In 1764, Americans thought of themselves as British subjects of King George III. By 1788, they would, by their own decisions and actions, have made themselves the free citizens of a new republic forged in revolution and war.
What gave the Enlightenment its subversive, politically corrosive character was its critique of institutions and practices which appeared comparatively irrational in the light of modern thinking, argues Neil Faulkner.
Capitalist contradictions were most evident in the 18th century, when the wealth of the merchant-capitalist class of Britain’s port-cities was contrasted with the untold human misery of the slaves, ramping up the historical significance of racist ideology.
Neil Faulkner looks at the how the unresolved contradictions in English society and the attempt to establish Continental-style absolutism led to the execution of the king, and the establishment of a bourgeois republic.
The Reformation after 1521 tore apart church and state. Neil Faulkner looks at how the new social forces formed inside late medieval Europe helped undermine the thousand year domination of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Portuguese and Spanish overseas empires founded at the beginning of the 16th century were soon followed by Dutch, English, and French empires. Neil Faulkner looks at how the transformation of the world by European colonialism began.
Despite dominating western Europe in the 11th century by the 14th century Feudalism was faced with a crisis that generated a wave of revolutionary struggle. Neil Faulkner looks at the causes and outcomes.
The Crusades lasted 200 years and represented the most extreme expression of the futile violence inherent in western feudalism - a murderous attack on the Middle East by western feudal thugs under the banner of religion.
In Part 9 of A Marxist History of the World, we paused to discuss ‘how history works’. It would be useful to pause again to review some general lessons of the history of the ancient and medieval civilisations we have looked at since.