Essay on The French Revolution And The Cold War Era

Essay on The French Revolution And The Cold War Era

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From the French Revolution through the Cold War Era, modern Europe experienced a significant need to establish dominance in every realm of society. Dominance can be defined as one group wielding power and control over another, which can happen through use of physical force, political changes, or indoctrination. Each of the eight authors discussed in this paper demonstrates how those in power created a new sense of order, established a new cultural identity, and utilized education as a means of teaching subservience. The Enlightenment, Industrial and Agrarian Revolutions, and two devastating world wars influenced how these powers viewed and express their authority. Scholars employ a variety of sources to examine how this process happens, and as a result, determine that means of authority evolve over time. Present day political and social upheaval has roots in the struggle for dominance on the European and, later, global stage.
Scholars identify several catalysts for dominance in this period. First, the Enlightenment ideals threatened existing hierarchies by encouraging the people’s right to determine how they should be ruled. Once they established how to govern themselves so the majority attained more political influence, people were then able to concentrate on external means of power. Second, industrial and agrarian revolutions influenced social hierarchies and changed the basis of power. When lower classes worked the land, they controlled the means of production and therefore had a significant hold on the economy. After the failed agrarian revolution in the German states, the means of production went to the aristocracy, solidifying its dominance over the peasantry. Industrial Britain experienced overcrowding in the cit...


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...untry to function. Political and agrarian revolutions changed this hierarchy in France and Germany, respectively. France’s revolutionaries demanded equal representation and took up arms to place the citizenry in the dominating position, which challenged a hierarchy that was hundreds of years old. In the German Empire, serfdom kept the peasantry poor but in control of the means of production. After the Napoleonic Wars, the German states issued legislation that would stimulate the agricultural production necessary to generate income and make reparation payments. These changes benefitted neither the aristocracy nor the peasantry, but the government’s provision of assistance to the rich forced the poor to relinquish land or payments to alleviate the financial burden. This may not have changed the social order in Germany, but it did solidify aristocratic control.

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