The key driving forces of his narrative are the growing lead and control exerted by western Europe and North America over the rest of the world, but equally the absorption of western ideas and technologies by non-western peoples who grafted them onto their own traditions and developed them to service their own purposes. His story is not of a diffusion of western know-how, so much as a history of connections and processes which interacted and fed on each other. Part Two covers the period from , when monarchs, aristocracies and priests are precariously back in the saddle until the great rebellions of the mid-century-the revolutions in Europe, the Taiping rebellion in China of in which up to 20 million people lost their lives; the sepoy rebellion against the East India company, and the civil war in the United States from All of these were global events, with worldwide causes and repercussions. As has been recorded by other historians, northern victory in the American civil war brought the modern Anglo-sphere closer together through the affirmation of theUnited Statesdemocracy, the hastening of the Canadian confederation in , the emergence of a democratic New Zealand polity and the expansion of the vote in the United Kingdom in
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The key driving forces of his narrative are the growing lead and control exerted by western Europe and North America over the rest of the world, but equally the absorption of western ideas and technologies by non-western peoples who grafted them onto their own traditions and developed them to service their own purposes.
His story is not of a diffusion of western know-how, so much as a history of connections and processes which interacted and fed on each other. Part Two covers the period from , when monarchs, aristocracies and priests are precariously back in the saddle until the great rebellions of the mid-century-the revolutions in Europe, the Taiping rebellion in China of in which up to 20 million people lost their lives; the sepoy rebellion against the East India company, and the civil war in the United States from All of these were global events, with worldwide causes and repercussions.
As has been recorded by other historians, northern victory in the American civil war brought the modern Anglo-sphere closer together through the affirmation of theUnited Statesdemocracy, the hastening of the Canadian confederation in , the emergence of a democratic New Zealand polity and the expansion of the vote in the United Kingdom in Part Three discusses states and society in the age of imperialisms. This is the imperial period when the European states expanded with renewed energies into the rest of the world, but on a shoestring.
But it was backed by an overwhelming lead in organisational and scientific capacities, and underpinned by a confidence in the righteousness of European ideas and religions, however much these were in conflict with each other, or incoherent within their own terms of reference.
However right or false they may have been, they were often as not believed in with conviction by their champions. One chapter deals with the impact of greater competition among world religions, initiated by Christian evangelicalism, and that prompted their leaders to start the arduous task of codification and centralisation.
The Anglican communion, for instance, inaugurated theLambethPalaceconferences of bishops in , and in the Roman curia declared the Pope infallible when pronouncing on matters of doctrine. By , the claims of these standardising world religions were more broadly disseminated than ever before, while at the same time art had become both more secularised and market-based.
Two leading figures in arts, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, both turned for their inspiration to the non-European world. This third part ends on two chapters recording the persistence of the old regime, despite the many changes in the years between and , and the last ditch resistance of nomadic populations against the onrush of settler populations.
Violence was always close to the surface of the nineteenth century world. Evidence for continuity resides in the persistence of the monarchies and aristocracy, with their pan-European ties; the continued subordination of the blacks in the southern states of the United States; the survival of Confucian China, despite the terrible blows of the mid-century Taiping rebellion, and then the defeat of by Japan; the subordination of women; the continued practice of slavery or the reach of the Ottoman Khilafat, when Chinese Muslims listened to Istanbul during the Boxer rebellion of against western imperialism.
Across the world, the protagonists of radical socialisms were confronted by ethnic and religious revivalisms in competition for the loyalty of the masses. When the fissures opened up in July in core Europe, the networks and linkages forged over the previous century and a half were not strong enough to halt the drift of the European powers to war. The book develops four themes: the first is that the sources of change which feed modernity are multi-centred, and therefore richer in texture than either a Euro- or Atlantic centric perspective, or a post-modernist narrative about the destructive nature of western European or North American expansion, can capture.
These three features were a universalising kingship driving men, like Alexander the Great or Shaka, the great Zulu leader, across great distances; cosmic religions such as Islam, that inspired the great pilgrimages to Mecca, or in Christianity that drove the Jesuits to China and Japan, or the Quakers to preach peace and tolerance; and concern for bodily health, evidenced in the trade in tea, tobacco or opium as medicines.
This trade was captured by the great European chartered companies in the years to , while around the world and for differing reasons religious millenarianisms spring to life, and then inter-acted with the secular millenarianism which exploded to life in the French Revolution of Meanwhile the collapse of the Safavid empire in Iran led to the invasion of northern India by Persian and Afghan armies, the sacking of Delhi in the year of victory of British arms in North America and Bengal—the weakening of the Mughal empire, adding to the setbacks already inflicted on Muslim armies by the Hapsburgs in Vienna and the Balkans.
Meanwhile, weaknesses were beginning to eat away at the Qing empire in China. Though the author does not mention it, the Duke of Wellington, a leading member of the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland, led a British army, whose ranks were swelled by Catholic Irish soldiers, to victory in the Iberian peninsula and then on the battlefield of Waterloo.
The second theme expounded in the book is the growth in uniformity powered by the growth of modern states and the reach of markets, prompting imitation, and absorption, but also contestation to preserve inherited polities, religions or interests. The threat from France tightened the hold of the British government over its possessions; defeat at Jena and Austerlitz galvanised Prussia to reform; and the belligerence of the patriotic states in Europe later prompted emulation around the world, as the western powers compounded their military-technological lead over the rest, while their economies surged ahead.
It was the expansion of European empires overseas which stimulated the rapid development of the modern states across the whole arc from Persia to Japan. The period covered, the long nineteenth century, is one of overlapping networks of global reach, dominated by Europeans and Americans, but which other peoples tapped into, eventually creating powerful hybrids that eventually subverted and overthrew European dominance in the years following the Russian revolution and the post world.
The overwhelming feature of these global inter-connections is the growing uniformity they induced, but also the greater complexities they created and the resistances they stimulated. Polanyi covers much the same time span, and, like Bayly, places the emergence of the modern state and market economy, at the centre of his account.
To Polanyi, social protectionism was a spontaneous reaction to the social dislocation imposed by an unrestrained free market, operating by the nineteenth century on a global scale. Polanyi threads this central interaction between states and markets through his selection of four key institutions: the balance of power between the major states; the gold standard, at the heart of the global economy; limited government; and the market.
Parenthetically, it is the device of global markets and local diversity which lies at the heart of the best books about multi-national corporations in the world economy of the past forty or so years.
This point will be illustrated in future book reviews, when I will select a few of the leading writers on global corporations. But for the moment, I would like to end on three points. Put another way, my advice is that he writes a second edition.
There is no harm in that. The Rev. Malthus kept on writing updated versions of his one book about population and business cycles. This part would incorporate the excellent chapters on the post-revolutionary settlement of through to the linked rebellions around the world of the mid-century, each with their own global causes and impacts.
I would suggest that this is the section where new chapters could be written on trade, technology, communications and finance. This is also the part where the chapter on industrialisation, thenew cityand the spread of working class politics fits well enough.
Part Three could stand on its own, drawing out the themes developed of how ideas, institutions and economic changes inter-acted in such powerful ways. This part has some of the most interesting chapters of all in this excellent book.
One is on the myths and technologies of the modern state: in view of the importance attached to war making capabilities, I would suggest that more in this portion of the new version of the book could be made of the military lessons or non-lessons taken from the United States Civil War; the Prusso-Austrian war of ; and the Prusso-French war of ; the impacts on armaments, and the development of imperial armies for wars in the non-European world.
One of the fascinations of the book is the discussion about past and present interpretations of history. To Hobsbawm, Bayly responds that economic phenomena are clearly vital, but they do not walk in lock step with ideologies or the development of states. To him, world history posits a more complex interaction between political organisation, ideas and economic activities than is accounted for by a mono-causal materialist argument.
As he points out, the secularists were surprised in the s by the eruption of religions around the world. In other words, the denser global interactions become, the less predictable the future is.
This is a book that debunks uni-linear accounts of the way the future unfolds. It implicitly argues that the future is not known: hence the corrections given to Lenin, Hobsbawm, the modernists and the post-modernists.
It is a book for global times, which draws on a many-vectored history and the social sciences to discuss the road to modernity as a key to an understanding of the world we are in.
The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons
Global Connections and Comparisons, review no. A handsome black man stands poised, next to the bust of a European philosopher. But how universalising was that intention? Jean Baptiste Belley was one of the three representatives of the French colonies elected in San Domingue in He spoke in the debate in the Convention in , when a unanimous decision was taken to abolish slavery, and returned to San Domingue after losing his seat in He is lost from the historical records in the subsequent struggles of Haitians against the Napoleonic army, which was attempting to reinstate slavery.
The Birth of the Modern World, 1780 - 1914
Shelves: imperialism , globalization , economic-history The last 30 or 40 years resemble the late 19th Century in that barriers to trade and movements of people and capital have diminished because of technological change and political initiatives by global powers. With this similarity in mind, C. In this wide-reaching history of impressive geographical and theoretical scope, Bayly synthesizes the latest research on such topics as the causes of the industrial revolution and the The last 30 or 40 years resemble the late 19th Century in that barriers to trade and movements of people and capital have diminished because of technological change and political initiatives by global powers. In this wide-reaching history of impressive geographical and theoretical scope, Bayly synthesizes the latest research on such topics as the causes of the industrial revolution and the rise of nationalism, weighing in authoritatively with cross-cultural comparisons to support his arguments. One of the most interesting themes of the book was how elite classes in many parts of the world managed to use changes in technology and social organization to refashion new hierarchies, rather than succumbing to the forces of technological and economic change that many contemporaries expected to revolutionize the world.
C.A. Bayly: The Birth of the Modern World
And conversely, how the "ripple effects" of crises such as the European revolutions and the American Civil War worked their way through to the rest of the world. None of the great themes of the nineteenth-century world - the rise of the modern state, industrialisation, liberalism, imperialism, and the progress of world religions - is untouched by the novel perspectives of this compelling new history. List Of Tables And Maps. The Organization Of The Book. Peasants And Lords.