Theme: Change Change

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Theme: Change


  • Revolutions
  • Turning Points
  • Individuals
  • These essays typically come down to cause and effect:
  • What were the historical circumstances/context (CAUSE)
  • How did society change from this (EFFECT)

French Revolution

  • France, 1789-1799
  • Causes
    • Outdated social system (the Estate System)
    • Deficit spending- spending more $ than you’re bringing in
    • Food shortages
    • Enlightenment thinkers and the American Rev.
  • Effects
    • French people united under nationalism
    • Middle class (Bourgeoisie) gain a say in gov’t
    • Still food shortages
    • France is at war with several nations
    • Napoleon
  • Political

Bolshevik Revolution

  • November 1917
  • Causes
    • Involvement in WWI and disastrous losses
    • Food and fuel shortages
    • Vladimir Lenin promises communism, where the people’s needs are met
  • Effects
    • Russia becomes the world’s 1st communist nation
    • USSR/Soviet Union is created
    • Stalin comes to power
  • Political
  • Peace,
  • Land,
  • Bread!

Chinese Communist Revolution

  • China, 1949
  • Causes
    • Fall of the Qing Dynasty puts China into chaos
    • The only foreign nation that would help China establish new gov’t is USSR (other nations wanted China to stay weak to continue imperialism/spheres of influence/unequal treaties)
    • Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party gain support from the large peasant population to get their needs met
  • Effects
    • People’s Republic of China established in 1949
    • Great Leap Forward
    • Cultural Revolution
  • Political

Iranian Revolution

  • Iran, 1979
  • Causes
    • The Shah (Pahlavi) lived in luxury while the people were in poverty
    • Control of the oil industry was given to the West
    • Iranians (especially Islamic clergy) rally behind Ayatollah Khomeini
  • Effects
    • Shah is pushed out of power
    • Khomeini establishes the Islamic Republic of Iran (fundamentalist theocracy)
    • Iran Hostage Crisis and economic sanctions
  • Political

Neolithic Revolution

  • Latin America, Africa, Asia, ~10,000 BCE
  • Causes
    • Ice age ends, climate stabilizes
    • Development of agriculture farming
  • Effects
    • Improved health  longer lifespan  population increase
    • Change in work patterns/division of labor
    • People become sedentary (settled), civilizations develop
    • Trade
    • Class system
  • Non-Political

Commercial Revolution

  • Europe, 1500s
  • Causes
    • Trade increases- Europe connected to Africa, Asia, and the Americas
    • Entrepreneurs have capital to invest into businesses
    • More money is in society- banks, insurance, investment
  • Effects
    • Economy changes from barter to $$
    • Capitalism
    • Guilds develop
    • New middle class- artisans
  • Non-Political

Scientific Revolution

  • Europe, mid-1500s
  • Causes
    • Renaissance inspired scientists to explore the world around them outside of the Church’s traditional thinkings
  • Effects
    • New ways of thinking about the world from Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, etc
  • Non-Political


  • Europe, 1600s-1700s
  • Causes
    • Renaissance and Scientific Revolution encourage people to question the traditional order
    • Use of reason to discover natural laws
  • Effects
    • Move away from absolutism and divine right toward democracy and individual rights
    • Revolutions in America, France, and Latin America
  • Non-Political

Industrial Revolution

  • Begins in 18th/19th century Great Britain
  • Causes
    • Britain has abundant natural resources (coal, tin, etc.) and waterways
    • Entrepreneurs have capital that they’re willing to invest in new businesses
    • New technology- steam engine, flying shuttle, spinning jenny, factories
  • Effects
    • Urbanization
    • New social classes
    • New economic systems
    • Poor working conditions, child labor, low wages
    • Standard of living rises
  • Non-Political

Chinese Cultural Revolution

  • China, 1966-1976
  • Causes
    • Mao Zedong wants to rid China of nonrevolutionary influences
    • Chinese youth are encouraged to go out and experience the revolution firsthand (the Red Guard)
  • Effects
    • Many older people are harassed, beaten, or killed
    • Schools and factories are closed, China’s economy is halted
  • Non-Political

Green Revolution

  • 1950s and 1960s
  • Causes
    • Food needed to feed growing population
  • Effects
    • New high-yield crops (GMOs)
    • Boosted agricultural production in many areas (India, Mexico, Indonesia)
    • New chemical fertilizers and pesticides (and associated health risks)
  • Non-Political

Fall of Rome

  • ~400 CE
  • Causes
    • Emperor Constantine divides the empire in two, which weakens it
    • Germanic invaders defeated the Romans
    • Heavy taxes pushed people into poverty while the elite live in luxury
  • Effects
    • Eastern half of the empire becomes the Byzantine Empire and flourishes
    • Western half of the empire falls into the Dark Ages and feudalism develops
  • Turning Point


  • Middle East/Europe, 1095-1291 CE
  • Causes
    • Muslims invade the Byzantine Empire
    • Pope wants to recapture the Holy Land (Jerusalem) and increase the power of the Catholic Church
    • Christians hate Muslims and vice versa
  • Effects
    • Muslims hold on to the Holy Land
    • Expanded trade between Europe, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia
    • New technologies and ideas come to Europe from the advanced Islamic Kingdoms
    • Feudal system weakened
  • Turning Point


  • Europe, 1300s-1500s
  • Causes
    • Wealthy merchants become patrons of the arts
    • Rebirth of classical learning- Greek and Roman philosophy, art, and sciences
    • Focus shifts from religion to secular topics
  • Effects
    • Golden Age of art and literature
    • Catholic church loses some power
    • Invention of the printing press spreads new ideas
  • Turning Point

Protestant Reformation

  • Europe, 1500s
  • Causes
    • Catholic church becomes corrupt and worldly
    • Selling of indulgences causes Martin Luther to post 95 Theses
    • Printing press spreads the 95 Theses and the German language Bible
  • Effects
    • Europe is never united under one religion again
    • Founding of Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, and other Protestant Churches
    • Catholic church launches reforms
    • The Inquisition persecutes heretics
  • Turning Point

The Encounter/1492

  • First contact between Europe and the Americas
  • Causes
    • Europeans wanted to find their own trade routes to Asia that cut out the middle merchants that raised prices
    • New technology (maps, astrolabe, caravel) allowed explores to cross the ocean
  • Effects
    • Columbian Exchange brings new foods to Europe, whose population increases
    • Natives are essentially enslaved under the encomienda system and die in great numbers due to disease and overwork
    • New source of labor in the form of slaves from Africa
  • Turning Point


  • Causes
    • MAIN
    • Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
  • Effects
    • Germany is forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles, accepting responsibility for the war and paying reparations to Allied Powers
      • Germany falls into political and economic disarray
    • New nations created in Europe from old Central Powers territories
    • League of Nations is created to use diplomacy instead of war, but is too weak to be effective (US not involved)
  • Turning Point

Collapse of the USSR

  • 1980s-1991
  • Causes
    • Communist economies of Eastern Europe slow down
    • Gorbachev launches reforms (glasnost and perestroika) that fail
    • Fall of the Berlin Wall allows Germany to be reunited
    • Eastern European nations declare independence
  • Effects
    • New nations are formed, but face ethnic violence and economic struggles
    • Democracy movement in Eastern Europe
    • US is the only world superpower
  • Turning Point

Creation of Israel

  • Middle East, 1948
  • Causes
    • Zionism
    • Many Jews immigrate to Palestine after WWII
  • Effects
    • Several wars fought between the Israelis and neighboring Arab nations over its existence
    • Yasir Arafat guides the PLO to guerilla war against Israel
    • Continued violence in the region
  • Turning Point

Nelson Mandela becomes President

  • Individual
  • Mandela led the fight against apartheid in South Africa
  • Encouraged nonviolent civil disobedience
  • Was in jail from 1962-1990
  • After his release from jail, worked with F.W. de Klerk to end apartheid and won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1994 elections were the first ones in which all South Africans could vote, and Mandela was elected president
  • Impact- changed the political climate in South Africa, encouraged blacks and whites to work together
  • Turning Point


  • ~600 CE, Mecca (modern day Saudi Arabia)
  • Troubled by moral issues in society, especially greed
  • Was called on by the angel Gabriel to be the messenger of Allah
  • Devoted his life to spreading Islam, encouraging Arabs to give up their pagan gods and instead worship Allah
  • Faced persecution and exile
  • Impact- was able to unite Arabs under Islam and create peace among many Arab clans; Islam is one of the major religions of the world
  • Individual

Johannes Gutenberg

  • Germany, early 1400s
  • Gutenberg created the first moveable type printing press that was able to mass produce books
  • Impact- books became easier and faster to make (cheaper to produce and buy), literacy increased throughout Europe, new ideas able to spread quickly
  • Individual

Martin Luther

  • Germany, early 1500s
  • Luther was a German monk who was disillusioned with the corruption of the Catholic church, especially the selling of indulgences
  • Wrote a list of 95 These (formal statements) criticizing the Church and nailed it to the door of his local church
  • When the Church called on Luther to recant, he refused
  • Impact- new sects of Christianity are created, Europe is never united under one religion again, the Catholic church is forced to make reforms
  • Individual

Peter the Great

  • Russia, 1682-1721
  • Czar of Russia- came to power when Russia was in chaos
  • Adopted a policy of Westernization to make Russia a modern power
    • Modernized manufacturing, shipbuilding, and how people dressed
  • Used the military and explorers to expand Russia’s territory
  • Impact- made Russia a rising power and the largest nation in the world, but also ruled through terror and expanded serfdom in Russia
  • Individual

John Locke/ Thomas Hobbes

  • Europe, 1600s-1700s
    • After Renaissance/Scientific Revolution, people begin to think about their relationship to the government in new ways
  • Both were Enlightenment Thinkers
    • Thomas Hobbes: social contract- an arrangement where people give up their rights to be protected by the government
    • John Locke: natural rights- rights everyone is born with (life, liberty and property); government exists at the consent of the governed
  • Impact- new ideas of government spread throughout Europe, lead to revolutions in the US, France, and Latin America
  • Individual

Niccolò Machiavelli

  • Florence (Italy), ~1500s
  • Wrote The Prince in 1513
    • The ends justify the means- rulers should use whatever means necessary to achieve their goals
  • Impact- gives insight into the nature of politics and how rulers use/gain/maintain power
  • Individual

Napoleon Bonaparte

  • France, early 1800s
  • Was a successful military hero in the French Revolution, and was able to accumulate enough power to become emperor of France
  • Expanded France into a large empire through conquest or alliance
  • Unsuccessfully attempted to invade Russia and was forced into exile
  • Impact- his attempt to take over all of Europe resulted in the Congress of Vienna, which redrew the map of Europe, returned monarchs to the thrones they’d been kicked out of, and created the Concert of Europe to suppress further uprisings
  • Individual

Otto Von Bismark

  • Germany, 1800s
  • Successfully unified Germany through “Blood and Iron”- military strength and industry to create weapons
  • Was willing to do whatever was necessary to accomplish his goals- took $ to fund his army, invented reasons to invade other nations
  • Became Chancellor of a unified Germany in 1871 and worked to get rid of opposition to new government
  • Impact- united Germany and made it a dominant European power
  • Individual

Adam Smith/Karl Marx

  • 18th/19th century Europe
  • Adam Smith- Father of Capitalism
    • Free market system based on supply and demand, and government keeps its hands off (laissez faire)
  • Karl Marx- Father of Communism
    • Industrialization will be the downfall of society because workers become disposable while bosses become wealthy
    • Eventually the workers (proletariat) will rise up and overthrow the bosses (bourgeoisie) and establish a classless society
  • Impact- new economic systems that are fundamentally at odds with each other and will cause conflict among nations (ie, Cold War)
  • Individual

Vladimir Lenin

  • Russia, early 1900s
  • Founder of the Bolsheviks, who adopted Marx’s ideas to fit Russian conditions
  • Gained the support of the people through his slogan of “Peace, Land, Bread”
  • Overthrew the Czar and established a communist government- redistributed land to peasants, gave workers control of factories, and created the Soviet Union
  • Impact- Steered Russia in the direction it followed long after his death- the Soviet Union remained until 1991, and Russia remained a communist nation until that point as well.
  • Individual

Adolf Hitler

  • Germany, 1939
  • Became the leader of Germany in the chaos following WWI
  • Leader of the Nazi party, attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe
  • Impact- Holocaust, WWII, etc.
  • Individual

Mahatma Gandhi

  • India, between the World Wars
  • Leader of the Indian Independence movement
  • Used passive resistance, nonviolent civil disobedience (Salt March), boycotts and hunger strikes to gain India’s freedom
  • Impact- India gains independence from Britain
  • Individual

Kemal Atatürk

  • Turkey, 1920s
  • Overthrew the sultan and established Turkey as a republic
  • Harsh ruler who modernized Turkey and separated religion and government
  • Impact- helped Turkey become a modern nation, influenced others in the Middle East (like Reza Khan of Iran) to modernize
  • Individual

Mao Zedong

  • China, 1900s
  • Led the Chinese Communist Party during the Chinese Civil War
  • Became the leader of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and made it a Communist nation
  • Established the Great Leap Forward to increase agricultural production
  • Launched the Cultural Revolution to get rid of nonrevolutionary influences
  • Impact- Mao died a national hero for ending foreign domination of China and restoring order after WWII, and China is still a communist nation today
  • Individual

Deng Xiaoping

  • Becomes the leader of China after Mao’s death
  • Established a program of Four Modernizations to improve China in agriculture, industry, science and technology, and defense
  • Allowed for some economic reforms to take place in China (entrepreneurs, foreign investment)
  • However, blocked social reforms
  • Impact- China’s economy becomes stronger, Tiananmen Square Massacre
  • Individual

Yasir Arafat

  • Leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, 1967-2004
  • Until 1993, called for the destruction of Israel
    • Signed Oslo Accords in 1993, agreed to stop attacks and recognized the right of Israel to exist
  • Encouraged guerilla warfare and intifada against Israel/Israeli control
  • Impact- extremist groups still continue violence against Israel today
  • Individual

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