthplace of modern anti-colonialism’

Marlene Daut, Professor of African Diaspora Studies at the University of Virginia

The Caribbean was the birthplace of modern anti-colonialism. Inhabited by humans since 5,000 BC, the island of Ayiti, renamed La España by the Spanish in the 15th century, was the initial site of conflict between Spanish colonisers and the existing occupants of the region. The 19th-century Haitian writer and politician Baron de Vastey located the blueprint for later Haitian independence in the resistance of ‘the first Haitians’.

After Columbus’ appearance on Ayiti in 1492, among the worst of the atrocities his men committed in the name of acquiring the gold residing in the island was the execution of Anacaona, Queen of Xaragua (one of Ayiti’s five main principalities). In 1504, along with 300 Xaraguans, Anacaona was coerced into attending a feast given by the Spanish governor, Nicolás de Ovando. She was arrested, accused of treason and then hanged. Her execution was followed by a war, during which the Spaniards massacred almost the entire population of Xaraguans. Anacaona’s husband, Caonabo, had died eight years earlier on the ship on which he was being deported to Spain.

Orphaned by the war, Anacaona and Caonabo’s great nephew, Enrique, was forced into servitude at a convent where he learned to admire the Spanish doctor, Bartolomé de las Casas. But in 1519, mistreated in his benefactor’s absence, Enrique rebelled. After acquiring arms, he convinced hundreds of other Ayitians, as well as enslaved Africans, to join him in a 14-year revolt against the Spanish in the mountains of Bahoruco (now Dominican Republic). In 1533, a new Spanish governor was compelled to acknowledge Enrique’s autonomy in what became the first maroon treaty.

The Haitian revolutionaries took up the mantle of anti-colonialism when in their 1804 declaration of independence they discarded the name of Saint-Domingue, given to the west of the island by the French in 1697, and declared that Haiti, named in honour of the history shared by Ayitians and Africans, would be permanently slavery free. Their actions provided inspiration for many 20th-century anti-colonialists, such as Aimé Césaire, who declared: ‘Haiti is where négritude stood up for the first time and proclaimed that it believed in its own humanity.’

‘The Caribbean matters because of slavery and its legacies’

Stephen Wilkinson, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Buckingham

If you were to ask historians for a date on which to argue modernity began, then 12 October 1492 would be a good candidate. For on that day, when the Arawaks ‘discovered’ Columbus on their beach, so began the story of the ‘West’, of the frontier and of the Atlantic. Columbus’ journey was more significant than his arrival. For not only did it dispel the idea of the world being flat, he and his crew also proved the possibility of sailing across an ocean beyond sight of land. The age of exploration began before Columbus sailed, but with this voyage, he opened the European age of navigation and the age of the transoceanic maritime empire.

Columbus also started something else. On his second voyage, he sailed with both African slaves and sugar cane plants on board. The voyage was thus the prototype of hundreds of thousands that followed, which became the source of a capital accumulation that would dominate the transatlantic world for the next 350 years. The Caribbean matters because of slavery and its legacies. The plantation system, the mercantilist moment, colonialism, the industrial revolution, consumerism and all that we associate with the modern world, including notions of citizenship, individual liberty, anti-colonialism and nation building, are all traceable back to the Caribbean. As the recent controversy over the statues of slavers has shown, to contemplate the Caribbean in history is to address questions of who we are, what we believe and how we got here.

Take Haiti. In 1804, Haitians carried out the first successful slave revolt in history and became the first and, thus far, only country to self identify as ‘Black’ with the first constitution in the world that recognised the rights of all its citizens regardless of the colour of their skin. As the likes of C.L.R. James and Lillian Guerra have pointed out, Haiti changed history by overturning what almost everyone in the Atlantic world took for granted. In the oddest of quirks, 60 years before the Declaration of Emancipation in the United States, it was on the very same island in the Caribbean where Columbus started it all that the struggle for freedom from colonialism and racism had its first victory.

‘At the turn of the 20th century, the Caribbean came under the sway of the United States’

Ada Ferrer, Julius Silver Professor of History and Latin American Studies at New York University

The Caribbean, an archipelago of firsts, has a consequential history. It was the first site of European colonialism, with its cavalcade of violent conquest, disease, dispossession, extraction and genocide. Later, it served as the birthplace of modern racial slavery. Of the more than ten million African captives taken to the New World, almost half landed in the Caribbean, mostly to work in sugar. The system created vast wealth for those who claimed them as property and for the nations that ruled the islands.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Caribbean came under the sway of a newer imperial power, the United States. Military interventions became routine occupations sometimes lasted for decades. They protected massive investments, in agriculture, mining and more. By mid century, interventions and other more subtle forms of pressure also protected US superpower status. The most dramatic face-off, over Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, occurred in the Caribbean. Though a Cold War episode, it originated and unfolded in the manner it did due to older conflicts over imperial rule and self-determination that went back to the days of slavery.

The Caribbean was also home to the earliest challenges to slavery and colonialism. The Haitian Revolution was the second anti-colonial revolution in the world. But it was the first one founded on anti-slavery and anti-racism, as its Black leaders announced to the world that human rights were their rights, too. It also produced the world’s first modern slave emancipation, initially forced on colonial authorities by the actions of the enslaved. Later revolutions in Cuba – the 19th-century one against Spain and that of 1959 – shared some, if not all, of its principles.

The Caribbean is key because it contains antecedents of the structures of exploitation that continue to shape our world, as recent projects tracing the profits of slavery into the present make clear. It is key, also, because it launched some of the most consequential attempts to undo those structures and their legacies. Finally, it demonstrates that those attempts can themselves produce new forms of domination. The intertwined histories of colonialism and slavery and of the struggles against them have never-ending, always evolving, afterlives.


Marks’ alternative narrative

For the purposes of his alternative research, Marks establishes the alternative historical narrative. Its primary aim is to free the reader from the western-bound vision of the development of modern history. To Marks’ view, this narrative will give the reader a chance to define truly significant aspects of the western paradigm, and not those, which the historians try to impose in their works. The reader will be able to develop his point of view on the development of the world, apply critical thinking and follow his common sense. Moreover, the alternative narrative will help to evaluate our overall knowledge of the world history (Marks 10).


Harry Markowitz and Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT)

The story goes that Harry Markowitz, then a graduate student in operations research, was searching for a topic for his doctoral thesis. A chance encounter with a stockbroker in a waiting room started him in the direction of writing about the market. When Markowitz read John Burr Williams' book, he was struck by the fact that no consideration was given to the risk of a particular investment.

This inspired him to write "Portfolio Selection," an article first published in the March 1952 Journal of Finance. Rather than causing waves all over the financial world, the work languished on dusty library shelves for a decade before being rediscovered.

One of the reasons that "Portfolio Selection" didn't cause an immediate reaction is that only four of the 14 pages contained any text or discussion. The rest were dominated by graphs and numerical doodles. The article mathematically proved two old axioms: "nothing ventured, nothing gained" and "don't put all your eggs in one basket."

The Investor and Risk Tolerance

The interpretations of the article led people to the conclusion that risk, not the best price, should be the crux of any portfolio. Furthermore, once an investor's risk tolerance was established, building a portfolio was an exercise in plugging investments into the formula.

"Portfolio Selection" is often considered in the same light as Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica—someone else would have eventually thought of it, but they probably would not have done so as elegantly.

In 1990, Dr. Harry Markowitz shared the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on modern portfolio theory.


What makes globalization possible is the ever-increasing capacity for and efficiency of how people and things move and communicate. In years past, people across the globe did not have the ability to communicate and could not interact without difficulty. Nowadays, a phone, instant message, fax, or video conference call can easily be used to connect people throughout the world. Additionally, anyone with the funds can book a plane flight and show up halfway across the world in a matter of hours. In short, the "friction of distance" is lessened, and the world begins to metaphorically shrink.

A general increase in awareness, opportunity, and transportation technology has allowed people to move about the world in search of a new home, a new job, or to flee a place of danger. Most migration takes place within or between developing countries, possibly because of lower standards of living and lower wages push individuals to places with a greater chance for economic success.

Additionally, capital (money) is being moved globally with the ease of electronic transference and a rise in perceived investment opportunities. Developing countries are a popular place for investors to place their capital because of the enormous room for growth.


Modern World History

Take a quick look at the overview video for Modern World History:

Modern World History offers a comprehensive look at world history from the mid-15th century to the present. Thousands of subject entries, biographies, images, videos and slideshows, maps and graphs, primary sources, and timelines combine to provide a detailed and comparative view of the people, places, events, and ideas that have defined modern world history. Focused Topic Centers pull forward interesting entries, search terms, documents, and maps handpicked by our editors to help users find a starting point for their research, as well as videos and slideshow overviews to offer a visual introduction to key eras and regions. All the Infobase history databases in a collection are fully cross-searchable.

Highlights:

  • Comprehensive Coverage: With Modern World History, users can delve deep into their topics or examine different perspectives through event and topic entries, slideshows, primary sources, images, tablet/mobile-friendly videos, general and topic-specific timelines, biographies of key people, original maps and charts, and more.
  • Easy Access to Content: Featured content in Modern World History is handpicked by our editors to inform research and provide guided entryways into the database, plus convenient links to key areas are at the top of every page.
  • Editorially Curated Topic Centers:Modern World History features specially selected content on different eras and themes of history—including articles, shareable slideshows, videos, primary sources, and more—that provides a starting point for research. Topic Centers include:
    • Africa
    • Asia and Oceania
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • The Americas
    • The First Global Age: 1450–1770
    • An Age of Revolutions: 1750–1914
    • A Half Century of Crisis: 1900–1945
    • Promises and Paradoxes: 1945–Present.
    • Advice on analyzing and understanding editorial cartoons, primary sources, and online sources
    • Guides for presenting research, including avoiding plagiarism, citing sources, completing a primary source worksheet, summarizing articles, and writing research papers
    • Educator tools, including advice on preventing plagiarism and using editorial cartoons in class.

    Features:

    • Search by Common Core, national, state, provincial, International Baccalaureate Organization, C3 Framework for Social Studies, and College Board AP standards to find correlating articles
    • Convenient A-to-Z topic lists can be filtered by Topic Center
    • Tag “clouds” for all content, linking to related material
    • Searchable timelines, including a detailed general timeline, updated monthly, plus regional and era-specific timelines
    • Maps and graphs with descriptions
    • Real-time, searchable Reuters® newsfeed
    • Dynamic citations in MLA, Chicago, and Harvard formats, with EasyBib and NoodleTools export functionality
    • Read Aloud tool
    • Ability for users to set preferences for default language, citation format, number of search results, and standards set for correlations
    • Persistent record links
    • Search Assist technology
    • Searchable Support Center with valuable help materials, how-to tips, tutorials, and live help chat
    • Google Translate for 100+ languages.

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    “…simple to use and contains a substantial amount of information, laid out in an aesthetically pleasing manner…Recommended…”
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    KLIATT


    The Seven Key Themes

    This feature of the curriculum offers seven themes that teachers and students may explore in relation to any or all of the Big Eras . All seven of these Key Themes, each of which focuses on a particular sphere of human activity and thought, may be encompassed within and related to the broader Three Essential Questions . World history classrooms may in the course of the school year choose to emphasize just one theme, a few of them, or all seven.

    A brief essay introduces each of the Key Themes. Following each essay is a set of nine discussion questions that relate the Key Theme to each of the Three Essential Questions. Al l teaching units at Landscape and Closeup levels include a section titled "This Unit and the Seven Key Themes," which simply identifies the Key Themes most relevant to the content of that particular unit. For teachers who wish to explore certain thematic lines throughout their course, the curriculum will include an index of teaching units relevant to each of the Key Themes. This feature remains to be developed.

    • Key Theme 1
      Patterns of Population
    • Key Theme 2
      Economic Networks and Exchange
    • Key Theme 3
      Uses and Abuses of Power
    • KeyTheme 4
      Haves and Have-Nots
    • KeyTheme 5
      Expressing Identity
    • KeyTheme 6
      Science, Technology, and the Environment
    • KeyTheme 7
      Spiritual Life and Moral Codes

    Educators use the word "theme" in several different ways. In World History for Us All a theme is defined as a topic that addresses a particular sphere of human activity over time. The major themes presented here concern broad aspects of change that have been enduringly important in the human experience.

    The teaching and learning framework of World History for Us All is fundamentally chronological. A premise of the curriculum is that historical learning works best when students begin their studies with remote eras and move forward, connecting patterns of cause and effect over time. Whether the scale of investigation is large or small, students are encouraged to analyze and understand the chronological relationships among events and to think about the full range of possible causes and effects of historical developments.

    On the other hand, world history education should also include study of issues and problems that have recurred over time. Attention to particular themes, whether in the political, economic, cultural, social, environmental, or other spheres, offers a way to connect the study of particular periods and regions of the world to exploration of enduring aspects of the human condition.

    This curriculum recommends that teachers and students select thematic questions to raise and discuss repeatedly in different ways throughout the school year. The goal is to encourage students to think more coherently, systematically, and comparatively about the past. By linking particular events, people, trends, and periods to questions about enduring aspects of the human experience, students may more successfully distill concrete meaning and significance from what they learn.

    The National Standards for World History includes this statement about thematic history:

    Here students identify and explore particular historical issues or problems over determined periods of time. For example, one unit of study might be concerned with urbanization in different societies from ancient to modern times, a second with slavery through the ages, and a third with nationalism in modern times. This approach allows students to explore a single issue in great depth, often one that has contemporary relevance. Teachers may want to consider, however, the hazards of separating or isolating particular phenomena from the wider historical context of the times. A useful compromise may be to choose a range of themes for emphasis but then weave them into chronological study based on one of the other three models.


    Modern Imperialism and its Impact

    Imperialism played a big part in the economies of large, industrial or militarily-powerful nations and even in the world economy in the last two centuries.

    In the 19th century, several countries in Europe, including Britain, Germany, France and others, created colonies in Africa, Asia and its islands in order to have control over the resources there. They accomplished this by using their military, politicking and businesses investments. Britain was the greatest European “empire” of the 19th century. It included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and several colonies in Africa and Asia. India rebelled against the British in 1857, like American colonists did in 1775. The British crushed the rebellion in India, unlike in America. The British built railroads, telegraphs, canals, harbors and had improved farming there. France, Germany and other European powers learned from this and “jumped on the bandwagon”, gaining colonies – mostly in Africa.

    American Imperialism

    Following the Spanish-American War in 1898, the United States saw the opportunity to gain colonies from the islands it conquered from Spain in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, including Cuba, Puerto Rico,Guam and the Philippines. Many people in these “empires” believed they could truly be a world power only by gaining colonies around the world.


    About Forging the Modern World a History Pdf Download

    In Forging the Modern World: A History, authors James Carter and Richard Warren offer an accessible explanation of key transformations in global economic, political, and ideological relationships since the sixteenth century. The book is distinct from most world history texts in three important ways. First, it explores the ways in which historians use and produce information. Each chapter delves deeply into one or two specific issues of historical inquiry related to the chapter theme, showing how new primary sources, methodologies, or intellectual trends have changed how we engage with the past. Second, it clearly explains the political, economic, and ideological concepts that students need to understand in order to compare events and trends across time and space. Finally, the chapters are organized around global historical themes, which are explored through an array of conceptual and comparative lenses. While the book chapters proceed chronologically, each chapter is written with some chronological overlap linking it to preceding and subsequent chapters. This strategy emphasizes the interconnectedness between the events and themes of one chapter and those of surrounding chapters. A companion website includes quiz questions and flash cards for each chapter and PowerPoint-based slides for instructors.

    Introduction
    About the Authors

    Chapter 1: The Many Worlds of the 15th Century, 1405-1510
    1.1 “The staging post for companies of pilgrims from the Sudan and caravans of merchants
    going to Cairo.” Ibn Khaldun, Muqqadima, ca. 1378
    1.2 “Zheng He who had been sent to the various countries of the Western Ocean, returned.” Ming Veritable History, 1405-1431
    1.3 “There also came envoys from Riga, Iur’ev, Kolyvan, and Lübeck,” Treaty of Novgorod with the Hanseatic Towns, 1436
    1.4 “They exchanged gold until they depressed its value in Egypt.” Al-Umari, Mansa Musa’s Visit to Cairo, 1324.
    1.5 “If we were willing to barter for so many rubies, he would amply satisfy us.” The Itinerary of Ludovico Di Varthema of Bologna, 1510
    1.6 “They bring their pale gold and give it in exchange.” Ma Huan, Overall Survey of the Ocean’s Shores, 1433.

    Chapter 2: The New Global Interface: 1486-1639
    2.1 “We Shall Powerfully enter into your Country.” The Spanish Requirement, 1510
    2.2 “Whenever they chose to come, they would see who we were.” Letter of Hernán Cortés to King Charles V, 1520
    2.3 “They were like one who speaks a barbarous tongue.” Indigenous Accounts of the Conflict with Cortés, mid-16th century
    2.4 “The Spanish commonwealth will be gravely risked.” Letter of Viceroy of New Spain Luis de Velasco to Emperor Charles V, 1553
    2.5 “The Dutch Must Maintain their Right of Trade.” Hugo Grotius, The Freedom of the Seas, 1609
    2.6 “Japanese ships are strictly forbidden to leave for foreign countries.” Sakoku Edict, 1635

    Chapter 3: The Paradoxes of Early Modern Empire, 1501-1661
    3.1 “How things are in real life.” Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, 1513
    3.2 “With God’s help we sank and utterly destroyed one of the enemy’s galleons.” Seydi Ali Reis, The Mirror of Countries, 1557
    3.3 “Have mercy on these poor people! Let whoever can stab, smite, slay.” The Twelve Articles of the Upper Swabian Peasants and Martin Luther, Against the Murdering and Robbing Bands of Peasants, 1525
    3.4 “Only those who justly deserve to be punished should be punished.” Robert Bellarmine, The Office of a Christian Prince, 1618
    3.5 “Conquest tolerates not inaction.” Memoirs of Babur, ca. 1526
    3.6 “Everything from your own person up to the whole nation should be a matter of study.” Gu Yanwu, True Learning and On Bureaucratic Local Administration, ca. 1660

    Chapter 4: Production and Consumption in the First Global Economy, 1571- 1701
    4.1 “Some making a profit, others left bankrupt.” Elviya Celebi. The Book of Travels, ca. 1640-1681
    4.2 “A great harm not only to the service of God, but to the security and peace of our Kingdoms.” Affonso of Congo to the King of Portugal, 1526 and Advice to the King of Spain and Portugal on Slavery, ca. 1612
    4.3 “He pours out the Treasures of the Indies.” José de Acosta, Natural and Moral History of the Indies, 1590
    4.4 “Shall you grow to be a great tree.” The Burgomaster of Nagasaki to the Governor General of the Dutch East India Company, 1642
    4.5 “Prohibit the traffic in the above-mentioned merchandise from China.” Spanish Imperial Decrees, 1586
    4.6 “Gold and Silver Come at Length to be Swallowed up in Hindoustan.” François Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, AD 1656-1668

    Chapter 5: Global War and Imperial Reform, 1655-1765
    5.1 “The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property.” John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, 1689
    5.2 “Discover as much as possible how to put ships to sea during a naval battle.” Peter the Great. Decrees, 1714 and 1724
    5.3 “Esteem most highly filial piety and brotherly submission,” The Sacred Edict of the Yongzheng Emperor, ca. 1723-35
    5.4 “They were resolved to regain their liberty if possible.” William Snelgrave. A New Account of Some Parts of Guinea and the Slave Trade, 1730
    5.5 “We fear the damage from a public disclosure.” Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, Discourse and Political Reflections on the Kingdom of Peru, 1749
    5.6 “Our hearty thanks for the care you take of us in supplying us with ammunition.” Meetings between a British General and Leaders of Mohawks, Oneidas and Tuscaroras, 1755-1756
    5.7 “The Sovereign is absolute.” Catherine II of Russia, Instructions for a New Law Code, 1767

    Chapter 6: A New Order for the Ages, 1755-1839
    6.1 “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” The U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776
    6.2 “The state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement.” Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790
    6.3 “Woman is born free and lives equal to man in her rights.” Olympe de Gouges, Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, 1791
    6.4 “We will distance forever from this colony the horrible events.” Toussaint Louverture, Proclamation, 1801
    6.5 “I have simply been a mere plaything of the revolutionary storm.” Simón Bolívar. Address at the Congress of Angostura, 1819
    6.6 “Great revolutions are the work rather of principles than of bayonets.” Giuseppe Mazzini, Manifesto of Young Italy, 1831
    6.7 “The Benefit of a Good Administration.” The Rescript of Gülhane, 1839

    Chapter 7: The Engines of Industrialization, 1787-1868
    7.1 “The principle of the factory system then is, to substitute mechanical science for hand skill.” Andrew Ure, The Philosophy of Manufactures, 1835
    7.2 “I have wrought in the bowels of the earth thirty-three years.” The Condition and Treatment of the Children Employed in the Mines and Collieries, 1842
    7.3 “No exemptions from attacks of epidemic disease.” Edwin Chadwick, Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population, 1842
    7.4 “The statutes of the heavenly dynasty cannot but be obeyed with fear and trembling!” Qian Long Emperor to King George III, 1793 and Letter from the High Imperial Commissioner Lin and his Colleagues to Queen Victoria of England, 1840
    7.5 “To carry the laws of the United States into Turkey and China.” Caleb Cushing, Opinion of the Attorney General, 1855
    7.6 “All lie stretched in the mud and dust, drenched in their own blood.” Henry Dunant, A
    Memory of Solferino, 1859 and Florence Nightingale, Letter to Sidney Herbert, 1855
    7.7 “The best adapted to all the crops cultivated in this country.” Solon Robinson, Guano: A Treatise of Practical Information, 1853

    Chapter 8: Modernity Organized, 1840-1889
    8.1 “Working Men of All Countries, Unite.” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Community Party, 1848
    8.2 “Paris in America.” Herbert H. Smith, Brazil, the Amazons, and the Coast, 1879
    8.3 “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments, 1848
    8.4 “Demand rights for women.” Flora Tristán, Workers’ Union, 1843. Sojourner Truth, Address to the First Annual Meeting of the American Equal Rights Association, 1867
    8.5 “Evil Customs of the Past Shall be Broken Off.” The Charter Oath (Japan), 1868 The Emancipation Manifesto (Russia), 1861
    8.6 “There are endless changes in the world.” Zeng Guofan and Li Hongzhang, Letter to the Zongli Yamen, 1871 and Xue Fucheng, Suggestions on Foreign Affairs, 1879
    8.7 “China is just the Opposite.” Li Gui, Glimpses of a Modern Society, 1876

    Chapter 9: Globalization and Its Discontents, 1878-1910
    9.1. “Take Up the White Man’s Burden.” Rudyard Kipling, The White Man’s Burden, 1899 and H. T. Johnson, “The Black Man’s Burden,” 1899
    9.2 “A matter of vital importance for Germany’s Development.” Friedrich Fabri, Does Germany Need Colonies?, 1879
    9.3 “What a pity she wasn’t born a lad.” Emmeline Pankhurst, My Own Story, 1914
    9.4 “One knows the futility of trying to prevent the onslaught of Western civilization.” Fukuzawa Yukichi, Goodbye Asia, 1885
    9.5 “Civilization is not an incurable disease, but it should never be forgotten that the English people are at present afflicted by it.” Mohandas K Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, 1909.
    9.6 “they thought it better for a man to die rather than live in such torment.” Oral histories of the Maji Maji Rising, 1967
    9.7 “Do Not Tell the White People about this.” Wovoka and the Ghost Dance, 1890

    Chapter 10: Total War and Mass Society, 1905-1928
    10.1 “the peoples of Asia have cherished the hope of shaking off the yoke of European oppression,” Sun Yat-sen, Speech on Pan-Asianism, 1924
    10.2 “Things will never be as they were.” Correspondence of Vera Brittain, 1915 and 1918
    10.3 “A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims.” Woodrow Wilson, Address to U.S. Congress, 1918 and Nguyen Ai Quoc (Ho Chi Minh), Letter to U.S. Secretary of State, 1919
    10.4 “The Nation shall at all times have the right to impose on private property.” The Constitution of Mexico, 1917
    10.5 “It is proved in the pamphlet that the war of 1914-18 was imperialist.” V.I. Lenin, Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism: A Popular Outline, 1917 and 1920
    10.6 “throughout history one of the constant features of social struggle has been the attempt to change relationships between the sexes,” Alexandra Kollontai, Sexual Relations and the Class Struggle, 1921
    10.7 “The Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State.” Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile, Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions,1932

    Chapter 11: The Ongoing Crisis of Global Order, 1919-1948
    11.1 “Certainly a government needs power, it needs strength.”Adolf Hitler, Munich Speech of
    April 12, 1921
    11.2 “It is international morality which is at stake.” Haile Selassie, Speech to the League of Nations, 1936
    11.3 “They will sweep all the imperialists, warlords, corrupt officials, local tyrants and
    evil gentry into their graves.” Mao Zedong, Report on the Peasant Movement in Hunan,
    1927
    11.4 “When will it no longer be necessary to attach special weight to the word ‘woman'” Ding Ling, Thoughts on March 8 (International Women’s Day), 1942
    11.5 “Who is to blame for the condition of China?” Hirosi Saito, The Conflict in the Far East, 1939
    11.6 “The work of operating the gas chambers was carried out by a special Commando.” Primo Levi with Leonardo de Benedetti. Auschwitz Report, 1946
    11.7 “Our forces dare take their position beside any force in the world. Gen. Aung San, Address to the East West Association, 1945

    Chapter 12: Hot Wars, Cold Wars and Decolonization: 1942-1975
    12.1 “An iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” Winston Churchill, Address at Westminster College (Fulton, Missouri), 1946
    12.2 “Mr. Churchill and his friends bear a striking resemblance to Hitler.” Joseph Stalin Interview, 1946
    12.3 “Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country.” Vietnamese Declaration of Independence, 1945
    12.4 “The equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.” United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
    12.5 “We cannot afford even to think of failure.” Kwame Nkrumah speeches, 1957 and 1962
    12.6 “We want to advance in the technological sphere and the scientific sphere rapidly.” Jawaharlal Nehru, Convocation Address, Indian Institute of Technology, 1956
    12.7 “Some governments still rest on the theory of racist superiority.” Indira Gandhi, “Martin
    Luther King” (Speech at the presentation of the Jawaharial Nehru Award for International Understanding to Coretta Scott King), 1969

    Chapter 13: The Many Worlds of the 21st Century, 1972-2012
    13.1 “We shall confront the world with our ideology.” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini speech, 1980
    13.2 “Comrade Gorbachev recommended not to be deterred.” Memorandum of Conversation between Egon Krenz and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, 1989
    13.3 “An axis of evil.” George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, 2002 and Hugo Chávez, Address to the United Nations General Assembly, 2008
    13.4 “The backward glance leading to self-knowledge.” Mary Robinson, Keynote Address, International Conference on Hunger, 1995
    13.5 “The deepest roots of the problems of contemporary civilization lie in the sphere of the human spirit.” Václav Havel, Mahatma Gandhi Award Acceptance Speech, 2004 and Nigel Farage, Address to the UKIP Conference, 2013
    13.6 “People have not become more open-minded.” Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Commencement Address at the University of Virginia, 2016


    Is Caribbean History the Key to Understanding the Modern World?

    Working our way backwards, from the 21 st to the 19 th century, we end the semester with a discussion of the beginnings of the Haitian Revolution in the context of Évelyne Trouillot’s Rosalie L’Infâme.History Today presents the viewpoints of various scholars. Marlene Daut’s section adds valuable information to our discussion, the often-overlooked participation of the indigenous populations (mentioned by your classmate Kaitlyn Wiehe in her presentation) in the Haitian Revolution. Here are excerpts read the full article in History Today.

    ‘The Caribbean became a focal point of rivalries among Europeans, a location where imperial contests were fought’

    Carla Gardina Pestana, Author of The English Conquest of Jamaica: Oliver Cromwell’s Bid for Empire (Belknap Harvard, 2017).

    The Caribbean ushered in the modern world. Most infamously, it was the site of full-blown racial slavery – a horrific institution founded on the commodification of people as objects of exploitation – which was perpetrated on a massive scale. The Caribbean population intermixed not just European, African and indigenous American, but also housed a great diversity from within Europe itself. All the groups that crossed the Atlantic from Europe came to the West Indies, setting up rival colonial outposts, but also living together in specific colonies and achieving levels of diversity only seen in the most polyglot of European cities.

    The Caribbean became a focal point of rivalries among Europeans, a location where imperial contests were fought. The value placed on the region fostered these struggles for power. The Caribbean’s high value arose from two facts that also signalled its centrality to modernity. It was a gateway for the silver extracted from the Americas, which funded the Habsburgs’ worldwide empire and fuelled an emerging global economy toward modernity. And (along with Brazil) it was the locus for the creation of plantation economies based on racial slavery. These plantation economies were central to the creation of the factory model of economic exploitation which made the plantation colonies the most valuable holdings of European colonisers in the 18th century, including both French Saint-Domingue and British Jamaica. Sugar and silver had devastating environmental effects as well, another precursor of modern economies of exploitation.

    All these elements – racial slavery, diversity, imperial violence to achieve superiority, oppressive economic exploitation on a vast scale and the resulting astounding profits – heralded the advent of the modern, interconnected, global reality of inequality, mass consumption and disregard for the environment. Only by understanding the pivotal place of the Caribbean in this experience can we come to terms with the legacies that we still grapple with today.

    ‘The Caribbean was the birthplace of modern anti-colonialism’

    Marlene Daut, Professor of African Diaspora Studies at the University of Virginia

    The Caribbean was the birthplace of modern anti-colonialism. Inhabited by humans since 5,000 BC, the island of Ayiti, renamed La España by the Spanish in the 15th century, was the initial site of conflict between Spanish colonisers and the existing occupants of the region. The 19th-century Haitian writer and politician Baron de Vastey located the blueprint for later Haitian independence in the resistance of ‘the first Haitians’.

    After Columbus’ appearance on Ayiti in 1492, among the worst of the atrocities his men committed in the name of acquiring the gold residing in the island was the execution of Anacaona, Queen of Xaragua (one of Ayiti’s five main principalities). In 1504, along with 300 Xaraguans, Anacaona was coerced into attending a feast given by the Spanish governor, Nicolás de Ovando. She was arrested, accused of treason and then hanged. Her execution was followed by a war, during which the Spaniards massacred almost the entire population of Xaraguans. Anacaona’s husband, Caonabo, had died eight years earlier on the ship on which he was being deported to Spain.

    Orphaned by the war, Anacaona and Caonabo’s great nephew, Enrique, was forced into servitude at a convent where he learned to admire the Spanish doctor, Bartolomé de las Casas. But in 1519, mistreated in his benefactor’s absence, Enrique rebelled. After acquiring arms, he convinced hundreds of other Ayitians, as well as enslaved Africans, to join him in a 14-year revolt against the Spanish in the mountains of Bahoruco (now Dominican Republic). In 1533, a new Spanish governor was compelled to acknowledge Enrique’s autonomy in what became the first maroon treaty.

    The Haitian revolutionaries took up the mantle of anti-colonialism when in their 1804 declaration of independence they discarded the name of Saint-Domingue, given to the west of the island by the French in 1697, and declared that Haiti, named in honour of the history shared by Ayitians and Africans, would be permanently slavery free. Their actions provided inspiration for many 20th-century anti-colonialists, such as Aimé Césaire, who declared: ‘Haiti is where négritude stood up for the first time and proclaimed that it believed in its own humanity.’

    ‘At the turn of the 20th century, the Caribbean came under the sway of the United States’

    Ada Ferrer, Julius Silver Professor of History and Latin American Studies at New York University

    [. . .] The Caribbean was also home to the earliest challenges to slavery and colonialism. The Haitian Revolution was the second anti-colonial revolution in the world. But it was the first one founded on anti-slavery and anti-racism, as its Black leaders announced to the world that human rights were their rights, too. It also produced the world’s first modern slave emancipation, initially forced on colonial authorities by the actions of the enslaved. Later revolutions in Cuba – the 19th-century one against Spain and that of 1959 – shared some, if not all, of its principles.

    The Caribbean is key because it contains antecedents of the structures of exploitation that continue to shape our world, as recent projects tracing the profits of slavery into the present make clear. It is key, also, because it launched some of the most consequential attempts to undo those structures and their legacies. Finally, it demonstrates that those attempts can themselves produce new forms of domination. The intertwined histories of colonialism and slavery and of the struggles against them have never-ending, always evolving, afterlives.

    [Above: ‘Environs de Leogane et du Port Au Prince dans lsle de St. Domingue’ c.1764, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library.]