History is filled with great civilizations and one single king or queen ruling as much as a quarter of the world. Most parts of the world have had leaders coming in from different parts of the world and claiming the land as their own. This has then affected the conquered region and even to this date, the hints of those ruling countries continue. Some countries progressed in the era that they were ruled by foreigners, others were unfortunate and their economic condition and living standards of the locals deteriorated.
One specific century that stands out from the rest of our history of the millennium is the 18th century. It was a time when the British Empire was at its prime, America was going through a great awakening period and Africa was suffering through slavery. All of these changes and transitions in power have transformed the world as we know it. There are some key elements that made the 1700s so important, they are as follows:
British Empire Growth:
The British Empire was at its strongest in the 18th century. With so much of the world under its regime, it’s no wonder it was the most progressive and most powerful empire of its time. It was growing larger and prospering in the time. The population grew larger and by 1763 and it had gone from 260,000 to as much as 2,150,000. Although this was also the start of the industrial revolution in the entire world, but Britain was progressing in a total opposite aspect. Their agricultural productivity had doubled as compared to other foreign countries and exporting grain became one of Britain’s defining features.
At that time, Britain did not have its own laws and followed the laws set forth by the Romans. This changed in the mid-1700s, William Blackstone, a lawyer by profession, wrote the English law. He also likened it to the nation’s development and considered it as “noblest inheritance of mankind”. His law was the reason why no women could hold a property or a title in Britain. He had also set forth the motion that if the woman is an earning member, then her salary or wages belonged to the man of the house.
France, which was another great empire at the time, had started facing economic instability during the 1700s. The problem had risen when the French King of the time Louis XV had put the empire in huge debts due to the construction of the ever famous palace Versailles. In addition to that, he was waging wars against his neighbors, most notable of them being to capture Spain. The process continued until the second half of the 18th century. The taxes were imposed on the poor while the rich were not paying any taxes at all. The farmers were earning such low amounts that they could barely feed their families. As a result, the small businesses that were started in that era could not prosper and would have to be shut down. This made the country go into deeper financial troubles and finally concluded with the French revolution.
America in the 18th century was filled with power and prestige. It was the land where people went to get away from Europe and America harbored them with open arms and abundant opportunities. However, this was the time when slavery was promoted and white people had all the privileges whereas, people of African heritage were considered from a lower caste. Slaves were used for labor work, field work and as servants. Importing slaves became a thriving form of trade to America and were transported to America in great abundance. There were barely any rights for the slaves in that era. African Americans were not allowed education, neither were they allowed to have the same level jobs in the country and they were not provided with good living facilities. The industrial revolution had begun and although the white Americans educated themselves and progressed, the blacks still lacked the basic human necessities. It wasn’t until 1793 that the invention of cotton gin changed the slavery for better.
Our history is filled with mistakes of our rulers and has many lessons hidden in it. The way blacks were treated and women were considered lesser than men were twisted laws. More emphasis was laid upon looking good and the latest fashion in these great countries than on the education of the women. People from other races were looked down upon and mistreated in the most brutal ways. We can learn a lot from our history only if we pay enough attention to it.