Late modern period
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Late modern period may ambiguously refer to:
- In traditional historiography, the period of modern history following the 17th century (Great Divergence)
- The period of modernity from 1900 to present in the historical periodization scheme of philosopher Marshall Berman
- Late, Liquid, or High modernity, defined by certain sociologists as the most recent phase of modernity (late 20th century to present)
- Late modernism, a period in art history (post-WWII to present)
Major events and trends
Modern Age characteristics
The concept of the modern world as distinct from an ancient or medieval world rests on a sense that the modern world is not just another era in history, but rather the result of a new type of change. This is usually conceived of as progress driven by deliberate human efforts to better their situation.
Advances in all areas of human activity—politics, industry, society, economics, commerce, transport, communication, mechanization, automation, science, medicine, technology, and culture—appear to have transformed an Old World into the Modern or New World. In each case, the identification of the old Revolutionary change can be used to demarcate the old and old-fashioned from the modern.
Portions of the Modern world altered its relationship with the Biblical value system, revalued the monarchical government system, and abolished the feudal economic system, with new democratic and liberal ideas in the areas of politics, science, psychology, sociology, and economics.
This combination of epoch events totally changed thinking and thought in the late modern period, and so their dates serve as well as any to separate the old from the new modes. Particular ways to categorize late modernity include:
As an Age of Revolutions dawned, beginning with those revolts in America and France, political changes were then pushed forward in other countries partly as a result of upheavals of the Napoleonic Wars and their impact on thought and thinking, from concepts from nationalism to organizing armies. The early period ended in a time of political and economic change as a result of the Industrial Revolution, the American Revolution, the first French Revolution; other factors included the redrawing of the map of Europe by the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna and the peace established by Second Treaty of Paris which ended the Napoleonic Wars. The Modernism worldview's emergence and the industrialization of many nations was initiated with the industrialization of Britain. Particular facets of the late modernity period include:
- Increasing role of science and technology
- Mass literacy and proliferation of mass media
- Spread of social movements
- Institution of representative democracy
Other important events in the development of the late modern period include:
Our most recent era - Modern Times - begins with the end of these revolutions in the 19th century, and includes the World Wars era (encompassing World War I and World War II) and the emergence of socialist countries that lead to the Cold War. The contemporary era follows shortly afterward with the explosion of research and increase of knowledge known as the Information Age in the latter 20th century and 21st century. Today's Postmodern era is seen in widespread Digitality.
Reason and Enlightenment
Traditionally, the European intellectual transformation of and after the Renaissance bridged the Middle Ages and the Modern era. The Age of Reason in the Western world is generally regarded as being the start of modern philosophy, and a departure from the medieval approach, especially Scholasticism. Early 17th century philosophy is often called the Age of Rationalism and is considered to succeed Renaissance philosophy and precede the Age of Enlightenment, but some consider it as the earliest part of the Enlightenment era in philosophy, extending that era to two centuries. The 18th century saw the beginning of secularization in Europe, rising to notability in the wake of the French Revolution.
The Age of Enlightenment is a term used to describe a time in Western philosophy and cultural life centered upon the eighteenth century, in which reason was advocated as the primary source and legitimacy for authority. Developing more or less simultaneously in many parts of Europe and America. Developing during the Enlightenment era, Renaissance humanism was an intellectual movement spread across Europe. The basic training of the humanist was to speak well and write (typically, in the form of a letter). The term umanista comes from the latter part of the 15th century. The people were associated with the studia humanitatis, a novel curriculum that was competing with the quadrivium and scholastic logic.
Renaissance humanism took a close study of the Latin and Greek classical texts, and was antagonistic to the values of scholasticism with its emphasis on the accumulated commentaries; and humanists were involved in the sciences, philosophies, arts and poetry of classical antiquity. They self-consciously imitated classical Latin and deprecated the use of medieval Latin. By analogy with the perceived decline of Latin, they applied the principle of ad fontes, or back to the sources, across broad areas of learning.
The quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns was a literary and artistic quarrel that heated up in the early 1690s and shook the Académie française. It opposed two sides, the Ancients (Anciens) who constrain choice of subjects to those drawn from the literature of Antiquity and the Moderns (Modernes), who supported the merits of the authors of the century of Louis XIV. Fontenelle quickly followed with his Digression sur les anciens et les modernes (1688), in which he took the Modern side, pressing the argument that modern scholarship allowed modern man to surpass the ancients in knowledge.
The Scientific Revolution was a period when European ideas in classical physics, astronomy, biology, human anatomy, chemistry, and other classical sciences were rejected and led to doctrines supplanting those that had prevailed from Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages which would lead to a transition to modern science. This period saw a fundamental transformation in scientific ideas across physics, astronomy, and biology, in institutions supporting scientific investigation, and in the more widely held picture of the universe. Individuals started to question all manners of things and it was this questioning that led to the Scientific Revolution, which in turn formed the foundations of contemporary sciences and the establishment of several modern scientific fields.
American wars and revolution
The French and Indian Wars were a series of conflicts in North America that represented the actions there that accompanied the European dynastic wars. In Quebec, the wars are generally referred to as the Intercolonial Wars. While some conflicts involved Spanish and Dutch forces, all pitted Great Britain, its colonies and American Indian allies on one side and France, its colonies and Indian allies on the other.
The expanding French and British colonies were contending for control of the western, or interior, territories. Whenever the European countries went to war, there were actions within and by these colonies although the dates of the conflict did not necessarily exactly coincide with those of the larger conflicts.
Beginning in the Age of Revolution, the American Revolution and the ensuing political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century saw the Thirteen Colonies of North America overthrow the governance of the Parliament of Great Britain, and then reject the British monarchy itself to become the sovereign United States of America. In this period the colonies first rejected the authority of the Parliament to govern them without representation, and formed self-governing independent states. The Second Continental Congress then joined together against the British to defend that self-governance in the armed conflict from 1775 to 1783 known as the American Revolutionary War (also called American War of Independence).
The American Revolution begun with fighting at Lexington and Concord. On July 4, 1776, they issued the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed their independence from Great Britain and their formation of a cooperative union. In June, 1776, Benjamin Franklin was appointed a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Although he was temporarily disabled by gout and unable to attend most meetings of the Committee, Franklin made several small changes to the draft sent to him by Thomas Jefferson.
The rebellious states defeated Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, the first successful colonial war of independence. While the states had already rejected the governance of Parliament, through the Declaration the new United States now rejected the legitimacy of the monarchy to demand allegiance. The war raged for seven years, with effective American victory, followed by formal British abandonment of any claims to the United States with the Treaty of Paris.
The Philadelphia Convention set up the current United States; the United States Constitution ratification the following year made the states part of a single republic with a strong central government. The Bill of Rights, comprising ten constitutional amendments guaranteeing many fundamental civil rights and freedoms, was ratified in 1791.
The French Revolutions
Toward the middle and latter stages of the Age of Revolution, the French political and social revolutions and radical change saw the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy transform, change to forms based on Enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights. The first revolution was the National Assembly, the second was the Legislative Assembly, and the third was the Directory.
The changes were accompanied by violent turmoil which included the trial and execution of the king, vast bloodshed and repression during the Reign of Terror, and warfare involving every other major European power. Subsequent events that can be traced to the Revolution include the Napoleonic Wars, two separate restorations of the monarchy, and two additional revolutions as modern France took shape. In the following century, France would be governed at one point or another as a republic, constitutional monarchy, and two different empires.
National and Legislative Assembly
During the French Revolution, the National Assembly, which existed from June 17 to July 9 of 1789, was a transitional body between the Estates-General and the National Constituent Assembly.
The Legislative Assembly was the legislature of France from October 1, 1791 to September 1792. It provided the focus of political debate and revolutionary law-making between the periods of the National Constituent Assembly and of the National Convention.
The Directory and Napoleonic Era
The Executive Directory was a body of five Directors that held executive power in France following the Convention and preceding the Consulate. The period of this regime (2 November 1795 until 10 November 1799), commonly known as the Directory (or Directoire) era, constitutes the second to last stage of the French Revolution.
The Napoleonic Era is a period in the History of France and Europe. It is generally classified as the fourth stage of the French Revolution. The Napoleonic Era begins roughly with Napoleon's coup d'état, overthrowing the Directory and ends at the Hundred Days and his defeat at Waterloo (November 9, 1799 – June 28, 1815). The congress of Vienna soon set out to restore Europe to pre-French revolution days.
Italian unification was the political and social movement that annexed different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century. There is a lack of consensus on the exact dates for the beginning and the end of this period, but many scholars agree that the process began with the end of Napoleonic rule and the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and approximately ended with the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, though the last città irredente did not join the Kingdom of Italy until after World War I.