Summary: the World at the Beginning of the 20th Century (Stage 6 Modern History)

Topics: Working class, Social class, Europe Pages: 9 (2213 words) Published: September 11, 2013
Year 11 Modern History 2013
Summary: The World at the Beginning of the 20th Century

The world in 1900 was dominated by European powers, the industrial revolution had over the proceeding century given Europeans (specifically Western European nations such as France and Great Britain) a technological advantage over the rest of the world which these nations used to develop huge global empires under a system known as Imperialism. The late 19th and early 20th saw dramatic changes in many aspects of European life.

The Nature of European Society and the Effects of Industrialization -Key features of this era included:
* The unequal distribution of wealth and power
* Imperialism and economic rivalries
* Nationalism and cultural identity
* The decline of dynastic authority
* The class system and demands for change
* Slavery and worker exploitation
* Emerging ideologies and their challenge to traditional structures * Diplomacy, aggression and war as instruments of foreign policy Rich and Poor:
* An individual’s ‘membership’ of the upper, middle, or lower class reflected their own economic role in society & their opportunities * Upper classes
* Tended to have status derived from family background and wealth * Generally had ownership of extensive areas of land
* Dominated European political life
* Enjoyed high status, prestige and influence that did not necessarily reflect talent or ability * Access to luxuries and education
* Middle classes
* Involved in the development and control of industries + commercial ventures * Also those in professions such as law and medicine
* Wealth + influence in society resulted from individual efforts more than family connections * Had access to similar education opportunities
* Sought the same social and political influence as the upper class * Mimicked the lifestyles of the upper class
* Lower classes
* Also known as the working class
* Consisted of both urban and rural dwellers
* Provided the labour for those who controlled a nation’s resources * Endured low wages and inadequate living conditions
* Everyone in a working class family struggled for survival * Children needed to contribute to their families income * Living conditions were unsanitary + disease was common
* Were seen by other classes to be “lazy, dishonest, and undeserving” * Had few educational opportunities
* Low wages made the poverty cycle hard to break

Social Change:
* Challenge to the traditional roles of women
* Women everywhere were second class citizens and were limited to few opportunities * Rarely attained positions with status or pay that were available to men * The development of democracy in some European countries led to demands for female suffrage * Demands for the vote and women’s increased involvement in the world of paid work helped expand women’s experiences + opportunities * This demonstrated many women’s commitment to feminism * Rapid growth of two new classes

* Working class or proletariat
* middle class or bourgeoisie
* Sectarianism
* The view that on religious belief has superiority over others that are perceived as being inferior to it * Christian’s religions had a centuries-old hostility towards Jewish peoples. * Anti-Semitic = an attitude of prejudice against Jews

* Within Christian religions, rivalry and even hostility between Catholics and Protestants also provided evidence of sectarianism. * L’Affaire Dreyfus case divided French society for many years and ultimately led to the separation of church and state in French politics and increased secularisation in French society. * Power of autocracy slowly eroded

* By the end of the nineteenth century, western Europe had undergone an industrial revolution; changing the ways in which people worked. * In urban areas, factories...
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