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European Society between 1500 to 1900

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With advancements from 1500 – 1900 in science and technology, a mass society came up. This was characterized by enhanced industrial production, working class organization, mass consumption, new social structures, improved urban living, mass leisure time, mass education, increased population, and mass transportation among other things. This essay will expound on how this "new world order" came about, and show along the way the differences of it, to the world of 1500.

If you look back at the trade routes across the Atlantic Ocean that were established by Europeans back in the 19th century, you can see various signs of the start of a new world. With these established trade routes, spread of ideas and knowledge was facilitated by the trade between various cultures. There being of a common (one) world was inevitable. Agricultural turned to be what defined economics. Improvements of technology in the agricultural sector turned out to be key for enough income, and wage labor was significant as well.

There were fantastic changes in the European society over the period 1500-1900. About all the features of the European society comprising of culture, literature, philosophy, technology, government and a dizzying assortment of other features changed. Absolute monarchies and divine right were increasingly challenged in the name of equality, liberty and happiness. Advancements in technology, weaponry and ship design propelled Europe to a world power.

In the year 1500, Western Europe was in the midst of the renaissance. Literature and paintings started emphasizing on secular themes more that on religious topics. Spread of literacy started at the same time and this allowed ides to spread. A European-style type of family that stressed on the age of one getting married and a nuclear family came up. The relationship of husband and wife was taken to be more important while children were loved the more and highly valued. In 16th century, catholic and protestant reformations and the end of the Christian unity in the Western Europe took place.

Key changes in culture started occurring again in the middle of the 18th century as urbanization and industrialization increased. By 1900, Material conditions were enhanced for two-thirds of Westerners, giving way to the rise of popular entertainment activities such as team sports and newspapers. Death rates went down over that period as a result of the discovery of germs by Louis Pasteur. In the arts, romanticism started replacing rationalism as the overriding theme by the 19th century. Romanticism stressed out that the key to human expression and nature were impression and emotion.

In 1500, almost all of Europe was being ruled by monarchies, but by the year 1900 many of the monarchies shared power or they were overthrown by increasingly powerful parliaments. By the 17th century, monarchs started becoming more powerful as military power and government organizations turned out to be more efficient. These supreme monarchies started developing in France, Prussia, Spain, and Austria-Hungary. For the moment, in Britain and the Netherlands, the monarchs shared power with legislative bodies. These bodies reduced the power of the monarchs while they protected the interests of the public.

The age of revolution, starting with the American Revolution in the year 1775 stayed in power till the unsuccessful revolutions of 1848, which challenged many old institutions such as the divine right. The first political revolution to take place in Europe was the French Revolution of 1789. The consequences of the revolution and the getting into power of Napoleon Bonaparte encouraged popular nationalism and revolutions in other places. New political ideologies came up and these comprised of liberalism, nationalism, conservatism, and socialism. During the 1830s and 1840s, a Chartist pressure group appeared, and demanded the vote for the working class men. By 1900, the feminist pressure group also demanded the vote for women as well. Governments prolonged their functions subsequent to 1870 with civil service examinations, regulatory apparatus, required schooling and fresh welfare programs.

The 17th century scientific revolution placed science instead of religion as the most important force in the European society. Scientists such as Isaac Newton and William Harvey stretched out human knowledge about the natural world. Meanwhile, in the 16th century, the Commercial Revolution was starting. European trade and participation in foreign markets went up while silver and gold poured in from Latin America. The Industrial Revolution took place in Western Europe during the late 18th century, inspired by the James Watt’s steam engine, increased agricultural output and increased agricultural yield. The Industrial Revolution resulted to the formation of a wage earning middle class, new means of transportation and mass production.

The spectacular growth of metropolis made conditions of living miserable. Chartism was an effort by British workers to get better their circumstances. Large standing armies provided a symbol of political power for their mother countries. Social life in the period 1500-1900 was mostly affected from the industrial revolution which led to population growth, due to enhanced food transportation. By the 19th century, independence had spread its ideas over the world. It is as a result of this that there were new powers such as England, Austria, Prussia, France, and Russia.

The year 1500 to 1900 was a time of enormous change for European civilization. Almost every feature was changed including culture, literature, philosophy, technology and government. The influence of the Church went down and the Enlightenment thoughts taught that all people were the same. Most likely this was the most fundamental period in Europe, which set Europe and afterwards the United States as the influential powers of the world.

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