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Contemporary Times in World History


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Olympe de Gouges
One of the first women activists during the time of and after the French Revolution. She published the "Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizen" which claimed the same rights for women as was granted for men after the Revolution. In 1793 she was executed by the French goverment for her connection to Marie Antionette and for her womens right crusade.
John Locke
An English philosopher (1632-1704) he formulated one of the most influential theories of contractual government. His theory was based on soveriegnty of the people rather than the "divine right" of the ruler.
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
Reigned 1774 to 1793 as the King and Queen of France and were overthrown by the National Assembly ( the former Third Estate, and peasantry of France) who demanded a constitution and popular sovereignty of the government. He also assisted the United States in their fight for freedom from England.
Maximilien Robespierre
A leader of the french radical revolutionary Jacobian party from 1758-1794. He believed France needed a complete restructuring including, the elimination of Christian influence, increased but not complete rights to women and the reformation of the calendar. The Jacobians frequently used the guillotine towards "enemies of the revolution.
Napolean Bonaparte
Crowned himself emperor of the French in 1799. He was the greatest military genius of his time. He created an empire that covered most of western and central Europe. Napoleon was also an excellent administrator. He introduced many useful reforms, including the creation of a strong, efficient central government and the revision and organization of French laws into collections called codes.
Toussaint Louverture
(1774-1803) The leader of the only successful slave-revolt in history on the island of Saint-Domingue (Haiti). A son of slaves who was educated by a Roman Catholic priest, he was a gifted military man. In 1801 he promulgated a constitution granted equality and citizenship to all of the island but did not declare Independence from France. He was arrested and died in a prison in France, but his army won after much of the invading french army came down with yellow fever.
Simon Bolivar
(1783-1830) Was one of South America's greatest generals inspired by Enlightenment thinkers and George Washington. His victories over the Spaniards won independence for Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Bolivar is called El Libertador (The Liberator) and the "George Washington of South America."
Edmund Burke
A modern conservatist (1729-1797) and English political philosopher who held that society was an organism that changed very slowly over generations. He condemded sudden radical and revolutionary change which he felt led to anarchism. He approved of the American Revolution as a historical development of the society but not the French as a chaotic and irresponsible assualt on society.
John Stuart Mill
An English philospher, economist, and social reformer who led the liberalism movement during the early 19th century. He promoted freedom of individuals to pursue their own economic and intellectual interests and worked tirelessly to prevent wealthy businessmen from stopping everyday people from doing so.
Klemens von Metternich
(1773-1859), served as Austrian minister of foreign affairs from 1809 to 1848. He was the leading European statesman during most of that period, often called the Age of Metternich. Metternich was a political conservative who used his power both to protect the Austrian Empire and to support monarchs elsewhere against popular unrest. He was given the additional title of chancellor in 1821.

Metternich tried to maintain a balance of power in Europe. He played a major role at conferences of European leaders, beginning with the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815). This conference determined the rulers and boundaries of Europe after the defeat of Napoleon I. Metternich encouraged European powers to suppress liberal and nationalist activity. He employed a network of spies to inform him of political threats.
Otto von Bismark
(1815-1898), Prince Bismarck-Schonhausen, was a Prussian statesman who united the German states into one empire. He declared that the great problems of his time must be settled by "blood and iron" instead of by speeches and resolutions. He fought three wars that succeded in bringing the German states together.

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