Segment descriptions
Countries of the World Series:
England, Part 2
         Description: England 3

  England, Part 2  
4’31”      (75’ lecture)

What is the impact of the Enclosure Act, which allows  large land owners to grow cash crops replacing peasants’ small farms, on the increasing industrialization in mid-19th century England? 

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18th century England is changing.  William & Mary are co-rulers.  Parliamentary rule continues.  The Act of Religious Tolerance allows people to worship as they will.  Business and political power is important, not religious power.  Capitalism is triumphant.  The monarchy is not absolute.  England becomes a major world power. 




Competition with France over quest for empire in North America.  England establishes the 13 colonies in America.  South America is controlled by Spain.  England wins the 7-Year War with France, acquires Canada. 




The American Colonies.  England's mercantile relationship with the Colonies, which provide timber for English ship building, has loose enforcement.  The American Revolution.  King George III imposes taxes on the Colonies to help pay off England's war debt.  Resistance to this leads to the American Revolution of 1776.  How the American Revolution might have been avoided. 




The 19th Century




5. The Early Industrial Era,  from 1780-1830.  Landowners change peasant families from serfs to renters.  Soon many are forced off the land to operate factories in cities.  Food is now provided by new cash crops.  Rivers are sources of power for mills around which industrial cities grow.  Rivers are also used for transportation and disposal of industrial wastes.  Abominable working conditions.  Children as young as 6 are working.  England is the industrial power of the world.  The transportation revolution of railroads and canals.



The Napoleonic Wars. The Continental System aims to squeeze out England.  England helps Spain fight off Napoleon, who is later defeated in Russia.  He comes back with a new army but is defeated at Waterloo in 1815.  The Congress of Vienna accepts the bourgeois gains of the French Revolution but opposes subsequent revolutions.  England dominates with the strongest navy in the world. 


The Victorian Age from the 1830s to the turn of the 20th century. Emergence of the 2-party system, the Tory Disraeli versus the Liberal Gladstone.  England's harsh policy with Ireland leads to the Irish potato famine. 


The New Imperialism of 1870s.  Territorial control and the drying up of Africa by the European powers India is England's centerpiece of imperialism.  Enforced backwardness aims to keep it dependent.  India is an economic power before England's control.  England's harshness, yet the native bureaucracy is trained to carry out English dirty work as police and tax collectors.  This educated bureaucracy becomes the leadership for freedom and independence.  Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance and India's freedom after World War II.




Industrial reform.  Factory workers are still abused but there is some reform to forestall revolt.  The impact of Charles Dickens' images. 





The 20th Century


The rise of Germany.  At the turn of the century Germany begins to catch up and surpass England, challenging its dominance.  Now England and France join against Germany.  Germany aligns with Austria and Italy.  




World War I.  In the summer of 1914 England goes to war against Germany.  The English officer class look forward to war's glory.  The Germans are stopped before Paris, the war bogs down into trench warfare and a war of attrition.  The machine gun takes a terrible toll on both sides.  The class attitude of officers toward solders underlies their ordering suicidal attacks.  German submarine warfare is effective.  America enters the war in 1917 and the war ends on November 11, 1918.   England and France are victors, attempt to hold on to their empires, but will never be the same. 




The Treaty of Versailles.  As revenge for damage inflicted, Germany is forced to pay reparations.  This becomes a factor leading to the rise of Nazism.  The influence of the Russian Revolution of 1917.  Fear that England will turn to socialism.  Disillusionment with the slaughter of the war. 



The 1930s.  World-wide depression, unemployment of the working class, and the fears of a new war after the rise of Hitler.  The Spanish Civil War.  The rebels are backed by Germany and Italy.  The English government and the U.S. remain neutral, dooming the loyalists.




The English response to the rise of fascism.  The upper classes are sympathetic, fearing Communism and revolution, approving the sense of order it brings, and to a degree approving of its anti-Semitism. Class in English history.  Rigid sense of privilege of the upper class, denigration of the lower class.  Women's suffrage is a long struggle.


Winston Churchill shares upper class values but is outspoken in the 1930s about the Nazi danger to England.



World War II. Germany invades Poland on September 1, 1939.  England and France declare war.  Churchill becomes Prime Minister in 1940.  The mass evacuation of Dunkirk.  The blitz and the survival of the RAF is an heroic story.




Pearl Harbor. Japan attacks on December 7, 1941 and the U.S. is in the war.  The German all-out invasion of Russia in June, 1941.  England and Russia become allies against a mutual enemy.  Churchill and FDR have agreeable relationship despite the fact that England is the junior partner.  The D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.  The Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944-45.  The turning point of the battle of Stalingrad.  The inspiration of Churchill.  The planned division of post-war Europe is in conflict with the people of those countries.  Churchill's callousness in the matter of the German destruction of Coventry and the allied destruction of Dresden. 




The war ends in 1945.  Churchill is out of power at the moment of victory when Clement Attlee of the Labor Party wins   Gains in the working class protections greatly improve their lives. 


Churchill's Iron Curtain speech of 1946 is enthusiastically supported by President Harry Truman. 



The effort to preserve its empire. The use of the Cold War to get the U.S. to help England preserve the British Empire.  Greece is an example.  The imposed European values, including backwardness, destruction of native cultures, and corruption are legacies of the colonial period. 




Post-World War II England.  The social gains endure. The Thatcher Years of the 1980s.  The rise of the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher.  It is pro-business, anti-labor, anti-union.  Massive layoffs after steel and other factories need only a fraction of past labor force, most unemployable.  Social welfare blocked.  The Falkland Island War against Argentina and the continued sense of empire.  




Revival of the Labor Party.  Under Tony Blair, it is more center, more pro-business.  He backs the U.S. in Iraq War, unpopular in Europe.  Speculation about Tony Blair's motivation.  The future of English policies is up in the air. 



Perspective.  Culturally English history in science and literature is its own marvel.  There is much greatness, much tragedy, much tribulation.  This will continue into the future.