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Forces Behind the Transformation of Modern Europe - Essay Sample

7 pages
1797 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The transformation of Modern Europe has been influenced by various factors including cultural, economic and political aspects of social life with culture and political elements having a relatively significant impact and the economic part being the most significant force in the transformation. Modern Europe has undergone enormous changes in the agricultural sector, education, financial systems, and industrialisation and substantial changes in the political system. The Paris treaty of establishing the European coal and steel Community was concluded in 1951 by France, Germany, Italy, and the Benelux nations. After 40 years, the European Community is a transformed society. Today it is made up of twelve member states, with a population of over 340 million citizens, and is part of the largest trading block globally (Smith & McCulloch, 1838). Thus, the fact that Modern Europe has undergone radical transformation is undisputable. It was the economic aspect of social life that to a higher degree shaped modern Europe but also with some relatively significant contributions to the cultural and political issues.

The economic life in Europe in the 19th century underwent an unprecedented change. There were terrific shifts in the production methods such as from steam to widespread use of electricity which substituted use of muscle, wind and water power in the manufacturing industry. The production methods that were based on fossil fuel (coal and oil) led to significant improvement in economies of scale which increased the size of the manufacturing companies. As a result of this, cottages and small shops were replaced with factories; there was introduced mass production of quality transitional and final products, and the general labour market became vast and varied (Chandler, 1980).

Due to the improved changes in production, the more significant cities started to evolve with the agricultural community becoming much smaller which further reduced the percentage of people that depended on farming as a means of living through direct or indirect trading of farm products. The changes in the methods of agriculture contributed much to such a shift because now less labour was needed. Furthermore, this is the reason why the city populations started to grow due to people abandon their farms in the rural area to work for higher wages in the factories and shops which were mostly located in the growing cities and smaller towns. Thus the rate of population growth in cities was directly proportional to the decrease in the number of farmers as it is evident in modern Europe.

With the continual emergence of industries, there was a consequent emergence of innovations in electricity, management, chemistry and in the field of engineering. For instance, it is due to economic transformations that the communication sector was improved which involved the emergence of telegraphs and telephones. In the transportation sector coaches, canal boats, and caravans were replaced by rail transport which was used to transport people and goods over land. The expansion of grids and advancement in electricity led to the introduction of electric lights, washing machines among others. Furthermore, by the end of the 19th century, the use of power both in the domestic electronic devices and in the production industry had become familiar. Other inventions of the century include photography, the automobile industry and the design of durable steel and concrete for the construction of commercial towers and production industries that were growing.

The additional proof of the fact that it is the economic aspect of Europe that has led to the transformation of Europe is the ownership of wealth (Smith & McCulloch, 1838). Earlier before the 19th century, those who were regarded as opulent were those who owned land, businesses and had political links. By the end of the 19 century, wealth was based on industrialisation, innovation, and specialisation. However, the initial wealth sources were still in existence. As a result of these rapid developments, the per capita income doubled towards the end of the 19th century, and as a result, the lifespans and population increased. These factors are even the most significant contributors to the health and population increase of modern Europe.

Industrialization was also fuelled by the introduction of the Public Policy Contributions in the nineteenth century. For instance, the policies brought to an end the medieval guild systems which undermined industrialisation. The plans also reduced tariffs and other trade inhibitions which promoted international trade in addition to the establishment of rails, electrical and communication systems after the grants of right of ways and direct subsidies. The introduction of public policy also secured reforms in the public education sector by the establishment of severally schools and colleges that were publicly supported thus leading to an improved labour force. It is common knowledge today that government structures are controlled by outlined policies, and these systems shaped the transformation of Europe by drafting various laws that governed trade which made it easy for enterprises to spring up and be formed with minimum risk to shareholders. These regulations were intended to expand industrialisation, empower it, make it more particular, and more productive.

The rapid economic transformations due to technological advances and new policymaking also led to the development of other aspects of social life such as political interest groups. For instance, the increase in income and wealth became a source of wealth for individual quests including politics. The new ways of work organisation and industries also lead to at least some shared economic interests. Additionally, the improved managerial techniques for organising large groups of workers and the supply of raw materials could also be used in the coordination of other mutual activities some of which had some political agendas. For example, the cost of managing and coordinating workers unions and production brokers was reduced due to the concentration of workers and corporations in the cities. Industrialization comes with various advantages such as the rise in collective action and fall of their costs. Modern Europe is so called because of the innovations that initially started in the 19th century. One cannot imagine of Europe without the production companies, the developed road network, communication systems among many others. Europe is significant to the world of today because of its economy which has been the progressive force behind its transformation.

Politics also played a significant role in modern Europe. The economic development led to the rise of a complex system which necessitated various laws to govern the mounting structures. There was an emergence of new political interest groups in the 19th century, and as a result, formal organisations were established with a policy agenda under the guidance of public policy (Maier, 1987). For instance, Olson (1989) asserts that coordinated groups overcame the issues of the free rider by developing a collection of exclusionary machines that restrict some of the advantages of collective action based on the degree and suitability of ones involvement.

Nonetheless, in the 19th century, there was further development, and well-organised interests were on the rise due to the constitutional reforms that were championed and implemented at the same time. The courts also developed and enforced new aspects of contract law and torts. The public policies on wealth increase were as a result of the constitutional reforms that were initiated during the 19th century. These groups existed within and without the government and thus have influenced the establishment and growth of systems and institutions. For instance, according to Verney (1957), most of the widespread support for the 1866 constitutional reforms in Sweden were as a result of the contributions of the economic liberals and those of the worker's unions and suffrage movements (Hunt, 2007). The manner in which conventional citizens think about policy issues is significantly affected by both the economic and ideological interest groups. This is true because most of their sources of information about the world are second hand and are based on reported accounts instead of first-hand knowledge. As a result, the evaluation of the individual about optional relational policies can easily be altered by manipulating the broadcasting of system related facts.

It is often the case that the change in political ideas is a reflection of the variations in the freely available information which is usually made available for a reason. For instance, the Swedish civic organisation that was organised in the 19th century, like the Free Church and tea-totaller crusade significantly employed persuasion to broadcast the objectives of their policy. Similarly, the liberals, socialists and Democrats who emerged later promoted their ideological interests using persuasion. The present trend in the political arena uses similar methods to push forward their agenda. Thus, the establishment of political alliances and later on political parties were on the rise towards the end of the century.

The establishment of these official national political parties and interest group alliances were due to the initial constitutional reforms easing the election law, freedom of expression, and demystifying the power of parliament comparable to the corresponding kings. Thus the present state of liberty and political structure in Europe can early be attributed to the transformation that began in the 19th century through constitutional reforms. Progressive legal changes that were later adopted peacefully led to the amendment of the current institutions instead of substituting them wholly. Starting in the late middle ages, Europe has had constitutional monarchies alongside parliaments (Smith & McCulloch, 1838). Most of the legislatures that exist today are just a modification of the medieval houses, for example, those of Sweden and U.K. an indirectly elected first chamber is found in the States General of the Netherlands.

On the other hand, official constitutional documents that require a king and parliament to create public policy jointly are distinctly common than the models of primaeval English and Sweden. Most of the other ancient countries improved their old political organisations, and other nations just made new parliamentary systems including a royal family. During the nineteenth century, these parliamentary systems slowly liberalised as power was transferred to the parliaments from their respective kings and as parliament membership was based on male voters than women. For example, in 1866 Sweden underwent necessary parliamentary and electoral amendments such as the bicameral parliament. These changes did not take place at once, but instead, they reflected political powers within the nations body politic, a scenario which is present in modern Europe. Thus, it has been the case that political parties directly determine constitutional reforms. Just like any other interest group in any organisation can be expected to push for policies and legal changes that promote the influence, safety and authority of the significant decision makers within the company. For instance, it is the partisan interests in Sweden, Netherlands and the U.K. have greatly pre-determined the series of reforms that resulted in the parliamentary system that exists today. In the 20th century, the implementation of the proportional representation gave excess powers to the political parties thus enabling them to have authority over the voting of their members. Therefore, it is clear that the p...

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