Reshaping Democracy: The 19th and Early 20th Century

Consider the political, social and economic forces at work both for and against republican and democratic change in England, France and the USA.


  • The complex and often conflicting issues involved in any system of governance. The reform Act of 1872. It’s limited but significant achievements.
  • Social and economic changes in Mid-Victorian Britain and their political impact. The growing acceptance of social reform in both the Whig/Liberal and Tory/Conservative Governments. The ministries of Peel, Disraeli and Gladstone. The Third Reform Act.
  • The Congress of Vienna and the Attempt to impose the old order on Europe. The Revolution of 1830 and the establishment of a Constitutional Monarchy under Louis Phillipe. The unrest of 1848 and the establishment of the Second Republic.
  • Louis Napoleon becomes President and then establishes the new Empire. The Paris Commune and the eventual establishment of the Third Republic.
  • The failure of reconstruction after the Civil War. The Gilded Age-The rise of the Corporations and Trusts. The questionable rulings of the Supreme Court up to the 1900’s.
  • The progressive movement of the early 20th Century. Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The New Deal. A new American democracy.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Have a greater awareness of the complex and sometimes conflicting issues involved in any system of governance.
  2. Recognize these historical issues still present at work in present-day political issues.
  3. Be aware of how mind- sets or world- views change from one period of history to another and understand the power of these often subconscious views can affect the political conversation.