Ch 11 The Industrial Revolution


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1818 - Karl Heinrich Marx was born into a comfortable middle-class home in Trier, Germany, in 1818. He initially followed in his father's footsteps and studied law in Bonn and Berlin, where he met his future wife, the aristocrat's daughter Jenny von Westphalen.   Marx then edited a liberal newspaper in Cologne which was shut down by the Prussian government. He emigrated to Paris where he outlined his first views on communism as a cooperative production in contrast to the alienation of ...


The Jacobin Club 

Politics in the Reign of Terror

Jan 17, 2009 Jason Chavis

The Jacobin Club was the most powerful political organization in France during the French Revolution. It was formed in Versailles during the Estates-General of 1789.


Formed in Versailles by deputies from Brittany during the Estates-General of 1789, the earliest meetings were secretive and few records remain regarding their content. Soon, other members from the rest of France joined, swelling their ranks. Mirabeau controlled their earliest incarnations, joined by Abbe Sieyes, Abbe Gregoire, Charles Lameth, Antoine Barnave, duc d'Aiguillon and Maximilien Robespierre.

Following the March on Versailles in October of 1789, the club relocated with the rest of the National Constituent Assembly to Paris where it rented a refectory of a monastery. The Rue St. Honore housed the Jacobins, the French name for the Dominicans. This name was given to the club by its enemies as a form of ridicule. In 1791, the club officially adopted the name.

Expanding its presence in Paris, the Jacobin Club became synonymous with radicalized oratory. The stance of the organization became one of republicanism, education, universal suffrage and the separation of church and state. The club officially established its platform at this time. The club would discuss the questions put forth by the National Assembly, work for the establishment of a constitution that followed the Rights of Man and correspond with other societies similar to itself. Along with the platform, rules of order were established, bringing to power a president, secretaries, a treasurer and various committees to work on issues of the club. Soon, the Jacobins had a network of branches located throughout France.

The Terror

After a period of moderation, the club became increasingly radicalized by left-wing rhetoric. After the kings dethronement and subsequent beheading, many of the more conservative elements in the society left to form the Feuillants Club. This left Maximilien Robespierre as the central figure in the Jacobin Club.

Initially, the party was a minority in the National Convention. The society was known as “the Mountain,” because its membership sat in the higher seats in the convention hall. They established a position against the war with Austria and an expansion of the Revolution at home.

During the spring of 1793, a Parisian mob instituted a coup on the Convention, bringing the Jacobin Club to power. Led by Robespierre, the Convention was purged of elements disloyal to the Revolution. The Committee of Public Safety instituted a program known as the Reign of Terror, in which those thought to be counter-revolutionaries were executed. Robespierre believed these purges would create a Republic of Virtue. However, during the final purge on 9 Thermidor, Robespierre himself was executed. The remaining Jacobins lost power in the Convention and were disolved in 1794.

The Jacobins attempted to reform in 1799. They lashed out against the Directory and supported Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'etat, which brought the dictator to power. The new club was soon eradicated, leaving the Jacobins to their place in history.


Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (Vintage Books, 1990



Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)

Symphony no 3, 'Eroica'

Friday 29 September, 7.30pm

Dvorak Suite in A major, Op.98b
Jonathan Dove Hojoki (BBC commission: world premiere)

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Jiri Belohlavek conductor 
Lawrence Zazzo counter-tenor

Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS 
Book tickets

Why is this Symphony so Great?

In 1801, Beethoven began to complain bitterly of deafness. The following year, depressed and close to suicide, he left Vienna for the village of Heiligenstadt. Here he penned a moving 'testament' intended for the eyes of his brothers. "Ah," he wrote, "it seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me." Despite suffering the distress and pain of tinnitus, chronic stomach ailments and other severe illnesses, the composer drew on extraordinary inner strength to compose his 'Eroica' or 'Heroic' Symphony. The new score, written in the winter of 1803-4, proved longer than any symphony written before, its monumental structure bound together by Beethoven's bold use and development of simple melodic themes.

Beethoven initially intended his Third Symphony to carry the title 'Bonaparte'. When the composer heard that Napoleon had been crowned emperor of France , he furiously denounced his former hero. "He will now set himself on high, like all the others, and become a tyrant!" Upon publication, the symphony appeared with its familiar title of 'heroic symphony' and a further line explaining that the work was "composed to celebrate the memory of a great man".
"This composition, extremely difficult of performance, is in reality a lengthy, daring and wild fantasia," observed one astonished reviewer after the work's 1805 premiere. Here is Beethoven's profound concept of the heroic, of humankind's noble goodness. The first movement grabs the ear with three mighty chords and a main theme of irresistible grandeur. A slow funeral march commemorates the hero's death. The work closes with a compelling set of variations that celebrates the hero's Promethean spirit, the human desire to overcome adversity and be free from oppression. With his 'Eroica', Beethoven challenged musical conventions and paved the way for future generations to explore big ideas in instrumental music.

(c) Andrew Stewart 2006

The Continental System

After his victory at Jena, Napoleon felt that the time had come to put into execution his project of excluding England from the continent. England had given him an excuse for the Berlin Decree given below by declaring the coast from the river Elbe to Brest in a state of blockade (May, 1806).

*          *          *

November 21, 1806.

Napoleon, emperor of the French and king of Italy, in consideration of the facts:

1. That England does not recognize the system of international law universally observed by all civilized nations.
2. That she regards as an enemy every individual belonging to the enemy's state, and consequently makes prisoners of war not only of the crews of armed ships of war but of the crews of ships of commerce and merchantmen, and even of commercial agents and of merchants traveling on business.
3. That she extends to the vessels and commercial wares, and to the property of individuals, the right of conquest which is applicable only to the possessions of the belligerent power.
4. That she extends to unfortified towns and commercial ports, to harbors and the mouths of rivers, the right of blockade, which, in accordance with reason and the customs of all civilized nations, is applicable only to strong places. . . . That she has declared districts in a state of blockade which all her united forces would be unable to blockade, such as entire coasts and the whole of an empire.
5. That this monstrous abuse of the right of blockade has no other aim than to prevent communication among the nations and to raise the commerce and the industry of England upon the ruins of that of the continent.
8. That it is a natural right to employ such arms against an enemy as he himself makes use of, and to combat in the same way as he combats. Since England has disregarded all ideas of justice and every high sentiment implied by civilization among mankind, we have resolved to apply to her the usages which she has ratified in her maritime legislation.

The provisions of the present decree shall continue to be looked upon as embodying the fundamental principles of the empire until England shall recognize that the law of war is one and the same on land and on sea, and that the rights of war cannot be extended so as to include private property of any kind or the persons of individuals unconnected with the profession of arms, and that the right of blockade shall be restricted to fortified places actually invested by sufficient forces.

We have consequently decreed and do decree that which follows.

ARTICLE I. The British Isles are declared to be in a state of blockade.
II. All commerce and all correspondence with the British Isles is forbidden. Consequently, letters or packages directed to England, or to an Englishman, or written in the English language, shall not pass through the mails and shall be seized.
III. Every individual who is an English subject, of whatever state or condition he may be, who shall be discovered in any country occupied by our troops or by those of our allies, shall be made a prisoner of war. 
IV. All warehouses, merchandise, or property of whatever kind belonging to a subject of England shall be regarded as a lawful prize.
V. Trade in English goods is prohibited, and all goods belonging to England or coming from her factories or her colonies are declared a lawful prize.
VII. No vessel coming directly from England or from the English colonies, or which shall have visited these since the publication of the present decree, shall be received in any port.
VIII. Any vessel contravening the above provision by a false declaration shall be seized, and the vessel and cargo shall be confiscated as if it were English property.
X. The present decree shall be communicated by our minister of foreign affairs to the kings of Spain, of Naples, of Holland, and of Etruria, and to our other allies whose subjects, like ours, are the victims of the unjust and barbarous maritime legislation of England.



*          *          *

On November 11, 1807, after news of the Treaty of Tilsit had reached the English government, it replied by an order in council establishing an undisguised "paper" blockade. This, in spite of some alleged merciful exceptions, was almost a prohibition of neutral trading such as that carried on by the United States, and President Jefferson ordered the first embargo, December 22, 1807, as a retaliatory measure. Napoleon replied to England's measures by issuing his brief and cogent Milan Decree.

*          *          *

AT OUR ROYAL PALACE AT MILAN, December 17, 1807.

Napoleon, emperor of the French, king of Italy, protector of the Confederation of the Rhine. In view of the measures adopted by the British government on the 11th of November last, by which vessels belonging to powers which are neutral, or are friendly to, and even allied with, England, are rendered liable to be searched by British cruisers, detained at certain stations in England, and subject to an arbitrary tax of a certain per cent upon their cargo, to be regulated by English legislation:

Considering that by these acts the English government has denationalized the vessels of all the nations of Europe, and that no government may compromise in any degree its independence or its rights by submitting to such demands, -- all the rulers of Europe being jointly responsible for the sovereignty and independence of their flags, -- and that, if through unpardonable weakness, which would be regarded. by posterity as an indelible stain, such tyranny should be admitted and become consecrated by custom, the English would take steps to give it the force of law, as they have already taken advantage of the toleration of the governments to establish the infamous principle that the flag does not cover the goods, and to give the right of blockade an arbitrary extension which threatens the sovereignty of every state: 

We have decreed and do decree as follows:

ARTICLE I. Every vessel, of whatever nationality, which shall submit to be searched by an English vessel, or shall consent to a voyage to England, or shall pay any tax whatever to the English government, is ipso facto- declared denationalized, loses the protection afforded by its flag, and becomes English property.
II. Should these vessels which are thus denationalized through the arbitrary measures of the English government enter our ports or those of our allies, or fall into the hands of our ships of war or of our privateers, they shall be regarded as good and lawful prizes.
III. The British Isles are proclaimed to be in a state of blockade both by land and by sea. Every vessel, of whatever nation or whatever may be its cargo, that sails from the ports of England, or from those of the English colonies, or of countries occupied by English troops, or destined for England, or for any of the English colonies, or any country occupied by English troops, becomes, by violating the present decree, a lawful prize, and may be captured by our ships of war and adjudged to the captor. . . .

*          *          *

Pasquier, in his Memoirs, makes the following admirable criticism of Napoleon's continental system.

*          *          *

[Napoleon's unwise severity after the battle of Jena] was nothing compared to a measure adopted in the hour of intoxication of victory, and which, by erecting an insurmountable barrier, so to speak, between France and England, condemned each of these two powers to entertain no hopes of peace and rest until its rival was completely destroyed. . . .

Napoleon flattered himself with the idea of having found the means to deal a blow at his most deadly opponent in the matter nearest his heart. Seeing himself master of the greater part of the European coast, or at least enjoying a domination over the mouths of the principal rivers of Germany, he persuaded himself that it de pended on him to close all Europe's markets to England and thus compel her to accept peace from him at his own terms. The conception was no doubt a grand one, and the measure was no more iniquitous than that of England, but the difference lay in the fact that the latter, in her pretensions to a blockade, was not undertaking anything beyond her strength, and did not stand in need of any other nation's cooperation to carry it out. 

France, on the contrary, was entering upon an undertaking which could not be put into execution without the voluntary or enforced cooperation of all the European powers. It was therefore sufficient in order to render it fruitless – and the future went to prove this -- that a single one of these powers, unable to submit to the privations imposed upon it, should either announce its firm determination not to lend a hand in the matter, or should be content with finding ways of eluding it. . . . 

Not only was England in a position to supply the continent with the numerous products of her industry, but she also controlled almost the entirety of all colonial wares and provisions. Hence it would become necessary, in the first place, to have recourse to all possible means calculated to make continental industry supply that which English industry would no longer furnish. In the second place, with regard to colonial products, some of which, such as sugar and coffee, were almost indispensable necessaries of life, and others of which were the actual raw material on which depended the manufactures which it was proposed to create, it was necessary to devise a means for allowing them the right of entry, but in a proportion calculated on the strictest necessity, and, if possible, by means of an exchange favorable to the natural products of the continent.

So it happened that through the most persevering and at times the most ingenious efforts, by the aid of a succession of decrees, and with the help of that strange invention of licenses which were nothing but organized smuggling, continental industry, or rather French industry, backed up with a million bayonets and with an auxiliary force of coast guards, succeeded in meeting a tremendous competition and in deriving large profits.

[Source: James Harvey Robinson, Readings in European History, 2 vols (Boston: Ginn & Company, 1906), 2:503-508.]

British History:

'Holy Alliance'


Home > Library > History, Politics & Society > British History

‘Holy Alliance’ was the derisive name given to the declaration at Paris in September 1815 by Alexander I of Russia, Frederick William III of Prussia, and Francis I of Austria that they would govern and collaborate in accordance with Christian principles. The driving spirit was the tsar in the midst of a devout phase. Britain, pleading her constitutional position, did not sign, though the prince regent expressed personal approval. Castlereagh, then foreign secretary, dismissed it privately as ‘a piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense’. No mechanism was included in the declaration and disagreements between the signatories soon appeared.


Heligoland ?

North of Hamburg,South of Denmark


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