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Study questions on Gildea, Barricades and Borders, Chapters 8-9

Ch. 8

What sort of major political reforms took place in England in the 1860s and why?  Who were the major supporters of reform and why?

Why did the Tories under Disraeli actually extend voting rights beyond the proposals of the Liberals, and what were the results?  In what sense did this conservative strategy in England parallel the political strategies of Napoleon III and Bismarck?

In Italy, was it easy for the democratic opposition to mobilize mass support in the 1860s?  Explain.

In Spain, by the end of the series of tumultuous political events that marked the 1860s, had the democratic opposition triumphed?  Explain.

In the 1850s, who posed a more serious threat to Napoleon III, the republican opposition or the monarchists?  Explain.

According to Gildea, did Napoleon III think that he could rule by authoritarian means alone?  Explain how and why he was moving towards "accommodation" with Parliament in the 1860s. 

When and under what circumstances did Napoleon III permit "liberal" reforms and what were the results?  Was the January 1870 French constitution really "liberal"?  Explain.

What finally destroyed France's Second Empire?

How did the experience of 1848 shape Marx's approach to revolution?

What debates and "trends" in European socialism hampered Marx's efforts to "direct" the First International?  For instance, with what reformist, anarchist, and conspiratorial tendencies did the "marxists" contend?

Explain the context (the historical circumstances) in which the Paris Commune was formed in March 1871.  How does Gildea explain the political character of the Commune? 

What became of the Commune, and how did this effect the International?  Gildea notes three "effects"--i.e. explain the tactical debates the repression had triggered (over the efficacy politics and the use of terror) and the legal consequences.

What "trend" dominated European politics in the decade after the fall of the Paris Commune?  Explain.

Was republicanism politically dominant in France in the early 1870s?  Explain.  When and under what circumstances did the republicans finally win control over the French government in the 1870s?

What does Gildea mean when he says that the Right and the Left in Italian politics were really two wings of the same political oligarchy, and what is the evidence?

Was the Spanish Republic, formed in 1873, able to establish stable rule?  Explain.  Did the 1874 Restoration result in an absolutist monarchy?  Explain.

How does Gildea explain Disraeli's strategy to return the Tories to power in 1874, and what were the results?

In what sense was the British Conservative political strategy in the 1870s similar to that of Bismarck in Germany?

What political parties initially dominated politics in Germany in the early 1870s?  Why did the liberal majority and Bismarck agree on the anti-Catholic policy of kulturkamph?  What were the results?

How did the economic depression that began in 1873 effect the balance in German politics?

When and why did Bismarck abandon the strategy of cooperation with the liberals?  And how did Bismarck use the threat of "internal enemies" (the socialists) and support for protectionism to solidify a Right-dominated government?

Did Bismarck's use of political repression and his reliance on support from traditional elites mean an end to universal suffrage in Germany?  (Does the right to vote mean that a government is democratic?)

Were the governments of Austria or Hungary based upon democratic representation?  (E.G., were Slavs properly represented?)  To whose benefit did these electoral systems work in the 1860s?  Explain.  Why did the Habsburg monarchy shift its approach to political inclusion of Slavs at the end of the 1870s?  (What was Taaffe's "Iron Ring"?)

Explain the difference between the two dominant Russian theories on how to regain great power status.  Why was the situation in the Balkans crucial to both approaches?

Why did the 1876 Serbian wars against the Turks in the 1870s threaten to increase tensions between Russia and Austria?  Results? 

Why did Russia declare war on Turkey in 1877?  What were the results of the Russo-Turkish war?

According to Gildea, how did the 1877 war contribute to political radicalism in Russia, and what was the government's response?

In 1881, what became of Tsar Alexander II?  What were the repercussions--in particular, what became of the prospects for any further "liberal" reforms?


Ch. 9

How does Gildea explain the movement for the expansion of public schooling in the 1850s-1880?  What social groups were its main proponents and why?

Where was public (meaning state-provided) schooling furthest advanced?  Where was it weakest?  (Note that in Britain, schools run by the state were called "private" and what we in the US call "private" schools were called "public.")

What type of curriculum was most common in public (state supported) secondary schools and why?  What, for instance, was the general difference between "real" schools and "gymnasium" schools/lyceums? 

What steps did governments take towards making primary schooling "mandatory" and why?  Was it really mandatory, for instance, in England?

Why were governments increasingly concerned with primary education?  What were its main purposes?

Given these goals, why was there a general push towards "secular" education in the 1850s-1880?

What factors really determined whether children would attend primary schools?  In what sense was a region's economy central to this issue?

What did cultural critics mean by the term "philistinism" in this period?  What groups were reputedly most guilty of philistinism and why?

Did reading increase or decline in the 1850s-1880?  Who was reading most, and what kinds of material were they reading most often?  For instance, were the middle classes primarily reading political newspapers and magazines?  What kinds of books were most popular with "mass" readers, and where did readers now "find" their books?

How and why did popular music change in this period, and how was this linked to the new industrial economy?   Who most often frequented Philharmonic concerts?  Grand Opera? Music halls?  What sorts of concerts did the middle class generally attend?

How did tourism change during this period, and who most frequently traveled to spas?  Was there a clear, sharp difference between middle class recreation patterns and those of the aristocracy?  Explain.

What social class was most involved in the development of sports activities in this period, and was there a clear, sharp difference between the sports activities of the middle class and those of the working class?

Gildea discusses three "directions" from which the power and influences of religion and Church (broadly speaking) came under attack in this period--1) from States that sought to unify and promote nationalism [especially after 1860]; 2) from the advances of science and scientific thinking; 3) from political and demographic factors that reduced working class religious attachments.  Explain each of these three points.

Explain the difference between "ultramontanes" and liberal Catholics; why Pius IX's "Syllabus of Errors" contributed to the secularist drive; why the unification of Germany and the German victory in the Franco-Prussian War were blows to the Catholic Church; and why the Papacy established the doctrine of Papal Infallibility in 1870.

How did the legal and social status of Jews change during this period?  Where did Jews assimilate most, and where did they assimilate the least?

How did the study of medicine change in this period?

How did Darwin's theories fit into the context of new trends in the sciences, and why were Darwin's discoveries seen as an attack against religion?

What about Ernest Renan's scholarship presented a criticism of Christianity?

Was there a necessary contradiction between scientific and religious belief in this period?  Could religion ignore science?  Explain.

What initial impact did the Paris Commune have upon popular Catholicism?   In what ways was the rise in popular Catholic religiosity politicized?

In what sense did Positivism pose a challenge to religion?  In what sense was it a challenge to the "traditional" principles of liberalism? 

How did Herbert Spenser apply Darwin's ideas to the study of society?

How did Gobineau apply "scientific" social analysis to the study of racial differences?

In what sense was there a common thread through the ideas of Darwin and Marx? How did Marx's thought differ from that of the "darwinists"?

Were all new philosophical trends in the 1850s-1880 hostile to religion?  Explain, for instance, the views of the Krausists in Spain.

Given the flourishing of reform-minded philosophy at mid-century, had social reform done much to improve the lives of the lower classes in the period 1850-1880?

What seems to have best characterized the interests and approach of "Realism" in the arts in this period?  (E.G., what did the paintings of Courbert or Manet, the novels of Flaubert, etc., have in common?)

Was Realism as a style popular with (or considered morally or aesthetically acceptable by) the middle class?  Explain.

 In what sense was the approach of Realism influenced by trends in science and technology?  How, for instance, had photography influenced painting?  How had new medical theories influenced "Naturalistic" artists like the novelist Emile Zola?

Is it correct to say that Darwinism, Realism, Positivism, or scientific thinking had triumphed by 1880?  Explain.


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