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Political Science
Leslie Johns

World Politics Chapter 1 – What Shaped Our World? A Historical Introduction I. The Emergence of International Relations: The Mercantilist Era a. Before 1500, most major societies existed in practical or complete isolation from everyone beyond their immediate borders b. Change began in 1492, with a wave of explorers, conquerors, etc. by Spain, Portugal, England, France and Netherlands c. Europeans controlled most of the world by 1700 i. This meant that world politics was dominated by European politics ii. European economies were the world center of economic activity th iii. Would remain the same until the 20 century with the rise of the U.S., Japan, USSR, China d. Western Europe monarchies had two main interests i. Ensure their own political and military power 1. Resulted in desire to control more territories and resources ii. Governments wanted access to markets and resources in other parts of the world 1. Made sense due to Europeans’ thriving commercial classes which were hungry for revenue e. Mercantilism – an economic doctrine based on a belief that military power and economic influence were complements; applied especially th to colonial empires in the 16h through 18 centuries. Mercantilist policies favored the mother country over its colonies and over its competitors i. Led to establishment of monopolies that controlled trade and other economic activities so all profits went to government and business supporters ii. Some monopolies were under direct control of the government, e.g. Spanish crown owned gold and silver mines iii. Some capitalist monopolies were granted to private businesses by the government, e.g. Dutch East India Company and Hudson’s Bay Company f. Monopolies and their control on trade i. Manipulated terms for prices paid for imports and received for exports ii. Mercantilism dictated trade to benefit mother country; i.e. reduce priced mother country paid its colonists for what was sold iii. Accomplished by requiring colonies to only buy and sell certain goods from and to colonial powers, e.g. Virginia tobacco could only be sold to England 1. In short, colonists received less for what they produced and paid more for what they received in exchange for protection g. In these empires, political and economic interests were closely intertwined h. Growing empires resulted in battles over power and wealth i. Supremacy in Europe was linked to battle over possessions elsewhere; military advantage was closely tied to economic competition i. First conflict: Spanish and Portuguese in the New World i. Spanish then faced competition by the British in the 1580s ii. Defeat of the Spanish Armada 1588 iii. Spanish possessions in Netherlands rebelled, forming the Dutch Republic iv. Thirty Years War (1618-1648) defeat of Spain against France and Dutch Republic 1. Peace of Westphalia – stabilized borders of belligerents and attempted resolve religious conflicts 2. Also said governments should not interfere with the internal affairs of other countries, the first sign of diplomatic respect for sovereignty 3. Sovereignty – the expectation that states have legal and political supremacy- or ultimate authority- within their territorial boundaries j. After Spain’s defeat, British and Dutch conflict came i. By the 1660s, the British had became the leading trade and maritime power ii. Period marked the 150 year era of conflict between Britain and its allies along with France and its allies iii. Seven Years War (1756-1763) ended French presence in the New World, marking British predominance iv. French Revolution of 1789 led to the Napoleonic Wars (1804- 1815) which ended at Waterloo in 1815 v. French defeat sealed British hegemony – predominance of one nation-state over others k. After 1492, world politics for three centuries was dominated by efforts of principal European states overpowering one another to control European parts of the world i. Two front battles: subdue the populations of their empires and expand at the expense of others l. Following French defeat in 1815 and the rise of the Industrial Revolution, mercantilist ideology began to wither m. Side subject: Mercantilism and the Thirteen Colonies i. Most costly restriction to colonists was the “enumeration” of certain goods, i.e. they could only be exported to Britain ii. Caused an artificial increase in British market and price drop iii. Surpluses resulted in British reselling to other Europeans at a premium price iv. Tobacco could have been sold for a price 49% higher without enumeration v. Projected net cost of $2.7 million or 1.5% of colonial GDP due to enumeration vi. Benefits of this poor economic situation included protection by the British 1. Makes up for the loss due to enumeration since there would have had to be funding for protection otherwise vii. Biggest colonial losers due to mercantilism: tobacco and rice planters in Virginia and South Carolina II. The Pax Britannica a. 1815-1914 – major powers had a large interest in trading and investing worldwide, including with each other b. Rather than closed trade, most governments had greater links with their economies with more cooperation i. Furthermore, it was a period of mostly peaceful ties between countries in Europe ii. Military and economics means were still used to expand control over colonies and poor countries c. The Hundred Years’ Peace i. Relations from 1815-1914 were much less volatile that the previous 300 years ii. Sources of cooperation: 1. Convergence of interests a. Almost no democratic countries, those that were had only partially democratic systems b. Throughout the 19 century, there was also a widespread movement for general representation of the lower classes c. Resulted in a common fear of revolution by democratic forces and later communist/socialist groups d. This common interest in suppressing revolutions led to rules overcoming political differences e. Holy Alliance in 1815 between Prussia, Russia, and Austria 2. Realization of British diplomatic, military, and economic predominance a. Period was called Pax Britannica – “British Peace” period began with the French defeat at Waterloo in 1815 and lasted until the brink of World War I in 1914. British economic and diplomatic influence contributed to economic openness and peace b. Due to not only a powerful navy but the empire’s influence over interactions between other countries c. Military conflict was deterred by Britain aligning itself with another country when one appeared to be a threat iii. Period was not entirely peaceful though, since the decline of one empire usually meant the rise of another, e.g. decline of Ottoman Empire while Russia expanded 1. Led to Crimean War (1853-1856) where Russia was restrained iv. Prussia created a German empire after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) d. Free Trade i. Leaders also agreed on ending mercantilist policies in favor for a reduction of barriers to trade among nations 1. First done by the British 2. Partially due to the Industrial Revolution occurring in Britain where they were producing new goods at a high rate for extremely low prices 3. Economic reasons for free trade: direct importing of cheaper raw materials, cheaper imported food meant lower standard of living costs and wages for works 4. City of London became the world’s financial center ii. Farmers in Britain resisted the new capitalist ways since Parliament ended protective mercantile policies in the 1840’s iii. France signed a commercial treaty with Britain in 1860 1. German states did the same in 1871, soon followed by other countries implementing free trade policies and reduced barriers iv. Trade increased seven to eight times in size over the course of th the 19 century v. This liberalization was supported by increased transportation and communication 1. Railroads for cargo, steamship for overseas crossings, and telegraphs and telephones by the end of the century e. The Gold Standard i. The monetary system that prevailed between 1870 and 1914, in which countries tied their currencies to gold at a legally fixed price ii. Countries turned away from their own standards of silver and other metals as international trade and investment grew iii. With most countries on the standard by 1860, there was essentially an international currency iv. Savings were invested abroad and over 50 million people left Europe for another continent starting the first signs of globalization f. Colonial Imperialism i. Military force and economic controls were still being used on countries in other parts of the world ii. Expansionism grew around 1870 into Africa and Asia iii. Interest in Latin America, Africa, and Asia for security and economic reasons iv. As mercantilism faded, the economic interests in colonialism also faded 1. Empires actually contracted from 1760 to 1870 2. In 1850, only thing left was British India, Dutch East Indies, and French Algeria v. Around 1870, expansion began to be seen as a way to increase military position 1. Catalyzed by the growth of industry and desire for overseas markets and resources vi. By 1890, Ethiopia and Liberia were the only independent countries in Africa III. The Thirty Years’ Crisis a. Tension in Europe i. Renewed tension due to the changes in the European power balance 1. Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires were weakening while the United States and Japan were making an international presence 2. Germany on the rise – largest economy and population by 1900 ii. Germany lacked colonies abroad and noticed German presence in neighboring territories back in Europe iii. British hegemony deteriorated along with cooperation, and Europe divided into two hostile camps 1. Central and Southern Europe: Germany, Austria- Hungary, Bulgaria, and Ottoman Empire 2. Britain and France with Russia in the east b. World War I and its Effects i. Expected short war turned out to be a long-winded bloodbath, especially in Belgium and France ii. Trench warfare and line break attempts typically led to no progress and massive casualties iii. U.S. entered in April 1917 with the Allies iv. Political and military tension was not ended by the war 1. Disruption still existed between and within nations v. Political map of Europe changed with the breakup of empires and formation of new states vi. Hyperinflation occurred in central and east Europe and economic recovery across the continent was slow and partial vii. Alienation of middle classes from the new democratic systems occurred due to bankruptcy in central Europe 1. Formed the basis for extreme right wing movements in Germany and Italy 2. Communist movement became successful in Russia viii. The war’s aftermath made the U.S.’s economic and military predominance very obvious to Europe ix. Treaty of Versailles – peace treaty between Allies and Germany ending the war in June 1919 led by U.S. President Wilson x. U.S. became principal source of war loans to European allies – making it the world’s biggest lender xi. U.S. Senate did not agree to American entry in the League of Nations – a permanent international security organization formed in the aftermath of the war. The league was supplanted by the U.N. after World War II and dissolved in 1946 c. Interwar Instability i. Europe in summary after the war: French and British were weak victors, Germany was bitter, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Empire were dissolved, and Russia was isolated with its communist movement ii. Tense relations, especially between French and Germans 1. Border disputes between the countries 2. Germany’s obligation to not militarize Rhineland iii. Versailles treaty also demanded reparations be paid by those who started the war 1. Caused great resentment in Germany 2. Relations increased when French kept telling Germans about where the debt payments were going iv. Great Depression began in 1929, leaving no country untouched 1. Created much political polarization within countries v. Nazis and fascist allies had control of central, eastern, and southern Europe by the late 1930’s –all of these were skeptical of the international economy of the rich nations d. World War II i. Fascist governments (Germany, Italy, Japan) against the global economy versus the democratic powers that tried retaining some international economic cooperation ii. Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938 and entered Czechoslovakia in 1939 1. Then attacked Poland, with Britain and France declaring war on Germany iii. Germany invaded France in May 1940 whic
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