The Ascendancy of Europe

  • R. A. Buchanan


Physical expansion combined with rapid industrialisation to secure a period of world ascendancy for the nations of Europe. The period did not last long, as it was not achieved until the end of the eighteenth century and within 100 years other nations were learning the lessons of European success, which caused a relative decline in the influence of the states of Europe. Nevertheless, the dominance of Europe was not seriously challenged in the nineteenth century, and it is worth examining the qualities of this apotheosis in order to understand how the dynamic character of Western Civilisation was transferred to the scale of a world-wide phenomenon.


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  1. 1.
    John Locke’s most important political works were his two Treatises of Civil Government (1690) of which the second is the most relevant to this discussion.Google Scholar
  2. Montesquieu elaborated some of Locke’s ideas in L’esprit des lois (1748) and helped to give them general currency in the Europe and America of the eighteenth century.Google Scholar
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    A precise definition of ‘socialism’ has become impossible, because it has come to mean such different things to different people. But C. A. R. Crosland, who said that ‘socialism is about equality’, made a valiant effort at giving fresh insight into its meaning in The Future of Socialism (Cape, 1956; revised ed., 1964).Google Scholar
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    The complex controversies of the English Civil Wars have been much illuminated in recent years by the work of C. Hill. See, for instance, The World turned upside down (Temple Smith, 1972, Penguin, 1975 ). The experience of the ‘Levellers’ and other extreme left-wing’ groups anticipated to a remarkable degree developments in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.Google Scholar
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    E. G. Wakefield expressed his views on systematic colonisation in England and America (1833) and A view of the art of colonization (1849), and they were subjected to ironical treatment by Karl Marx in the final chapter of Capital vol. I (1867), ch. 33, ‘The modern theory of colonization’.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© R. A. Buchanan 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Buchanan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BathUK

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