The stage for the disruption of politics in the 19th century was set at the end of the 18th. The ideas of such people as Jean-Jacques Rousseau had been introduced to the world. Rousseau introduced the idea
of government based on the will of the people (page 668 Stearns). Political turmoil and unrest had begun in the 18th century with countries like the U.S. revolting against England, or France against the monarchy showing other nations they too could revolt against oppressive governments. These revolts were grounded in the believes of men like Rousseau and not revolutions so much as wars for independence (669 Stearns).
Many political upheavals occurred during this time. Revolutions broke out in both Spain, and Greece in the throughout the century many revolutions broke out in Europe including 1830, 1848, and 1848-1849.
The causes of this were many. One of the causes was the Napoleonic era. Many countries who had been given the Napoleonic code did not want to go back to earlier systems where they had less equality, less social mobility, and they enjoyed the weakening of privileged institutions (672 Stearns).
Another important factor in the political unrest was the economic changes taking place. The industrialization lead to a growing working class, this working class demanded changes. Some changes that took place were the reform bill of 1832 in England. However the reforms were minimal and lead to even more unrest (673 Stearns). This unrest among those who felt threatened at the possible loss of there jobs such as artisans and other skilled labor lead to the Chartist movement.
Industrialization changed how people lived. Some countries based the 50% mark in urbanization. The growths of the cities led to new problems such as sanitation, crime, and housing. Government needed to address these concerns. This caused government to change out of necessity instead of force.
Industrialization also led to the spread of ideas. Information, people, and ideas could spread faster then ever before. Trains, and canals lead to the growth of ideas.
After 1850 most countries out of fear of future turmoil began to reduce the need for revolution. By this time many of the liberals had seen the horrors of such revolution and began to compromise (676 Stearns).
Many factors were involved in the political disruptions of the 18th century. No one factor is the cause. The political changes that took place during this time lead to improvement in everyday life.
The main organization of the Latin American colonies was based primarily on the encomienda. The encomenderas were a newer form of the old Spanish feudalism. Along with a grant of tracts of land one also received the people on the land as either workers or they could choose to tax them (554 Stearns). The encomienda was a way in which the conquistadors were able to transform themselves into a new aristocracy.
A professional bureaucracy composed of judges, lawyers’ etc. ran things. The church also had strong ties to he government. The church also had a say in things in the colonies and would have a strong influence on both the bureaucracy and the indigenous
population. By the 1530’s there was an increased royal control and the economy had become based on sugar plantations (556 Stearns)
Early on the clergy abused the natives. The natives were also being killed off. Men such as Bartolome de Las Casas were able with the help pf the royal administrations stopped many of the abuses of the natives. The natives were treated as a conquered race. They were forced to work in mines. Managers of these mines had complete power and were often abusive.
Some innovations were brought that helped the people. Christianity was introduced. Many kind of animals for food were brought over such as sheep, cattle, and chickens. Horses were also brought to the colonies. Other products were brought into the new land such as bread, wine, peas, and sugar.
There were reforms introduced by the Bourbons. He cleaned up smuggling and tax evasion. Areas were open to colonization. He took away the missions control of the Indians. However his reforms were not completely successful. In fact in Columbia, and Peru his reforms caused riots.
The system was also somewhat disorganized. For instance the silver mining caused inflation. Silver brought about many other problems as well. Irresponsible loans were made, and most of its wealth was from taxing itself. However the system for the most part was good from an organizational standpoint.
The European Imperialistic nations first got a toehold in Africa because of the slave trade. The Portuguese established what they called factories. These factories were both fort, and trading post. The largest such factory was El Mina on the Guinea coast, which was established in 1482 (581 Stearns). These forts did not make it possible for the Portuguese to exercise too much control over the land (581 Stearns). However the Portuguese made arrangements with the local rulers to make these forts and the local rulers consented as it helped trade.
There were attempts to Christianize the people as well. These attempts did in fact have some level of success. The ruler Nzinga Mvemba was converted and was able to make the entire kingdom Christian (582 Stearns). As the Portuguese began to get a foothold in the Africa they began to explore more of Africa. In 1570’s the settlement of Luanda was settled and was to become the base of the colony of Angola (582 Stearns).
The 17th century saw the rest of the major powers of Europe begin to get involved in Africa. In some cases they were able to replace the Portuguese presence. They still used the same system of trading stations, alliances, force, and trade (582-3 Stearns).
Soon companies were charted to get slaves. In the 1660’s the British charted The Royal African Company to get slaves. In the 1660’s the French also undertook similar actions but would not become a major player until the 18th century (585 Stearns).
The Boers arrived on the Cape of Good Hope (593 Stearns). The Boers pushed the Hottentots north. The British would seize the Cape in 1795 but their acquisition of South Africa would not officially be recognized until 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars (593 Stearns). In 1834 the Boers would go even farther north after the absolution of slavery by the British. South Africa was on of the final pushes into Africa and the Boers would be one of the farthest European people to go into Africa.