Nationalism & Imperialism12 minutes read


The Crimean War- the Crimean War (1853-1856) was the reaction to Russia’s attempt to expand its sphere of influence by capturing Crimea. By gaining the Ottoman held territory, Russia would gain a warm water port allowing it to expand its trade into the Mediterranean. France and Britain felt threatened by Russia’s decision of expansion and decided to fight with the Ottomans to stop the expansion of Russia. The Crimean War was a dissident chord which ended the Concert of Europe. For the first time in European history the French and British unite to fight one common enemy.

Camillo Cavour- Camillo Cavour (1810-1861) was a leading figure during the Italian unification. Cavour was the Prime Minister of Piedmont and Sardinia.

Cavour made his fortune investing in railroads, and as the owner of a newspaper. He was a leader whose beliefs were formed by the Enlightenment, classical economics, and utilitarianism.

Giuseppe Mazzini- (1805-1872) as an Italian politician and a supporter of the Italian unification. During the 1830s and 1840s Mazzini and his fellow republican, Giuseppe Garibaldi, led uprisings to try to unite Italy. Both were part of the Roman Republic of 1849.

Giuseppe Garibaldi- (1807-1882) was an Italian politician who sought to unite Italy. His military campaigns unified a large portion of Italy. Garibaldi wanted to to establish an Italian republic, but Cavour kept him from doing so by sending Piedmontese troops into southern Italy.

Transformismo before Italian unification in 1870, Italian parliamentary leaders would use bribes to “transform” enemies into friends. This act of bribery became known as trasformismo. Italian politics became a known for corruption.

Frederick William IV- (1795-1861) was the King of Prussia from 1840-1861. Liberal nationalists had almost given up after the suppression of the revolts of 1848 and 1849. Frederick William IV wanted to lead a unification movement, but Austria opposed it as it would weaken its sphere of influence in Prussia.

Otto von Bismarck- (1815-1898) was a conservative Prussian who became the first Chancellor of Germany in 1871. Bismarck more than any other person helped shape the course of Europe’s history for the next thirty years.

Danish war- The Danish war only lasted a few months in 1864. Bismarck’s strategy was to provoke and win a war with Austria. A disagreement in foreign relations between Denmark and the German Confederation gave him his opportunity. During this war, Bismarck had gained Russia’s friendship and he also made Napoleon III remain neutral until the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.

Austro-Prussian War- The Austro-Prussian War of 1866 was a war between Austria and Prussia. On June 1, 1866, when Austria asked the German Confederation to intervene, Bismarck claimed this violated Prussia’s treaties with Austria.  The war ended with Austria surrendering Venetia to Italy, and it also weakened the Habsburg.

Franco-Prussian War- In 1868, the Spanish removed queen Isabella II from the throne and replaced her with Prince Leopold Hohenzollern. The French became worried that the Hohenzollerns were surrounding the territories of France. Bismarck started the war by sending an “edited” version of a telegram that William I wanted him to deliver to Napoleon III. This edited telegram made France declare war on Prussia.  This war ended with the German states becoming a powerful nation in Europe.

Napoleon III- Napoleon the III (1808-1873) was the leader of France from 1851-1870. Napoleon III’s rule was divided into two halves one being an authoritarian ruler to the second half becoming more liberal.

Paris Commune- the Paris Commune was a revolutionary government that ruled in Paris from March to May 1871. The short lived Paris Commune became famous. Marxists claimed it was a genuine proletarian government suppressed by the bourgeoisie even though it the goal of the commune was not to create a republic but a nation of relatively independent democratic states. Although the Paris Commune did not succeed at its goal it  showed that centralized national government was a better form of government over an alternative form of political organization.

Third Republic- The Third Republic of France was a type of government in that lasted in France from 1870 to 1940. In France the Third republic proved to be more durable that many had expected.

Dual Monarchy- was an agreement between Austria and Hungary that two monarchs would rule the Habsburg lands. The Dual Monarchy weakened the Habsburg territory even more.

Alexander II- Alexander II (1818-1881) was the Emperor of Russia from 1855-1881. Alexander II was one of the greatest reformers of Russia since Tsar Peter the Great. He reconstructed Russia’s political and military institutions.

Populism- populism is a political theory that appeals to the interests and needs of the general people. In the late 19th century in Russia, students formed a revolutionary movement known as populism.

The People’s Will- was a group of revolutionaries in Russia that sought to over through the monarchy. Its members decide to assassinate the tsar himself,  Alexander II. On March 1, 1881, members of the People’s Will assassinated Alexander II by throwing a bomb at him.

Alexander III- Alexander III (1845-1894) was the tsar of Russia from 1881-1894. He was conservative and turned back most of his father’s reforms. He strengthened the secret police and increased censorship of the press.

Second Reform Act 1867- the Second Reform act increased the size of the electorate by giving the working class more voting rights. The British realized that the only way they would win over the loyalty of the working class would be to give them the right to vote. The Second Reform Act of 1867 increased the number of voters in Britain from 1,430,000 to 2,470,000.

Gladstone- William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) was a liberal politician in Britain in the late 19th century. Gladstone helped pass the Education Act of 1870 which gave all people of Britain the right to free elementary schools. The Education Act of 1870 made sure the electorate was made up of literate voters.

Disraeli- Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) was a conservative politician in Britain in the late 19th century. Disraeli succeeded Gladstone in 1874. Disraeli helped pass the Public Health Act of 1875 which gave inexpensive health care to Britain.

The Irish Question- the Irish question had become a major issue of the 1880s while Gladstone was the prime minister of Britain. The Irish question was a debate wether Ireland should become a separate state from England.


1. Why did the Ottoman Empire attempt to reform itself between 1839 and 1914?  How successful were these efforts?

The Ottoman Empire attempted to reform itself because it saw how much more advanced the rest of Europe was compared to itself. The sultan tried to reconstruct the Ottoman government and military along European borders. The reforms attempted between 1839 and 1876 were known as the Tanzimat. These new reforms freed the economy, ended high taxes on the population, fought corruption, and extended religious tolerance throughout the Ottoman Empire. In 1856, another reform gave Jews and Christians the same rights. The Tanzimat also abolished tourture and gave more rights to foreigners and Christian missionaries. Although these liberal ideas were beneficial for the Ottoman Empire, they were difficult to implement. The success of these reforms are difficult to judge because they were more helpful in some regions compared to others. For some citizens of the Ottoman Empire these reforms seemed too radical and this led to outraged traditional Islamists. Reforms such as the Tanzimat were difficult to enact.

2. Why was it so difficult to unify Italy? What groups wanted unification? Why did Cavour succeed? What did Garibaldi contribute to Italian unification?

From 1830 to 1870 debates over national identity, unification, and independence from the Austrian Empire lingered throughout Italy. A majority of the population living on the Italian Peninsula wanted independence from the Austrians. Although a many agreed that the northern provinces of Lombardy and Venetia should be released from Austrian rule, disputes regarding the unification of Italy, and what type of government that should be established were not as clear. During this time period, the conservatives, the church, the republican nationalists, and the those who wanted Italy to remain divided, all had different views pertaining national identity, and unification of Italy. All of these opposing views made it difficult to unify Italy. Groups such as the followers of Camilio Cavour, Giuseppe Mazzini, and Giuseppe Garibaldi were all supporters of Italian unification. Cavour succeeded in unifying Italy because he promoted free trade, railway construction, modernization of agriculture and he also tried to win the support of the Italian nationalists. Garibaldi’s contribution to the unification of Italy was his militaristic approach. He forcefully united some parts of Italy.

3. How and why did Bismarck unify Germany? Why had earlier attempts failed? How did German unification affect the rest of Europe?

Bismarck unified Germany by opposing parliamentary government but favored a strong constitutional monarchy. When Bismarck became prime minister in 1862, he attacked the liberals in Prussia. He ignored the liberals so that he could unify Germany. Earlier attempts at unifying Germany had failed because the different political groups could not agree on how to try to unify the country. German unification changed Europe by creating a powerful new state that was stronger that Prussia was alone. The unification of Germany also weakened the power of the Habsburgs even more. After the the unification of Germany, conservative political ideas now controlled one of Europe’s stronges nations.

4. What events led to the establishment of the Third Republic? How were foreign and domestic policies intertwined during the Second Empire? What were the objectives of the Paris Commune?? How did the Dreyfus affair affect the Third Republic? 

The Third Republic was established after France had lost the Franco-Prussian War. The people of France had lost their confidence with the emperor. Politicians in France seized the moment and hoped to create a more democratic state without a autocratic monarch. The goals of the Third Republic and the Second Empire were similar.  The objectives of the Paris commune were to separate the church and state, limit working hours, and granting of pensions to government worker and their families. These objectives of the Paris commune were seen as extreme liberalism to conservatives at the time in France. The most difficult time the Third Republic experienced was the Dreyfus affair. On December 22, 1894, the French military found Captain Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935) guilty of treason. Dreyfus had been caught passing sensitive information to the German army. As a punishment, he was sent to Devil’s island. Later in 1896, information about Dreyfus’s treason came to light, and it was found the accusations against him had been forged. The Dreyfus case had long lasting political repercussions. It separated supporters and non-supporters in the Third Republic apart, which led to heightened political tensions. Repressions from the Dreyfus affair continued to divide the Third Republic roughly until the German invasion of France in 1940.

5. What problems did Austria share with other eastern European empires? Were they solved? Why did the Habsburgs agree to the Compromise of 1867? Was it a success?

One of the largest problems that faced eastern European empires in the 19th century was the ethnically diverse land they ruled. This put higher strain on the nations leaders and people. In Austria, the numerous ethic groups with in the Habsburg Empire confronted it with a unique challenge as it attempted to modernize its state. There were over 11 different ethnic groups with distinct languages that were part of the Austrian Empire. Many of these problems of ethnicity went unsolved, because it was undesirable for people to give up their unique customs to try to become a single nation of a homogenous culture and language. The Habsburgs agreed to the Compromise of 1867 because they wanted to become a stronger nation state. They agreed to combine the Austrian Habsburg lands with the Hungarian lands to create a single dual monarchy. The dual monarchy was cumbersome politically for Austria and Hungary. The dual monarchy was unique in European history.

6. What reforms did Alexander II institute in Russia? Did they solve Russia’s domestic problems? Why did the abolition of serfdom not satisfy the peasants?

The political reforms of Alexander II were both necessary to the tsar to retain power in Russia. The most significant difference between Russia and the rest of Europe in the 19th century was that Russia had still not abolished serfdom. The only western minded countries that still tolerated involuntary serivitude in the mid 19th century were Russia, areas of the United States, and Brazil. All of the other nations in Europe had already abolished serfdom 100-75 years earlier to Russia.  After the Crimean War, Alexander II made the decision to abolish serfdom. He stated that serfdom hindered Russia economically, and was a constant source of social unrest. Alexander II also reformed the government and judicial system in Russia. Among with other reforms Alexander II also reformed the military of Russia. The embarrassing defeat of the Crimean war prompted Alexander II to reform the military. Alexander II shortened the service time of peasants from 25 years of active duty to a significantly shorter 15 years. The abolition of serfdom did not satisfy the peasants because once they were freed they could not afford to own the land they had once worked on. As a result of the abolition of serfdom, Russia experienced famine due to the lower production rate of food.

7. How did the policies of the British Liberal and Conservative parties differ between 1860 and 1890? Why was home rule such a divisive issue in British politics?

There were noticeable differences between the British Liberal and Conservative parties during 1860 and 1890. The liberal Party favored social reform, reducing powers of the Church of England, and expanding the voting electorate. Gladstone sought for individualism, free trade, and wanted to solve social problems that plagued the poor proletariate working classes. The conservatives favored paternalistic legislation and government that would protect the weak. Disraeli was more conservative compared to Gladstone. Disraeli favored legislation that supported the Public Health Act of 1875. This act provided discounted health care for all citizens of England. The Irish nationalists wanted so called “home rule” which would allow the Irish to govern their own local government separate of the British. The debate over Irish home rule was a divisive issue in British politics because if Ireland was awarded the right to control its local government this would weaken Britain’s influence on Ireland. Many politicians were separated on the idea if Ireland should be given the power to control its own local government.


Kagan, Donald, Steven Ozment E., Frank Turner M., and A. Frankforter Daniel. The Western Heritage. Combined Volume. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004. Print.

Kagan, Donald, Steven E. Ozment, and Frank M. Turner. The Western Heritage: Since 1300. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.

Ramírez, Susan E., Peter N. Stearns, Samuel S. Wineburg, and Steven A. Goldberg.Holt World History: Human Legacy. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2008. Print.


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3 thoughts on “Nationalism & Imperialism12 minutes read

  1. phancerend

    By gaining the Ottoman held territory, Russia would gain a warm water port allowing it to expand its trade into the Mediterranean. Where did you get this information?


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