Timeline of the Gilded Age

Some call it Early Modernism. The British call in the late Victorian and Edwardian Ages. Whatever the labels, this post covers history, philosophy and religion, literature, and art and architecture and goes from 1871 to 1914. Genealogical tables included here, to help sort out the national rivalries.

Gilded means “gold covered.” But not all that glitters is gold.

If you’re in a hurry, use the ctrl-f search to find your term.

As this post moves along, it has Bottom Line sections, and at the end there is a Conclusion section that asks the Western world something.

Please click on the corresponding post the Outline of the Gilded Age for more information.


I. Introduction

A. Timeframe:

1. 1871: End of Franco-Prussian War

2. 1914: Outbreak of WWI

B.  Population in Europe

1. Europe (in millions)

1850: 266

1900: 410

1910: 447

Source, Frank Turner et al. Western Heritage, 5th ed. Yale UP, 1995, p. 880

2. Europe is about 20% of population of world

C.  Migration

1.  1846-1932

a. 1870-1890 an average of 100k leave Germany per year, mostly to N. America

b. More than 50 million Europeans leave their homelands

2.  After 1885

a. From Southern and Eastern Europe

II. Second Industrial Revolution

A. First Revolution

1. Textiles, steam, iron

B. Second Revolution

1. Steel (in millions of tons)

Steel in Millions of Tons

Country 1880 1900 1913
Great Britain 4.1 6.3 17.6
Germany 8.0 5.0 7.7
USA 9.3 10.3 31.8
Source: Michael Stuermer, The German Empire, Modern Library, 2000, p. 87

C. Migration to Cities (in thousands—add three zeroes, folks)

Migration to Cities in Thousands

Country 1850 1880 1910
Berlin 419 1,122 2,071
Frankfurt 65 137 415
Vienna 444 1,104 2,031
London 2,685 4,470 7,256
Birmingham 233 437 840
Paris 1,053 2,269 2,888

25% in 1850 to 44% in 1911

Source: Turner et al. Western Heritage, p. 885

D.  Trade Union Membership by 1910

Germany: 2 million

Great Britain: 3 million

France: 977,000

(Source: Turner, Western Heritage, p. 904)

E. Difficulties

1. Urban squalor

2. Sanitation

3. After 1873 economy slows down with bank failures and slowing investments, but still comparative prosperity.

III. Imperialism

A. Definition: Colonizing another country to offer medical clinics, schools, and Christianity, and yes to find natural resources for production and jobs.

B. Motives

1. Economics?

2. Cultural, social, or religious?

3. Strategic and political?

4. Irrational element?

C. Outcome

1. European found that the third world nations were so poor that they put more money into the countries than the powers got out of them.

2. They indeed supplied schools and medical clinics and Christianity.

Genealogical Tables

Sources for tables: John Fabb, European Royalty of the Victorian and Edwardian Era (London: B. A. Seaby, 1986)

Now let’s continue with the outline.

IV. Germany

A. Population in millions

1871: 41

1913: 68

(Source: Michael Stuermer, German Empire, p. 52)

B. Politics and Economy

1873 Vienna Stock Exchange collapses, bringing a sense of doom and anti-Semitism (May)

1875 Social Democratic Party is founded (Marxist-socialist)

1878 Anti-Social Laws (July 30) ban (1) Socialist parties; (2) their literature; (3) public meetings; but (4) allows them representation in Parliament; Laws expire in 1891; these laws passed because of some assassination attempts on the emperor (May 11; June 2)

Telephone network is launched in Berlin

1888 William I dies, aged 88, so his son takes over for a hundred days, but dies of cancer; then William II takes over, aged 28

1889 Major coalminers’ strike (150k strong); Bismarck wants to deal harshly with them, but William II wants to be known as a worker’s emperor, so William asks Bismarck for resignation

1890 Bismarck resigns as Chancellor (Mar 18)

1890-94 Count Leo von Caprivi is now Chancellor (a general) and works with center-left majority in Reichstag

1894 Alldeutscher Federation is formed, supporting the nationalist rightists

William II appoints Admiral von Tirpitz to build German Navy to compete with Britain, but this is costly, and Britain responds with a bigger Navy (so grows the arms race which will help furnish equipment for WWI)

Prince Hohenlohe is appointed Chancellor (to 1900)

1896 More than 80k female garment workers in Berlin

1900-1909 Prince Bernhard von Buelow is Chancellor

Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg becomes Chancellor

C. Society

1883 Health Insurance Bill provides sickness benefits from third day of sickness for max of three weeks

1884 Accident Insurance is passed benefiting workers up two-thirds of earnings

1889 Disability and Old Age Pension Act becomes law, providing modest pension of 152 marks per year (in 1913 average industrial wage was 1,083 marks per year)

1894 Union of German Women’s Organization is founded, concerned with improving women’s social condition, access to education and local politics, child welfare

1900 Germany allows women to take jobs without husband’s permission

Women may take degrees at the University (after 1900)

1918 Weimar Republic gives women right to vote

D. Religion

1873 Kulturkampf (Culture Struggle) begins with Falk Laws (May) (Dr. Adalbert Falk is minister of religion), pitting Bismarck (the State) against the Catholic Church (and Protestants) in Germany, but Bismarck would claim he is preventing church meddling in affairs not their own; Prussian May Laws puts religious schools under strict state control; Remember, in 1870 Pope proclaimed Doctrine of Infallibility

1875 Bismarck realizes Kulturkampf is a major political blunder, so he lets laws lapse

V. Great Britain

A. Politics and Economy

1867 Second Reform Act, led by Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), allows more male voters (from c. 1.430 to 2.470 million); it is conservatively supported bill because they recognized the inevitable, so they got in on the ground floor

1868-74 William Gladstone is elected prime minister; starts out as a conservative, but winds up a liberal

1869 Legislation disestablishes Church of Ireland, Irish branch of Anglican Church, no longer forcing Catholics to pay taxes to support Protestants

1870 Legislation passes Land Act that compensates Irish tenants for evictions and offers loans for potential buyers of land

1874-80 Benjamin Disraeli becomes prime minister

1880-86 Gladstone becomes prime minister, again

1881 Coercion Act restores law and order in Ireland

Land Act gives more relief and strengthens tenant rights

1884 Third Reform Act gives vote to most male landowners

Fabian society is founded, taking the name of Q. Fabius Maximus whose tactics against Hannibal avoided direct conflict

1885 Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-91) organizes an Irish party elected to Parliament, who lobbied for home rule and English ouster

Gladstone announces his support of home rule

1886 Bill for Irish home rule loses due to split liberal (Unionist refuse to give Irish home rule)

1886-92 Lord Salisbury, conservative, becomes prime minister and seeks to reconcile Ireland and England through public works and reform

1892 Gladstone returns to power

Second Irish Home Rule bill defeated in House of Lords

1901 Labour Party is formed in response to Taff Vale decision, which removed legal protection for union funds

1903 Land Act transfers ownership to tenants

1911 Parliament Act allows commons to override legislative veto of House of Lords

House of Lords Act curtails power of that body

1913 Home rule bill passes over Lords’ veto

B. Society

1870 Education Act, under William Gladstone (1809-1898; prime minister 1868-74), has government take over elementary school education from the church, up to twelve year old

1875 Public Health Act consolidates previous sanitary legislation and reaffirms duty of state to intervene in private property on matters of health and well-being

Artisans Dwelling Act gets government involved in providing housing for  working class

1878 University of London permit women to take degrees (Oxford 1920; Cambridge 1921)

1882 Legislation passes Married Woman’s Property Act, which allows women to own their own property in their own right

1902 Education Act, which provides for government subsidy of religious schools and requires same standards as state schools

1903 Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) founds Women’s Social and Political Union and takes a more radical approach (known as suffragettes)

1908 National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies under Millicent Fawcett (1847-1929) leads a half million in a rally

1910 Women under Pankhurst take radical tactics through demonstrations and hunger strikes

1911 National Insurance Act provides unemployment benefits and health care

VI. France

A. Governments

1871-1914 Sixty some governments indicate instability of French politics

B. Population

1871: 36.1 million

1911: 39.6 million

C. Politics and Economy

1871 Paris Commune is crushed, leaving 10k to 30k dead (May); for conservatives, Commune was the worst of politics; for socialist and radicals, the best; new govt. led by Adophe Thiers, an arch-conservative

National Assembly is monarchist, but split between Orléans and Bourbon   (Count of Chambord, “Henri V,” who refuses tricolor flag)

1873 Indemnity of Franco-Prussian War is paid (five billion francs), and Prussian troops withdraw (Sept);

Thiers is ousted from office because he is now too Republican, and monarchists want someone of their politics

Marshall MacMahon is elected

1875 Constitution is adopted, which provides for (1) Chamber of Deputies elected by universal male suffrage; (2) Senate chosen indirectly (by provincial communes); (3) and a President elected by two houses, so now we have a Republic—definitively

1879 MacMahon resigns from office after numerous quarrels with moderate republicans in Chamber of Deputies (Lower House) and Senate

Jules Grévy is elected president

“The Marseillaise” becomes national anthem

1880 Bastille Day (July 14) becomes national holiday

1881 Legislation passes that lifts restrictions on press (Jan 29)

Legislation passes that lifts restriction on public meetings (June 30)

1884 Trade Unions are fully legalized (Mar 28)

1894-1906 Dreyfus Affair divides France: Conservatives, church, and anti-Semites v. socialists and radicals; Affair falsely accuses a military officer, Dreyfus, a Jew, of passing information to Germans. He is convicted, but info still goes to Germany; Emile Zola writes “J’accuse” in open letter to president (1898); the case reopens and he’s exonerated and pardoned (1899) and supplemented (1906)

1895 Confédération Générale du Travail (General Confederation of Labor) seeks to improve workers’ conditions through direct action, as in a general strike

1902 Radical Party and Republicans and Socialists work together to form a majority in Lower Chamber; survives until 1909

1905 SFIO (Section française de l’Internationale ouvrière) French Section of the Workers’ International) (see 1864) is founded, merging labor parties (April)

1906 Georges Clémenceau becomes Prime Minister, a conservative who fights to   stop leftists and moderate republicans allied with them

1907 Winegrowers revolt, due to glut in market after a recovery from disease, indicates that socialists and radicals were ignoring some problems, “the social question”; troops are brought in

1913 Socialists and Radicals (204 deputies in Lower Chamber) resist nationalism that will culminate in WWI; the majority (358 deputies), however, wins the day and build military and national conscription

1914 Socialists (102 deputies) and Radicals (240 deputies) win a majority, but even they are unwilling to weaken military vis-à-vis German military build up (April-May)

D. Society

1878 “Freycinet Plan” (prime minister) is launched, improving communications in all of France

1880s Hubertine Auclerc begins campaigning for the vote, but not many join her

1881 Poster billboards are allowed, thus launching creative commercialism

1884 Divorce laws for women are loosened

1889 International Exhibition is held in Paris, and Eiffel Tower is built

Telegraph, telephone, and postal services are combined: Postes, Télégraphes et Téléphones (PTT)

Moulin Rouge opens up in Montmartre

1895 Galeries Lafayette, a huge department store is founded (La Samaritaine in 1869)

1897 Legislation passes that allows women to dispose (spend) of their own earnings

1901 National Council of French Women (CNFF) is organized among upper-middle class, supporting women’s rights

1910 Women make up 10% of university population (doors opened in late 1860s)

1914 Peugeot builds cars, after switching from bicycles

1919 Chamber of Deputies allow women to vote, but bill is defeated in Senate in 1922

Signs of French Society

1881-1914 24,000 to 64,000 kilometers of railroad tracks

1889-1914 12,000 to 300,000 telephones

1898-1914 375,000 to 3.5 million bicycles

1900 First woman joins the bar (becomes a lawyer)

1914 3% of practicing physicians are women

Colin Jones, Cambridge Illustrated History of France, 1994, pp. 231-41

E. Religion

1873-1914 Catholics oversee construction of Sacred Heart Church atop Montmartre

1877 Leon Gambetta, leftist, designates clericalism as the enemy

1882 Ferry Law (Jules Ferry) establishes free and obligatory elementary education (six to thirteen) free of religious education (Mar 28); women may receive secondary education; the anti-religion element reverses Louis-Napoleon’s Falloux’s Laws of 1850

1886 Legislation passes that gradually replaces clerics in public education system   with laity

1904 Legislation passes that suppresses Catholic teaching orders and closes their schools

1905 Concordat of Napoleon is revoked, thus separating church and state completely

1908 1.5 million visit Lourdes, due to improved transportation, celebrating fiftieth anniversary of Saint Bernadette’s Marian visions

1905-1914 In Limoges, e.g., (center of France) the unbaptized rise from 2% to 40%;

Civil (non-church) marriages increase from 14% to 60%

Source: Colin Jones, Cambridge Illustrated History of France, 1994, pp. 231-41

Bottom line on Germany, Great Britain, and France (1871-1914)

1. Economically, the Gilded Age—an outcome of the Second Industrial Revolution—provides prosperity for the bourgeois middle class (especially in Britain), but the “little people” are still fighting for their fair share. Therefore, socialism and trade unions grow stronger. Socialists and moderates win seats in the Lower Houses of government, but sometimes socialists seem to ignore plight of the people—the “social question.”

2. Politically, Bismarck dominates the international scene and creates a balance of powers involving Germany, Great Britain, France, Austria, and Russia. Under Bismarck there is peace, but also tension. Nationalism creates pride and resentment (see Bottom Line on Road to WWI, below).

3. Religiously, the left-of-center in Germany, Britain and especially France pass legislation that takes education away from the church. France is the most anti-clerical of the three.

4. Socially, women make their voices heard in suffrage movements, which also take up other issues, such as control over their own money and divorce laws. Upward mobility is loser than any other time in history.

5. In education, more people are able to read, thanks to elementary schools available to all.

V. European Policies on the Road to WWI

1871 Franco-Prussian War, which France loses terribly, thus building resentment because wealthy Alsace-Lorraine is taken from France, which is also required to pay five-billion-franc indemnity

1873 Three Emperor’s Alliance is formed (Russia, Austria, Germany) to prevent war between Russian and Austria

1876-77 Balkans War: Serbia and Russia battle against Ottoman Empire results in Russian victory; Tsar dictates peace treaty at St. Stefano, but interference from Germany and Britain (see 1878)

1878 Germany and Great Britain at Congress of Berlin makes Russia resentful (July) because they take away Russia gain; reason: Russia had designs on Constantinople; Russia is weaker than Germany and Britain, so it cannot resist

1879 Germany makes Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary to deter Russian attack and to stabilize the Balkans (Oct 7), but Germany is the leader and would not go to war over Balkans; renewed every five years up to 1918

Anglo-Russian confrontation over Afghanistan, so conflict over Asia at its height

1881 Germany makes secret Three Emperors’ Alliance (Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Germany), offering neutrality if one goes to war with a fourth power, but agreement did not last (July 18)

1882 Triple Alliance: Italy joins Germany and Austria, so now Great Britain keeps to its “splendid isolation” and France by itself is weak

1884-85 Congo Congress is called to divide up Africa between major powers in Europe; Britain and Germany do not see eye-to-eye

1887-90 Germany makes secret Reinsurance Treaty with Russia (June 18), lasting three years, so they’re both neutral if war were to break out between France and Germany or Russia and Austria, due to troubles in the Balkans

1891 France and Russia form an alliance (see 1906) to oppose Germany

1897 German Foreign Secretary Bernhard von Buelow proclaims right to colonize

1898-1901 Boer War in S. Africa pits Britain against landowners, but war results in pervasive anti-British sentiment in Germany

1898 William II of Germany builds up a navy

1900 William gets more money from government to continue building navy

1904 Entente Cordiale between London and Paris, (Russia joins later) with the purpose of containing German power

1904-05 Japan and Russia go to war, resulting in a humiliating defeat for Russia (Jan 1905)

1905 Morocco Crisis entails Germany challenging French dominance of that nation, and Britain believes Germany is threatening trade in Mediterranean

1905 Schlieffen Plan is drawn up in Germany, planning to mass troops on Western Front so France would surrender before Russia could mobilize

1906 German attempt to reverse Franco-Russian alliance fails in a meeting between Tsar and Kaiser near St. Petersburg

Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina in Balkans; Russia humiliated in defeat

1907 Triple Entente is signed with Britain, France, Russia, so (deceased) Bismarck’s dream of balance of power is challenged and Germany is isolated alongside Austria

1908-09 German and Britain search for more taxes to continue naval building program, but both fail

1908 Bosnian Crisis entails Austria and Russia making deal to divide up Balkans: Austria would annex Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Russia would open Dardanelles, but Britain oppose Russia, and Germany oppose Austria, so Triple Entente (Britain, France, Russia) and Dual Alliance (Germany and Austria) are threatened

1911 Moroccan Crisis is a repeat of First one (1905), but with more emotion

Italy attacks Turkey to win Libya, and Italy succeeds

1912 British War Secretary Lord Haldane seeks a naval arms control with Germany, but this fails

1912-13 Balkans Wars pits smaller Balkans powers (Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia) against Ottoman Empire, resulting in Ottoman being pushed back, but no real gains for Austria because another international peace conference limits Austria; and Russia appeared passive

1913 Germany intensifies conscription in response to growing strength of French and Russian armies

1914 Archduke Ferdinand assassinated by Serbian nationalist (June 28)

Soldiers and Sailors

Country 1880 1910 1914
Germany 425,000 694,000 2,200,000
Russia 791,000 1,200,000
France 543,000 769,000 1,250,000
Britain 367,000 571,000 711,000
USA 127,000 150,000
Stuermer, German Empire, p. 88; figures for 1914 from Turner, Western Heritage, p. 979


Warship Tonnage

Country 1880 1910 1914 (no. of ships)
Germany 88,000 964,000 40
Britain 650,000 2,174,000 64
France 27,000 735,000 28
Russia 200,000 16
USA 169,000 824,000 37
Japan 496,000
Stuermer, German Empire, p. 88; figures for 1914 from Turner, Western Heritage, p. 979

Bottom line on Road to WWI

1. Nationalism entails emotional reactions to the policies of the Great Powers (Britain, France, Germany, Austria, and Russia): pride, humiliation, resentment, revenge, fear, and paranoia, alternating from one year or event to the next.

2. Colonialism is a factor because Great Powers need to extend their prowess and trade, which generates fear in other Powers if one or two get too “uppity” or crowds in.

3. The old Habsburg empire—Austria—and Russia seek to maintain or expand their control in the Balkans at Turkey’s expense.  Austria has a long history of control, and Russia has ethnic and linguistic ties to some nations, like Serbia (their “little brothers”).

4. Turkey also has a long history of control over parts of the Balkans, but it is weak.

5. Nationalism (see #1) also inspires Balkan nations to seek independence.

6. Turkey or Ottoman Empire is pushed back in various wars or skirmishes (see timeline and 1876-78, 1906, 1908, and 1912-1913), but victorious Russia and Austria and smaller Balkan states do not get as much as they want due to pressure from other Great Powers in international conferences and diplomacy. This builds resentment.

7. Britain and Germany (under William II) engage in an Arms Race, which builds fear and resentment between the two.

8. After assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria (heir to throne) by a Serbian nationalist on June 28, 1914, William II of Germany supports Austria, but Dual Alliance (Germany and Austria) is confused due to Germany’s initial reluctance to go to war (though some debate that, but see #9); and Britain, part of the Triple Entente (Britain, France, Russia), would like to settle the dispute through another international conference, but Austria would not hear of it due to previous humiliations (see #6).  Russia is not too quick to go to another conference, either (see #6).

9. Austria and Germany mobilize for war, as does Russia, even though Germany claims Russia mobilized first; Germany therefore could claim Russia is the aggressor and thereby win over some pacifist Social Democrats.

11. Germany initiates Schlieffen Plan (see 1905) and occupies Luxembourg (Aug 1) and invades Belgium (Aug 3) and continues on to France, so Britain declares war on Germany and Austria, as does Russia.


1872 Ice-Age paintings found at Altamira, Spain

First Oceanographic expedition, the four-year voyage of Challenger

1873 Light was conceived as electromagnetic radiation by James Maxwell

1876 Nikolaus August Otto improves the gas engine; it’s operational (in 1850 Jean-Etienne built first gas-fueled internal combustion engine)

Alexander Graham Bell invents telephone

1878 Movement of animals analyzed through sequential photographs, by Eadweard Muybridge, using series of cameras

1879 Photogravure process is invented

Electric train is demonstrated in Germany by Werner von Siemens

World’s first public electric railway in Brighton, England

Thomas Edison invents electric light bulb

1880 Photographs are first reproduced in newspapers in New York

1881 First electric power plant in Britain

1882 Ionosphere is postulated by Scottish physicist Balfour Stewart to account for earth’s electromagnetic field

Bacillus responsible for tuberculosis is isolated by Robert Koch

1884 Diptheria Bacillus is isolated by Edwin Klebs

Flexible negative film is used by George Eastman (see 1889)

First automatic machine gun is developed by Hiram Maxim

1885 Gottlieb Daimler develops a successful lightweight gasoline engine and fits it to bicycle, so it’s prototype of motorcycle

Louis Pasteur develops a vaccine for rabies

1886 Daimler fits his engine to a four-wheeled carriage to produce four-wheeled carriage (automobile)

1887 Earliest photographic star charts are produced

Existence of radio waves is predicted by Heinrich Hertz

1889 First photographs of Milky Way, by Edward Barnard

Eastman Co. (US; see 1884) produces Kodak No. 1 camera and roll film, facilitating hand-held snapshots

1890 Radioactivity is used to date rocks by Arthur Holmes, so earth is said to be 4.6 billion years old

Antiseptic surgery is demonstrated by Joseph Lister

First electric underground railroad opens in London

1890s Concept of stratigraphy is developed by Augustus Pitt-Rivers: identification of layers of soil indicating archaeological stages

1891 Flinders Petrie begins excavating Akhenaten, a Pharoah in Egypt

First telephoto lens

1892 First gasoline-driven tractor in US

1895 Métro (subway) begins construction in Paris

First balloon launched by Jeanette Picard (US) to study stratosphere

Wireless telegraph invented

1896 Frederick Lanchester introduces epicycle gearing, so it’s a prototype of transmission

Svante Arrhenius (Swede) discovers link between carbon dioxide in atmosphere and global temperature

A. E. Wright develops typhoid vaccine

1897 Electron is discovered by John Joseph Thomson

First issue of Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Notes in US

1899-1935 Arthur Evans excavates Minoan Knossos in Crete

1899 C. Jenatzy breaks 100 kph barrier in an electric car, La Jamais Content, reaching 105.85/kph (65.60 mph)

Aspirin is discovered by Felix Hoffman

1900 First three blood types identified by Karl Landsteiner (later designated A, B, and O)

Quantum theory is propounded by Max Planck:

(1) Energy of electromagnetic radiation (e.g., light, X-rays, and radio waves) is found in pulses of discrete packets of fine size: quanta

1901 Mercedes takes to the road

World’s longest monorail, The Wuppertal Schwebebahn, goes into service in Germany

1903 First powered and controlled flight of airplane by Orville Wright, at Kitty Hawk, NC

1904 Louis Rigolly breaks 100 kph barrier, reaching 166.61/kph (103.55 mph)

1905 Alfred Stieglitz opens gallerie “291” in NY promoting photography

Lewis Hine uses photography to expose exploitation of children in American factories, causing protective laws to be enacted

Special Theory of Relativity is propounded by Albert Einstein

(1) Coordinate space and time are not absolute (as Newton proposed)

(2) Simultaneity of events is observer-dependent

(3) Speed of light is invariant

1906 Richard Dixon Oldham proves earth to have molten core by measuring seismic waves

1907-15 Einstein develops Theory of General Relativity, concerning gravitation

(1) Gravity is not merely a field created in space, but a modification of spacetime itself

(2) Principle of equivalence: being in an accelerated frame of reference is indistinguishable from experiencing a gravitational field; e.g., deflection of starlight passing close to sun, which means gravity bends light

1908 Henry Ford uses assembly-line production for Model T

1909 Soren Sorensen devises the pH scale of acidity

1909 Andija Mohorovicic (Yugoslavian) discovers boundary between earth’s crust and mantle about 30 km (18 miles) below surface

Louis Bleriot flies across English Channel in 36 minutes

1911 Inca city of Peru of Machu Picchu is discovered by Hiram Bingham in the Andes Mountains

Cadillac introduces moving conveyor belt to assembly line

Atomic nucleus is discovered by Ernest Rutherford

Aircraft is used for scouting

1912 Alfred Wegener (German) proposes theory of continental drift and existence of supercontinent, Pangaea

TNT is adopted as filling for artillery shells

1913 Charles Fabry (French) discovers ozone layer in upper atmosphere

Orbiting electron atomic theory is proposed by Danish physicist Niels Bohr, for example:

(1) Electrons do not move continuously from one state to another, but “jump” discontinuously from one state to another (hence quantum leap)

(2) This leads to questioning of simple cause and effect in classical physics

1914-18 Osbert Crawford develops technique of aerial survey of sites

1914 Tetanus vaccine become available on a large scale

Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

See the corresponding Outline of the Gilded Age for more information.

I. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

A. Publications (some)

1. Birth of Tragedy (1872)

2. Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1872)

3. Beyond Good and Evil (1886)

4. Genealogy of Morals (1887)

5. Twilight of Idols (1889)

6. Antichrist (1889)

7. Ecce Homo (1889)

B. Main Tenets

1. God is dead

2. Nihilism

3. Übermensch

4. Will to power

See Nietzsche’s The Madman and God (at this site)

II. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

A. Publications (some)

1. Studies of Hysteria (1886)

2. The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)

3. Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex (1905)

4. Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1919)

5. The Ego and the Id (1923)

B. Main Tenets

1. Psychoanalysis

2. Id

3. Ego

4. Superego

5. Materialist

“It is a regular task in psycho-analytic treatment to fill in the blank in infantile memories, and, in so far as the treatment is successful to any extent at all (very frequently, therefore) we are enabled to bring to light the content of those early years long buried in oblivion.  These impressions have never really been forgotten but were only inaccessible and latent, having become part of the unconscious.  But sometimes it happens that they emerge spontaneously from the unconscious, and it is in connection with dreams that this happens.  It is clear that the dream-life knows the way back to these latent, infantile experiences.” (from A General Introduction to Psycho-analysis, 1915-17)

Literature: Early Modernism

Please click on the corresponding post the Outline of the Gilded Age for more information.

I. Naturalism

A. Time

1. 1870s to early 1900s

B. Description (Please click on the corresponding post the Outline of the Gilded Age for more information.)

C. France

1. Emile Zola (1840-1902)

a. Nana (1880)

D. Scandinavia

1. Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

a. A Doll’s House (1879)

E. Russia

1. Anton Chekov (1860-1904)

a. Three Sisters (1901)

F. America

1. Kate Chopin (née Catherine O’Flaherty) (1851-1904)

a. “Story of an Hour” (1894)

II. Decadents

A. Time

1.  Late 19th to early 20th centuries

B. Description

C. France

1. Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

a. A la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past or literally: In search of lost time) (1913-1927)

D.  England

1. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

a. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1894)

b. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)

III. Expressionism

A. Time

B. Description (Please click on the corresponding post the Outline of the Gilded Age for more information.)

C. Scandinavia

1. August Strindberg (1849-1912)

a. The Dream Play (1902/07)

Bottom Line on Science, Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature

1. Darwin is building on previous scientists who claimed that the earth is older than the apparent Genesis account says it is, and who demonstrated that species clearly show signs of change. Darwin, however, believes God is in charge of the evolutionary process, thus making him a theistic evolutionist. Nonetheless, his views do not sit well with traditional church teaching, Protestant or Catholic.

2. Nuclear physicists and astronomists claim time is not absolute, and cause and effect are not nailed down on a subatomic level.

3. At the same time that anti-clericalism is on the rise during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Nietzsche offers the shocking announcement that God is dead. He looks around him and observes cathedrals in Europe are not very full. Therefore, he needs a new vision for humans, and he looks to the hero in antiquity. Unfortunately, others who will come after him will twist his view into Aryanism; Nietzsche, however, should have had enough insight to predict this twisting of his views, given the anti-Semitism in his society, which he opposed, and especially given his view that the best hero is a Germanic “blond beast.”

4. Freud locates the soul and man’s spiritual thirst in the psyche, as external forces work on it. Thus, the soul is no different from the brain, and spiritual thirst has explainable social and physical causes.

5. As is standard for literature in previous eras, Early Modern Literature is heavily influenced by society and ideas. As science questions time-honored beliefs, such as the absolutism of time, and the freedom of the human bound by evolution, so too literary artists question the nature of time through distortions of plot, sequencing, and point of view and the freedom of the human as in Naturalism.

6. And as left-of-center politicians challenge the status quo of middle-class life, so Decadence challenges the innocence and gild overlaying middle-class life.

7. As women make their voices heard, so writers challenge restriction on women and advance feminist themes.

8. Finally, as the little people suffer while the middle class prospers, so too do writers portray the economic exclusion of the lower classes (more Realism—or at least realistic portrayals—and Naturalism).

Art and Architecture

Please click on the corresponding post the Outline of the Gilded Age for more information.

I. Impressionism (see the Outline of the Gilded Age)

A. Painting

1. Introduction

2. Claude Monet (1840-1926)

3. Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

4. Berthe Morisot (1841-1895)

5. Mary Cassatt (1845-1926)

II. Post-Impressionism (1886-1900) (Please click on the corresponding post the Outline of the Gilded Age for more information.)

A. Painting

1. Introduction

2. Georges Seurat (1859-1891)

3. Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)

4. Paul Gaugin (1848-1903)

5. Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

III. Fauvism, Cubism, and Expressionism (Please click on the corresponding post the Outline of the Gilded Age for more information.)

A. Fauvism

1. Introduction

2. Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

3. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

B. Cubism

1. Introduction

2. Pablo Picasso

C. Expressionism

1. Introduction

2. Wassily Kadinsky (1866-1944)

IV. Sculpture and Architecture

A. Sculpture

1. Auguste Rodin (1940-1917)

B. Architecture

1. Louis Sullivan (1856-1924)

2. Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959)

Bottom Line on Art and Architecture

1. Much of the Bottom Line on Science, Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature applies to art, as well (see above).

2. Impressionism emerges with science and its study of light. It also reacts against the Industrial Revolution, hence the burgeoning of landscape paintings.

3. Post-Impressionism is the first major departure from the Renaissance obsession with mathematical rules and linear perspective.

4. Cubism carries on the breakdown of static, orderly appearances, begun by Post-Impressionism.

5. Fauvism carries on Post-Impressionist experiments with color and the breakdown of perspective.

6. Expressionism breaks with representation art and connects nicely with the rise of psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on the expression of the interior of the artist.

7. Sculpture (Rodin) fuses Romanticism, Gothicism, and Renaissance simplicity.

8. Architecture (Sullivan) follows the dictum, “form follows function,” which entails a building that is a workable organism—pragmatism rules the day. Wright’s domestic designs follow a concept of a livable organism, a dwelling’s connection to its surroundings.

Church History in the Nineteenth Century

Please click on the corresponding post the Outline of the Gilded Age for more information.

I. Catholic Church

A. Pope Pius IX (r. 1846-1878)

1. Revolution of 1848

2. Immaculate Conception (1854)

3. Syllabus of Errors (1864)

4. Vatican Council (1869-1870)

B. Pope Leo XIII (r. 1878-1903)

1. Faith and Reason and Thomas Aquinas

C. Pope Pius X (r. 1903-1914)

1. Rerum Novarum (1891)

II. Liberalism

A. Key figures

1. Ferdinand Christian Baur (1762-1860)

a. Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ (1845)

2. David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1874)

a. Life of Jesus Critically Examined (1835-36)

3. Albrecht Ritschl (1822-1889)

a. The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation (1870-84)

b. Theology and Metaphysics (1881)

4. Joseph Ernest Renan (1823-1892)

a. The Life of Jesus (1863)

5. Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918)

a. History of Israel (1878)

6. Albert Schweitzer (1879-1963)

a. The Quest for the Historical Jesus (1906)

7. Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America (1908)

III. Conservative Reactions

A. Evangelical Alliance (1848)

B. Their Five Fundamentals (1895)

1. Inerrancy of the Bible

2. Divinity of Jesus

3. Virgin birth

4. Jesus’ death on the cross as substitute for sin

5. Jesus’ physical resurrection and return

C. Lyman Stewart, Moody Church, R.A. Torrey, and The Fundamentals (1909)

IV. Ministry to Regular People

A. Some Protestant Leaders and Workers

1.. David Livingstone (1813-1873)

a. Missionary Explorer to Africa

2. Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874)

a. Mother of Holiness Movement

3. Charles Grandison Finney (1792-1875)

a. Father of American Revivalism

4. John Nelson Darby (1800-1882)

a. Founder of Dispensationalism

5. Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

a. Abolitionist and Women’s Rights Activist

6. Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

a. Prince of Preachers

7. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)

a. Abolitionist and Novelist

8. Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899)

a. Revivalist

9. J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)

a. Missionary to China

10. William and Catherine Booth (1829-1912; 1829-1890)

a. Founders of Salvation Army

11. Harriet Tubman (1820-1913)

a. The “Moses” of Her People

12. Fanny Crosby (1820-1915)

a. Blind composer of many hymns

13. Andrew Murray (1828-1917)

a. Christ’s School of Prayer

E. Pentecostalism (1906)

1. Azusa Street Mission and Topeka, Kansas

2. Assemblies of God (1914)


Western world, you’re asleep! Wake up and reclaim your good heritage, like your true Christian biblical faith, rather than religion, and forget the bad.

Modernism begins now. Though its art may appear wacky to some, it still has a right to exist. Don’t let communism and socialism or Islamism erode your liberty.

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