Modernization and Independence in 1900

Throughout this week while focusing on individual examples such as Beijing and Rio de Janeiro, one overarching theme that connected our examples was revealed. This theme was the idea that beginning in the early to mid 19th century, culminating in World War I, throughout the world set of new political ideas spread globally. Many of these ideas included sentiments towards protectionism, nationalism, and the withdraw of support for elite imperial powers.

We began the week reading the first part of Bayly’s first chapter, The World Crisis, c.1900-1930: Europe and the Middle East. This excerpt set up an in-depth introduction to several political revolutions that ultimately led to World War I, some of which I mentioned above, while citing new forms of communication as the key to their successful launch. Bayly successfully encapsulated this idea on page 16 by saying “very widely, the monopoly of the old white ruling families was challenged by new forms of politics and new methods of communication”.

Throughout Monday and Wednesday we continued pursuing these ideas by connecting them to individual examples primarily through lectures on Rio de Janeiro by Professor Holt and Beijing by Professor Bonk. With this lens we were able to see that individual populations in very different different geographic areas of the world responded to forced globalization in very similar ways. This included, once again, instituting protectionism, nationalism, and in the worst case, violent conflict.


Leave a Reply