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From the Napoleonic wars to Regency

Two of the most famous names in the English political debate were Burke and Paine. They were both conservative, since Burke foresaw that the French Revolution would lead to bloodshed and Paine declared the superiority of kings over common people. They shared the enthusiasm of the revolutions, but then, disillusioned, they went back to supporting ancient static governments.

The British government aimed to damage France on a commercial level. A few years after the failure of the French Revolution, Napoleon defeated all European countries, gaining the supremacy until England decided to fight France at sea. The mighty naval force led by Nelson, the great English hero, defeated Napoleon at Trafalgar in 1805. Then, British troops commanded by Wellington defeated Napoleon several times, after he had been weakened by the disastrous campaign in Russia. The final great victory of the English armies against Napoleon took place in 1814 at Waterloo. England finally got Cape of Good Hope, Singapore, Malta and fulfilled the enormous financial cost of the war. After these victories England experienced the Industrial Revolution (end of the 18th century) which radically modified society. The discovery of machinery caused a wide discontent (Luddism) among people who worked many hours and erased all the differences among work competences. The crisis was surmounted by the discontent of William PITT the YOUNGER, who signed the Combination Act by which trade unions between employees of industries were made illegal. In Manchester eleven people were killed in a demonstration. (Peterloo massacre). In Ireland the social conditions were worse than in England so Pitt decided to unify the Irish Parliament with English one. In the reign of George IV Combination Acts were pealed and associations of employees were legalised. Unarmed police (Bobbies) replaced the army.

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