Exam preparation materials


From 1750 to 1914, so much happened in so many different places that it’s easy to get lost unless you focus on major developments and trends. We suggest that you try to link up many of the events and movements in a flowchart. Once you start, you’ll be amazed at how much is interconnected.

We’ve put together a sample here. You may choose to connect developments quite differently from the way we have—there’s certainly more than one way to link events together. That said, take a look at the this page and use it to help you begin to make your own.

Of course, the chart above doesn’t begin to address many of the developments covered in this chapter. To include everything would require an enormous chart. In addition, developments were complicated and not entirely sequential. For example, there were two big rounds of independence movements and revolutions because there were two rounds of colonialism. The first round occurred after the Age of Exploration when the United States and Latin America declared their independence. The second round occurred after the Industrial Revolution and led to a race for new colonies in Asia and Africa. Those independence movements didn’t occur until after 1914, so they are not included this chapter.

Notice also that there are arrows going in both directions between the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution—they each led to more of the other. The greater the food surplus, the more a country could industrialize. The more it industrialized, the more it developed efficient machines and tools that could be used to increase agricultural production.


Nationalism was an enormous force on all continents during the time period covered in this chapter. Nationalism, broadly defined, is the desire of a people of a common cultural heritage to form an independent nation-state and/or empire that both represents and protects their shared cultural identity. It drove movements in Germany and Italy to unify. It drove movements in the Americas to declare independence. It drove resistance against European colonialism in India, China, and Africa, while it drove Europeans to compete with each other to promote national pride and wealth by establishing colonies in the first place. In China, it even drove peasant movements against the Manchu government, which was targeted for not representing the Han majority. It drove the French to unite behind Napoleon to attempt to take over Europe, and it drove the British to unite to try to take over the world. Nationalism drove the Japanese to quickly industrialize and the Egyptians to limit the power of the Ottomans.

In short, by 1914, the world had become one of strong identification with one’s own nation, or with the dream of the creation of one’s own nation. Even in the European colonies, and perhaps especially there, nationalism was growing. The oppressors used nationalist feelings to justify their superiority. The oppressed used nationalistic feelings to justify their rebellion.


During the time period covered in this chapter, there were many forces of change. Exploration. Industrialization. Education. The continuing impact of the Enlightenment. The end of slavery. Military superiority. Nationalism. Imperialism. Racism. Capitalism. Marxism. It’s mind-boggling.

What’s more, these changes were communicated more quickly than ever before. Trains and ships raced across continents and seas. Telegraph cables were laid. By 1914, planes were in the air and telephones were ringing. Think about how much more quickly Japan industrialized thanEngland. Think about how much more quickly Africa was colonized than Latin America. Increases in transportation and communication had far-reaching consequences.

Urbanization, too, fueled change. As people came in closer contact with each other, ideas spread more quickly. Like-minded people were able to associate with each other. Individuals had contact with a greater variety of people, and therefore were exposed to a greater variety of ideas. Increasingly, developments in the cities raced along at a faster pace than those in villages and on farms. In India, for example, British imperialism greatly impacted life in the cities. Indians learned to speak English and adopted European habits. In the countryside, however, Hindu and Muslim culture continued along largely uninterrupted.

Of course, most change—even “revolutionary” change—didn’t entirely supplant everything that came before it. For example, the Scientific Revolution challenged some assertions made by Roman Catholicism, but both survived, and many people learned to be both scientific and Christian. Slavery was successfully outlawed, but that didn’t mean that former slaves were suddenly welcomed as equals. Racism, both social and institutional, continued.

It’s also important to keep in mind that individuals, even those who were the primary agents of change, acted and reacted based on multiple motives, which were sometimes at odds with each other. The United States declared its independence eloquently and convincingly, and then many of the signers went home to their slaves. Factory workers argued tirelessly for humane working conditions, but once achieved, happily processed raw materials stolen from distant lands where the interests of the natives were often entirely disregarded.

Change is indeed very complex, but it’s also impossible to ignore. Life for virtually everyone on the globe was different in 1914 than in 1750. If you can describe how, you’re well on your way to understanding the basics. If you can describe why, you’re on your way to doing well on the exam.



Industrial Revolution

Absolute Monarch


Assembly Line

Labor Union












Natural Resources






Social Class


Social Darwinism






Trade Union


Universal Suffrage

Free Market


Free Trade



Wage Labor






American Revolution

Muslim League

Assembly Line

Napoleon Bonaparte

Berlin Conference 1884

Open Door Policy

Bloody Sunday

Opium Wars

Boer Wars (Africa 1899–1902)

Panama Canal

Boxer Rebellions

The Raj

British East India Company

Reign of Terror


Cecil Rhodes

Charles Darwin

Rudyard Kipling

Communist Manifesto


Congress of Vienna

Russo-Japanese War

Declaration of Independence

Scramble for Africa

Declaration of the Rights of Man

Sepoy Mutiny (1857)

The Diet of Japan

Seven Years War (French and Indian)

Emancipation of Serfs

Sino-Japanese War

Empress Cixi (China)

Social Darwinism

Frederich Engels

Spanish American War

Execution of Louis XVI (France)

Spheres of Influence

Miguel Hidalgo (Mexico)

Suez Canal

Indian National Congress

The State Duma of Russia

Intolerable Acts

Steam Engine (James Watts)

The Jewel in the Crown

Taiping Rebellion

Mahmut II (Ottoman)

Unequal Treaties

Karl Marx

Otto von Bismarck

Maxim Guns

Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith)

Meiji Restoration

“White Man’s Burden”

Monroe Doctrine

Witte Industrialization Program

Muhammad Ali (Egypt)

Young Turks Party

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