Foundations Of The Modern World Essay

This essay has a total of 1416 words and 6 pages.


Foundations Of The Modern World





After the 15th Century, history began to move really fast in the matter of the things that
happened. It is really important this part of the history because it totally changed the
way of life and it gives an explanation of why life is like it is in our days. This big
change didn’t happen at once. Historians, after studying and trying to find the
reasons of this change came up with five foundations. They are The Columbian Exchange,
Europe Confronts the World, The Industrial Revolution, The Nationalism and Democracy and
Mass Transportation & Communication. They are totally different, took place in different
years and places but they all are ingredients of the cake that we call Modern World.


The first fundamental, Columbian Exchange, refers to Columbus who was responsible for
bringing Europeans to the Western Hemisphere in the sixteenth century. The discovey of
America was one of the most important things that ever happened. It is really ironic
because Columbus never abandoned the belief that he had reached Asia. After Columbus's
voyages many more European ships went back and forth between the New World and the old
continents of Africa and Europe exchanging animals, people, germs, and food. When contact
was made with the new world, a whole cornucopia of new foods that we eat today like beans,
cacao, corn, peanuts just to name a few, were introduced to the explorers. These
explorers would bring back these foods, and distribute them all over the world. Exchange
means to give and receive reciprocally. The Spanish ships were like Noah's Ark because
they brought so many samples of European flora and fauna to reproduce in the New World.
The Europeans brought with them the diseases too. The native Americans had never been
exposed to European germs; therefore, they died in great numbers, making it easier for the
Europeans to conquer them and settle on their vacated land. The idea of the
“Columbian Exchange” was a big revolution and opened the people’s minds.
Unfortunately it also gave to Europe more land to play those war games that they enjoyed
that much.

The second fundamental is Europe Confronts the World. After the Columbian Exchange, Europe
began to see the whole picture. They began to practice imperialism. Imperialism is to
extend and maintain control or influence over weaker nations or peoples. However,
imperialism wasn’t something new. The empire of Alexander the Great or the Roman
Empire was example of ancient imperialism. History repeats itself! Imperial systems were
organized according to the doctrine of mercantilism: Each imperial state attempted to
control the trade of its colonies, in order to monopolize the benefits of that trade.
Yeah, but why would Europe want to do that? Well, states wanted to pursue imperialism for
reasons such as economic, political, and ideological. Economic has always been the most
common one because money rules the world. Every country wanted to expand their economy to
acquire raw materials and additional sources of labor, or to find outlets for surplus
capital and markets for surplus goods. Another reason refers to “power;” The
nations desired power, prestige, security, and diplomatic advantages vis--vis other
states. A third set of explanations focuses on ideological or moral motives. According to
this perspective, political, cultural and religious beliefs force states into imperialism
as a "missionary activity." For example, Britain's colonial empire was motivated at least
in part by the idea that it was the "white man's burden" to civilize "backward" peoples.
Two centuries later Germany's expansion under Hitler was based on belief that the German
race was superior. Imperialism until the end of the World War II was all over the place.


The Third Fundamental is The Industrial Revolution. In my opinion this was the Big Kahuna
in the modern world, where the power was given to a new class, the bourgeoisie. The
Industrial Revolution took place in England, which was the only country that was ready for
it in the 18th century. The production from handcraft using muscle power was no longer
worth it because the steam-machines were invented. These machines meant mass production
and working in assembly lines. New materials were introduced to help this mass production
like coal and cotton. Coal, for example, would burn faster and at a higher temperature
that wood. There always needs to be a class to rule and a class to be ruled. The
bourgeoisie, were the businessmen who owned the factories; therefore, a new class called
the workers was born. The workers, were then the old peasants and the bourgeoisie the old
landlords. Different names but same ideas. The Industrial Revolution wasn’t only
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