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Political liberalism was first stabilized in Great Britain and the United States. Although the British avoided many of the difficulties that beset the Continent immediately following Napoleon Bonaparte's downfall in 1815, they had succumbed temporarily to the spirit of reaction. The Industrial Revolution brought to England considerable social discontent which was accentuated by the economic difficulties of the postwar years. Radical agitators insisted that evolutionary reform was not possible in an England where the masses were not genuinely represented in Parliament. When the malcontents adopted extremist measures — strikes, mass meetings, and riots — the propertied and politically effective classes supported a reactionary ministry. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section XIII: Political Liberalism and Nationalism, 1815-1871. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.