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  • Hi I'm John Green and this is Crash Course European History.

  • Last time, we looked at how the monarchs did--and didn't--incorporate the ideas of the Enlightenment

  • into their domestic policies.

  • Today, we'll look outward to how the 18th century European powers engaged with each

  • other and beyond Europe--which is to say that warfare is coming.

  • Or, continuing, I suppose, because it never really left town.

  • [Intro] So, population was rising in 18th century

  • Europe and despite an extremely uneven distribution of wealth and lots of wartime casualties,

  • many people were leading better lives.

  • For example, inventories of French people's possessions show that in 1700 women owned

  • an average of two garments generally in solid black or brown;

  • in 1800 that number was five garments of more varied, even bright colors.

  • Now, this may seem like minor progress, but here's another way of thinking about it:

  • The average number of garments owned by people living in France rose by more in a hundred

  • years than it had in the previous hundred thousand.

  • By the way, did that dress look gold to you, or blue?

  • And do you even remember that meme?

  • Probably not.

  • Oh god, I'm so old.

  • I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

  • That's an even older meme.

  • At any rate, we associate these and many other improving conditions in Europe with what is

  • calledmodernity”—an idea combining improvement and novelty that we will examine

  • later in the series.

  • But when it came to warfare, Europeans were still battling it out among themselves on

  • the continent and on the seas--and always at great cost.

  • The 18th century opened with wars of the Spanish, Polish, and Austrian successions, all of which

  • were just what their names suggest: fights over who was going to become king or queen

  • amidst a dispute over rulershipdisputes not unlike the one at the heart of the Hundred

  • Years War.

  • And so in that sense, progress had been . . . minimal.

  • As far as wars between states, the dominant idea in foreign relations was still to grab

  • as much territory as possible from foreign kingdoms.

  • Because only by making your kingdom bigger could you also make it richer.

  • So for instance as Austria fought with itself during its war of succession over whether

  • a woman, Maria Theresa, should be allowed to ascend to the Habsburg throne, Frederick

  • the Great of neighboring Prussia quickly mobilized his army and seized Silesia from the Habsburgs.

  • When I read the phrase, “seized Silesiait rolled right off the tongue of my mind,

  • but man.

  • Saying it is a completely different matter.

  • At any rate, Maria Theresa's rulership survived, but Habsburg control of Silesia did not.

  • Because of economic globalization, still other wars aimed at controlling trade routes and

  • productive territory around the world.

  • For that reason sometimes a cluster of wars in the middle of the eighteenth century has

  • been called a “world waror the Great War for Empire.

  • Like, it was a world war, but unfortunately we already have a World War I, so we're

  • in a bit of a tight spot, name-wise.

  • But these wars did occur across truly global battlefields and oceans.

  • They included wars between the British and local Native American peoples (sometimes called

  • the first and second Anglo-Indian Wars), and also the French and Indian War in North America.

  • and there was also the Seven Years War, which was fought partly within Europe, but there

  • were also battles between Britain and its rivalsmost notably France and Spainin

  • the Caribbean, the Philippines, and India.

  • In this complicated and many-tentacled set of warsor arguably a single war in many

  • different theatersthe French and British were ultimately fighting over who would be

  • the dominant European force in the wider world.

  • Spain was a somewhat smaller player, fighting to protect its holdings in the Caribbean and

  • the Philippines.

  • Native people around the world were enlisted in these struggles, and local peoples changed

  • sides often as their interests shifted, and in the end trusted none of the Europeans,

  • who pitted native peoples against each other and also were not known for keeping their

  • promises.

  • Simultaneously the Russians were waging war against the Ottomans in eastern Europe, the

  • Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the Caucasus.

  • In Russia, like in the other European kingdoms, the wars' costs were passed on mostly to

  • ordinary people, who faced more efficient and demanding tax collection.

  • Additionally, central governments were disrupting local traditions and practices--for instance,

  • local traditions related to the consumption of alcohol were disrupted in Russia by HUGE

  • increases in taxes on alcohol.

  • Did the center of the world just open?

  • Is my favorite book, The Bear and the Dragon in there?

  • Ah, The Bear and the Dragon by Tom Clancy.

  • I've never actually read it, but inside my copy of the bear and the dragon is this.

  • So in 18th century Russia, this huge tax on alcohol eventually funded 22% of the empire's

  • total budget.

  • And there were other disruptions as well, arguably more important ones, including the

  • conversion of some free peasants into serfs.

  • Local people fought back in a variety of ways.

  • The first of the extensive uprisings against the efficient andenlightenedtaxation

  • to pay for warfare was the Pugachev Rebellion.

  • It was led by former Cossack and Russian army deserter Emile Pugachev.

  • He managed to persuade rural Russians that he was in fact Peter III, husband of Catherine

  • II.

  • Now, Peter had been assassinated in 1762 within months of his accession to power, most likely

  • at Catherine's command (and possibly by her lover).

  • So given that Russian history really was playing out like a soap opera, it didn't seem impossible

  • that the murdered Czar had been hiding out all along as a Russian army deserter named

  • Emile.

  • Pugachev claimed to have wandered poor and alone like Jesus until he could become the

  • Tsar Redeemer.”

  • And as Peter III, Pugachev created quite the following.

  • He had Russian clergy and officialsboth high and lowissue a series of measures

  • relieving serfs of their burdens.

  • Pugachev also roused the Cossacks, who were fearful of being forced into the army and

  • losing their freedom.

  • He confirmed their rights and liberties and he granted everyone permission to sport beards,

  • which, as you may recall, Peter I had outlawed.

  • And some three million Russians followed Pugachev until he was captured in 1774, then gruesomely

  • tortured and executed in January 1775.

  • After that, Catherine again tightened the nobility's grip on serfs.

  • Hard on the heels of Pugachev's uprising, the American Revolution erupted over a series

  • of taxes Britain imposed on its thirteen colonies in North Americaagain to pay the costs

  • of imperial warfare.

  • Now, the British government felt that the expense it had incurred in defeating the French

  • and Native Americans in the French and Indian War should be paid by the colonists who'd

  • profited from the protection.

  • But in America, we don't stand for that kind of reasoning!

  • There were some other things going on.

  • The royal government had also closed off westward expansion at the Allegheny Mountains, which

  • in effect eradicated the property rights of people like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington

  • who claimed land there.

  • And King George agreed with his advisors that the Americans were rough, stupid, and ineffective,

  • especially as miltary people.

  • So to keep the Native Americans under control, a standing army of British soldiers should

  • be stationed on the North American continent and financed by the colonists.

  • So if history is all about shifting perspectives, we're gonna shift perspectives quickly here.

  • From the british perspective, American colonists were taxed 1 shilling for every 26 paid by

  • a homeland Briton, and that seemed like a pretty good deal.

  • But from the perspective of the North American colonists, they did not have the rights of

  • other Englishmen, including the right not to be taxed without representation.

  • Colonists created a Declaration of Independence, which was issued in 1776.

  • The British the sent additional troops, and soon war erupted.

  • Those who wanted independence harassed, beat up, murdered and destroyed the property of

  • the loyalists, who responded in kind.

  • The rebels were greatly aided by the Spanish and French who sent decisive aid in the form

  • of ships and military personnel.

  • And besides, the British had other concerns, including preserving their far more lucrative

  • sugar islands in the Caribbean, as well as their holdings in India, and in Canada.

  • Although comparatively insignificant at the time, the newly independent colonies that

  • became the United States established a representative form of government with a written constitution

  • that featured many Enlightenment principles.

  • Now, it was hardly a true democracy, as only a minority had any legal say or rights and

  • the Constitution itself enshrined slavery.

  • But it also definitely wasn't a monarchy.

  • Anyway, this little country would eventually grow big enough for us to make an entire Crash

  • Course about it.

  • Meanwhile, the defeated loyalists, including slaves who had been promised their freedom

  • in return for fighting for the crown, fled to Canada and other parts of the world.

  • And for the record, they rarely received the financial support that the British had promised

  • them for their faithful assistance.

  • Spain also saw uprisings against the reforms of the enlightened monarchs, though grievances

  • had been piling up even before efficient and tax-heavy policies were put in place.

  • Also, Spain lost Manila in the Philippines to the British, and they lost Florida, which,

  • you know, not exactly a tragedy.

  • I am a Floridan so I am allowed to make that joke.

  • And, that's not fair.

  • Florida is lovely.

  • It really is the best place in the United States to run from your past mistakes, straight

  • into new ones.

  • But back to Spain.

  • So, across the occupied Spanish lands in the Western Hemisphere, local people found ways

  • to express their discontent with colonial oppression, at times violently protesting

  • injustices by imperial officials or overbearing behavior by priests.

  • Religious activists claimed that the Spanish were false gods; in the former Incan lands,

  • several Incans actively opposed the Spanish government in a concerted uprising that began

  • in 1742, but was soon defeated.

  • Let's go to the Thought Bubble.

  • 1.

  • In 1780, another uprising battling Spanish rule broke out in the Andes.

  • 2.

  • Inca Tupac Ameru led a powerful rebellion against Spanish authorities in an attempt

  • to restore the former Incan empire

  • 3. and to liberate local people from the increased Spanish demands for labor and taxes.

  • 4.

  • His wife Michaela Bastidas, who was part Incan,

  • 5. was operational manager and chief enfor