Chapter 19 Revolutions Chapter Preview

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Chapter 19


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This chapter will introduce you to a series of revolutions in Europe and North America. These revolutions brought dramatic changes in the sciences, government, and how people worked and produced goods.

Section 1

The Enlightenment

Section 2

Political Revolutions

Section 3

The Age of Napoleon

Section 4

The Early Industrial Age

Target Reading Skill

Using Context In this chapter, you will focus on using context to help you understand unfamiliar words. Context refers to the words and sentences that surround unfamiliar words.

During the War of Independence, General George Washington and his troops spent a miserable winter at their camp at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.


MAPMASTER Skills Activity

Location In the War of Independence the colonists were fighting against a professional army, but they had the advantage of fighting on their own ground. Read a Map Key Note where the battles occurred. Were there more battles in the southern or northern colonies? Draw Conclusions What might account for the fact that the movement of the armies is more complicated in the southern colonies?


Section 1

The Enlightenment

Prepare to Read


In this section you will

1. Learn about approaches to science that began in the 15005.

2. Identify discoveries of the Scientific Revolution.

3. Understand the ideas of the Enlightenment

4. Find out how the Enlightenment affected governments.

Taking Notes

As you read this section, summarize how the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment affected governments at the time. Copy the chart below, and record your findings in it.

Target Reading Skill

Use Context Clues You can sometimes figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word from clues in context. For example, you can use a context clue to figure out the meaning of the word royalty:

People believed that kings and other royalty had the right to collect taxes.

The phrase kings and other royalty is a clue that royalty are people who are like kings. As you read, look for context clues for the word microorganisms.

Key Terms

scientific method (sy un TIF ik METH ud) n. a way of performing experiments

natural laws (NACH ur ul lawz) n. the patterns that control the behavior of the universe

Enlightenment (en LYT un munt) n. the belief that science and natural laws bring individuals and society to a more enlightened state

natural rights (NACH ur ul rytz) n. the rights to life, liberty, and property

Leeuwenhoek was the first person to study bacteria.

In Medieval times, scientists thought that living things, such as maggots, developed from nonliving things, such as rotten meat. The belief was called the theory of spontaneous generation.

In the 1600s, a Dutch merchant named Antoni van Leeuwenhock (ahn TON nee van LAY vun hook) constructed microscopes to examine the quality of his cloth. His microscope was more powerful than any previously used. Through his microscope, he saw what looked like tiny moving objects. In 1674, he concluded that these must be tiny animals. Leeuwenhoek's discovery showed that the small insects that ate spoiled grain and meat had hatched from tiny eggs laid by adult insects.

Leeuwenhoek's theories eventually led to our understanding of microorganisms such as germs and bacteria. Leeuwenhoek's work, like that of others during the Enlightenment, helped people see science as a way to improve the world.


Scientific Discoveries Encourage New Attitudes

As new ideas inspired by humanism and the Reformation spread across Europe in the 1500s and 1600s, scientists had begun applying new ideas to the ways in which they understood the world. They began to rely more on reason and logic than on superstition or old theories to explain the world.

One example of the use of reason was the development of the scientific method, a way of performing experiments. Using the scientific method, a scientist conducts an experiment under controlled conditions, carefully observes and records what happens, and then uses these observations to explain the results. Experiments performed using the scientific method can be repeated by others. Discoveries made by the scientists of this period, such as the development of the scientific method, not only increased knowledge about the world but also changed the way that people lived.

Sometimes these experiments gave results that contradicted the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe. In the early 1600s, Galileo Gallilei (gal uh LAY oh gal uh LAY) used his observations to prove that the sun was the center of the universe and that the planets revolved around the sun. However, the official Catholic Church teaching at that time was that Earth was at the center of the universe and that the sun and planets revolved around Earth. After Galileo published the results of his research in 1632, he was brought to Rome, where a court found him guilty of violating Catholic Church teachings. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, a sentence he served by remaining confined in his house in Florence for the rest of his life. Other scientists and writers were jailed for opposing the Catholic Church, and their writings were banned.

Despite these challenges, new ideas and methods continued to spread throughout Europe. These ideas and methods would change not only how Europeans thought about science, but also how they thought about religion, politics, and many other aspects of human nature and society.

Reading Check How did the Catholic Church react when scientific theories differed from Church teachings?

Galileo and the Telescope

Galileo was the first person to use the telescope to study the stars and planets. Infer How might the telescope have helped Galileo to determine that Earth revolved around the sun?


Revolutionizing Medicine

Vesalius demonstrated that accepted theories on the structure of the human body were not based on the study of human anatomy. He realized that previous physicians had merely applied information gathered from the structures of animals to that of the human body. Infer What does the title page to Vesalius's book (above) suggest about how he learned about the human body?

The Scientific Revolution

Galileo's work came during a period that historians now call the Scientific Revolution. From the mid-1500s through the mid- 1700s, scientists made many significant discoveries in several different sciences. In 1543, Andreas Vesalius (AN dree us vih SAY lee us), a Flemish doctor, produced the first manual that used detailed pictures to show the structure of the human body. William Harvey, an English doctor, discovered that the human heart works like a pump and that blood is returned to the heart after it circulates through the body.

Beginning in 1637, the French philosopher Rene Descartes (ruh NAY day KAHRT) began to publish books proposing a system for geometry. He also used letters of the alphabet in math equations and analyzed how light was reflected from a mirror. His studies led to the development of analytic geometry. Descartes also proposed the idea that mathematics was the perfect model for reasoning in all of the sciences.

Robert Boyle, an Irish chemist, disproved the centuries-old idea that all matter was made of a combination of four things: air, water, earth, and fire. Boyle argued in the late 1600s that matter was made up of a more complex combination of chemicals. Boyle's work became the foundation of modern chemistry. In the mid-1700s, the British scientist Sir Isaac Newton studied the motion of the planets and objects on the earth. His theories about natural laws, or the patterns of behavior that control the universe included the laws of motion and gravity. These laws explain everything from why a rock rolls down a hill to the way the Earth revolves around the sun. His studies helped explain some problems with the theories that Galileo had proposed a century earlier, but still upheld their basic principles.

These scientific discoveries and many others changed the way that people understood the world around them. People began to believe that science and reason could improve their lives. Although some of the explanations were later proven wrong, the dedication of these scientists to the scientific method and their belief in the use of reason continue to be the basis for science today.

Reading Check How did William Harvey help increase scientific knowledge?

An 1883 reproduction of the pendulum clock designed by Galileo


New Ways of Thinking

In 1687, Newton published his ideas in a book called Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. As scientists and thinkers across Europe understood Newton's work, they believed his approach could discover other natural laws. Their belief in the power of science and reason inspired them. They began to search for natural laws in human behavior as well.

To help them keep up with the pace of new discoveries, scientists began forming organizations through which they could share new knowledge and exchange ideas. The first of these organizations was created in Italy in the early 1600s. Two of the most important were formed in the mid-1660s: the Royal Society of London for the Promotion of Natural Knowledge and the AcadŽmie des Sciences (a ka day MEE day see AFINS) of Paris. These societies published papers explaining new discoveries in a way that could be understood by all scientists. Through these and other organizations like them, scientific knowledge spread rapidly throughout Germany, England, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands, and the American colonies.

This movement across Europe became known as the enlightenment, because of the belief that science and natural laws of behavior would bring individuals and society to a better, or more enlightened, state. It is sometimes called the Age of Reason because people believed they could understand the world with their intelligence. This way of thinking affected politics, art, literature, science, and religion.

Reading Check How were Enlightenment ideas communicated throughout Europe?

Newton concluded that a prism separates light into the colors of the spectrum because each color refracts, or bends, by a different amount.


Use Context Clues

Sometimes the context will restate what a word means. Look for context clues to determine the meaning of divine right.

The Enlightenment Affects Government

As Enlightenment ideas about science and reason spread, new theories about politics and government were developed. These new theories emphasized the rights of individuals and new ways that society could be organized.

The Conflict Over Divine Right to Rule In Chapter 18, you learned that the monarchs who ruled in Europe were believed to have divine right. According to this theory, the right to rule had been decided by God, and rulers had to answer to God only. The people they ruled had no say in the government and no right to speak out against it. In 1651, the English writer Thomas Hobbes published a book that strongly supported the power of royalty and the divine right to rule. He believed that without a strong government to control them, people would behave badly and their lives would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." He thought that people were naturally greedy and selfish and that they needed a king who could rule without any limits to preserve order.

Many Enlightenment thinkers disagreed with Hobbes' view of human nature. According to the French philosopher Descartes, "the power of forming a good judgment and of distinguishing the true from the false, which is properly speaking what is called good sense or reason, is by nature equal in all men." Descartes believed that any person who had a good education had the power to reason and make good decisions.

John Locke, an English writer, also opposed the theory of the divine right of kings. In his 1690 book, Two Treatises of Government, Locke applied Enlightenment ideas to government and challenged the divine right of kings. He argued that all people possessed certain natural rights when they were born, including the rights to life, liberty, and property. He also argued that the people should hold the power of government. According to his theory, a government should rule only if it followed natural laws and protected people's natural rights. Locke argued that the people should overthrow a government that does not do these things.

RenŽ Descartes


Enlightened Rulers Among the upper classes in Europe, the ideas of the Enlightenment became very popular. Even kings and queens became familiar with them.

Frederick the Great of Prussia ruled over much of what is now Germany and Poland from 1740 to 1786. He made changes within his country that reflected Enlightenment ideas. He retained absolute power, but he believed he should work for the common good. He helped peasant farmers and made laws so that they were fairer to all classes of people.

Catherine the Great of Russia (1762-1796) expanded the Russian educational and public health system. However, even as she made these changes, she also expanded landowners' authority over peasants.

Joseph II of Austria (1765-1790) allowed religious tolerance and limited the power of the Catholic Church to take action in his kingdom. He reformed laws, established independent judges, freed the serfs, and allowed the publication of ideas that were opposed to his or to those of the church. However, many people in the upper class in his country opposed such big changes.

Reading Check How did Enlightenment thinking affect some of the rulers in Europe?

Even though some monarchs started reforms during the Enlightenment, serfdom continued in Europe until the 1800s.

Section 1 Assessment

Key Terms

Review the Key Terms at the beginning of this section. Use each term in a sentence that explains its meaning.

Target Reading Skill

Find the word promotion on page 533. What do you think promotion means? What clues help you arrive at this meaning?

Comprehension and Critical Thinking


(a) Define What is the scientific method?

(b) Identify Cause and Effect How did the scientific method change the practice of science?


(a) List List three areas of science affected by the Scientific Revolution.

(b) Summarize How did the Scientific Revolution affect thinkers across Europe?


(a) Identify What was the Enlightenment?

(b) Identify Cause and Effect How did Enlightenment ideas spread?


(a) Explain Explain how Enlightenment ideas helped some peasants and serfs in Europe.

(b) Compare and Contrast Contrast the ideas of Hobbes and Locke on what rights people and governments should have.

Writing Activity

Write a journal entry that lists some scientific discoveries in medicine or other areas that have been made during your life or during the last 50 years. Describe how they have changed your life or other people's lives.


Section 2

Political Revolutions


In this section you will

1. Learn why Great Britain established colonies in North America.

2. Understand the American Revolution.

3. Identify reasons for the French Revolution.

4. Explore the effects of the French Revolution.

Taking Notes

As you read, identify ways that the American and French Revolutions were alike and different. Copy the chart below. Record your findings in it.

Target Reading Skill

Recognize Nonliteral Meanings Sometimes figurative language is used to convey meaning. As you read, look for words that have figurative meanings and substitute a word that gives a more literal meaning. Look at the word spark on this page. What is a word that you can use to replace spark?

Key Terms

colony (KAHL uh nee) n. a territory that is ruled by another country and is usually very far from the ruling country

constitution (kahn stuh TOO shun) n. a set of rules explaining the structure and powers of the government

democracy (dih MARK ruh see) n. a political system in which people freely elect government leaders

Founded in May 1607, Jamestown, Virginia, became Britain's first permanent settlement in North America.

Even as Enlightenment ideas were spreading throughout Europe, a radical new experiment was taking shape elsewhere. In a distant corner of the British Empire, settlers who had come to North America throughout the 1600s and 1700s began planning a new form of government.

By 1607, 105 settlers had established their first permanent North American homes in Virginia. By 1760, almost 1,700,000 Europeans lived in British North America. They built towns and shipped goods from coastal trading ports. Living outside of Europe, though, also had given them a new way of seeing things.

"We see with other eyes; we hear with other ears; and think with other thoughts, than those formerly used," wrote one of these leaders, Thomas Paine. Their new beliefs would spark a revolution in North America. The changes in this tiny imperial outpost would be felt throughout Europe and beyond in the next century.


Britain Establishes Colonies in North America

After Christopher Columbus had returned from the Caribbean, European nations sought ways to control new lands. They sent ships to claim lands and take advantage of the many resources they found. They also established permanent settlements to enforce their claims and to grow cash crops. Disputes and wars over the new settlements were common. In some cases, native populations resisted the settlers. Europeans from different areas also fought with one another for control. By the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, Great Britain had won from the French most of what is now the United States east of the Mississippi River and much of Canada.

The new settlements in North America were called colonies. A colony is a territory that is ruled by another country and is usually very far from the ruling country. Great Britain used the North American colonies as a source of income. Private companies that had received charters, or special permission from the government to settle and govern the territory, had established some settlements. These companies invested in the settlements with the hope that they could eventually make a profit.

By the mid-1700s, the British government had brought most of the colonies under more direct authority. Governors ruled many of the colonies, and laws required that all goods shipped from the colonies had to be transported on British ships. The British government also provided protection from Native Americans and from other countries while regulating many aspects of life in the colonies.

Reading Check Why did private companies help establish colonies in North America?

Jamestown Colony

Today, parts of Jamestown have been reconstructed to show how the colony may have looked about 400 years ago. Summarize What is a colony?


Recognize Nonliteral Meanings

The word raged is used figuratively in the first sentence on this page. What is another word you could substitute for raged?

During the Boston Tea Party, protestors disguised themselves as Native Americans.

The American Revolution

As the Seven Years' War raged in Europe, British and French forces also fought each other in their North American colonies. Although the British drove the French out of much of North America, their battles against the French had been very costly. The British government had large debts to pay when the war ended in 1763. It decided that the colonies should help pay these debts because the British soldiers had fought to defend the colonists. To raise the money, the government created a variety of new taxes for the people in America.

No Taxation Without Representation The colonists thought that they already paid enough taxes to Great Britain, and they argued that they were not given the same rights as English citizens. They did not elect any representatives to the British government, called Parliament (PARR luh munt), that made decisions regarding their taxes. The colonists did not elect the governors in the colonies either. Influenced by John Locke and other Enlightenment writers, some leaders in the colonies argued that the British were not respecting their natural rights.

The colonists began working together to oppose British policies. At first they tried to persuade the British to change policies with which they disagreed. Later they objected to the taxes by refusing to pay them and harassing tax collectors. Parliament sent troops to Boston to help enforce tax and import laws. The colonists resented the troops and were in constant conflicts with them. These conflicts continued until several colonists were killed in the Boston Massacre (BAWS tun MAS uh kur) in 1770.

The settlers particularly resented the British government's tax on tea imported from Asia. When the British continued their efforts to tax this important product in the colonies, protestors in Boston threw a shipload of British tea overboard into the harbor in 1773. The protest came to be called the Boston Tea Party. When the British punished Boston by closing the port, other colonies supported Boston against the British. Many began to talk about establishing their own independent country where they could vote for representatives who would govern.


The Colonies Become an Independent Nation On April 19, 1775, British troops in Massachusetts marched to the towns of Concord and Lexington to take away colonists' guns and ammunition. The colonists fought back, and the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired. Soon, the colonists were able to force the British to leave Boston, but the long, costly war had just begun. The British had many military advantages, including a much larger and well-trained army and navy.

As battles between British and colonial forces waged, the colonies declared their independence in Philadelphia in July 1776. The Declaration of Independence included many of the same arguments that John Locke had used. The Declaration said that people had the right to overthrow any government that did not serve their interests. It also said that people had the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!'

At first, the war for independence did not go well for the colonists. Early in the war, the British took New York and Philadelphia. However, the colonists began receiving support from France, which wanted to limit British power in the colonies. Led by George Washington, the colonists defeated the British army at Yorktown in 1781.

Leaders from the newly independent colonies met and agreed to be governed as one country under the Articles of Confederation (AHR tih kulz uv kun fed ur AY shun). However, the weakness of the national government under the Articles caused conflicts between the colonies. In 1787, representatives met to write a new constitution, or a set of rules explaining the structure and powers of government. The Constitution of the United States, which took effect in 1789, divided power among three branches of government. Shortly after the Constitution was ratified, a series of amendments called the Bill of Rights was added. The amendments guaranteed specific rights to the citizens, such as the right of free speech. Although the new government did not extend full rights to some groups, including women and enslaved Africans, the founding principles of the United States were the clearest statements of freedom and equality by any government at that point in history.

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