6.3 The rise of -isms -T-

AGE 8. The Time of Citizens and Steam Engines
6.3 The rise of the -isms

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Slide 1: Tekstslide
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AGE 8. The Time of Citizens and Steam Engines
6.3 The rise of the -isms


Slide 1 - Tekstslide

What is this lesson about?
During the age of citizens and steam engines the political climate in Europe changed. After 1848, citizens had more influence in politics. Political ideologies were shaped and people united in parties. Socialists were committed to improving the situation of workers, whereas liberals strived for freedom and a small government. Confessionalists wanted to govern the country according to the rules in the bible, and feminists fought for equal rights for women.

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

What you learn (to do)

  1. Why did the Netherlands become a monarchy again in 1815?
  2. Why did a new revolution start in 1848 and what did the revolutionaries demand?
  3. What were the consequences of this revolution for the Netherlands?
  4. What is the difference between political views such as socialism, liberalism, confessionalism and feminism?

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

people in this lesson
Aletta Jacobs
king Willem II
king Willem I
Johan Rudolph Thorbecke
Abraham Kuyper

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Word Duty


Constitutional reform: an adjustment to the constitution
Conservative: someone who thinks that tradition is important; change is opposed
Progressive: someone who thinks change is important in a society
Liberalism: political philosophy in which freedom of the individual is most important
Government: the executive branch of power: the prime ministers and ministers (= cabinet).
Parliament: the legislative branch of power: the elected peoples' representatives, seated in the Eerste and Tweede Kamer der Staten Generaal.
Confessionalism: political philosophy in which laws in a country should be based on religion
Political party: a group of people with the same political ideas that work together to win elections and govern a country
Feminism: a political philosophy based on equal rights for women
Passive vote right: the right to be elected and to participate in government
Active vote right: the right to vote during political elections

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

Important dates in this lesson:

1815: Peace Conference of Vienna

1830: Belgium declares itself independent from the Netherlands

1848: Revolution Year

Slide 6 - Tekstslide


After Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, the winners met at the Conference of Vienna. They decided to restore the old order and map of Europe. Enlightened reforms of the French revolution were reversed and kings were put back on their thrones. One of the plans was to form a strong buffer state between England and France. A member of the Nassau family was asked to rule this area that encompasses modern-day Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

  1. write down the title of this Lesson
  2. write down the heading of this text (and keep doing that with all the texts after this.)
  3. Which two plans did the victors of Napoleon have for Europe?
  4. What was their plan for the Netherlands?

Battle of Waterloo, 1815. The French army of Napoleon was eventually defeated by the British army under the command of the duke of Wellington. The British were helped by their Dutch and German allies.

Slide 7 - Tekstslide

The kingdom of Holland

Willem Frederik, prince of Orange and son of former stadtholder Willem V, was an ambitious man. He supported the idea and could not wait to rule this newly formed Kingdom of the Netherlands. When Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo he promptly crowned himself king Willem I. His son, the later king Willem II, even fought at the battle of Waterloo.
But the differences in the kingdom were huge. It soon became clear that the southern provinces did not feel connected to the north. In the south they spoke French, they were Catholic and were leaders in industrial production. The north was focused on trade. The south also did not like the fact that there were more representatives of the north in the government.
In 1830, it came to a revolt after visitors saw the play called: La Muette de Portici. King Willem I waged a short war: but although he resisted stubbornly, he could not stop Belgium from becoming independent.

  1. Who became king of the Netherlands in 1815?
  2. Write down 3 differences between the northern and southern provinces. (You can make a simple schematic)
  3. What happened in 1830?

The kingdom of the Netherlands, 1815 - 1830. The green section is Belgium that declared itself independent in 1830.

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

The revolution of 1848
King Willem I never overcame Belgian independence. He abdicated in 1840 and his son succeeded him.
King Willem II also had to deal with problems during his reign. In 1848, angry mobs filled the streets of European cities. Everywhere the rioters demanded constitutional reform in which their rights were defended and which decreased the king’s power. In France they succeeded and the country became a republic for the second time. The ghost of revolution moved to haunt Italy, Germany and other European countries. It was only a matter of time until the revolutionary fire would spread to the Netherlands.
Willem II had always been a conservative. This means that he opposed change and that he wanted to keep everything as it was. He had stated that he would rather face the gallows than to give up his power. But when he faced a wave of criticism in 1848, he had to make a serious decision: would he risk revolution or give up almost all of his power?

  1. What happened in 1848?
  2. What did the revolutionaries demand?
  3. How did king Willem II feel about this new revolution? Why was he opposed to any change?
  4. What dilemma did he face?

Paris workers defend a barricade in Rue Soufflot, June 1848, painted by Horace Vernet
Iconic picture of the 1848 revolution in Berlin. Unknown painter

Slide 9 - Tekstslide

A constitutional reform

Willem II gave in to his fears and it is said that he changed from a conservative to a liberal in just one night. But in 1848, many people in the Netherlands supported a more progressive view of politics and they demanded change.
Out of fear of a revolution, King Willem II agreed to sign a new constitution. In this document he agreed that from that moment his power drastically decreased. The responsibility of governing power went to the ministers, and the Second Chamber of the States-General was directly chosen from the electorate. It has to be said that just a small group of men were allowed to vote, only 7.3 percent of the male population that was old enough and had enough money. This was the case until 1917, when all men in the Netherlands received the right to vote.

"Tweede Kamer" in 1848. The king's throne is still present inside the Tweede kamer.
  1. Why did Willem II agree to a new constitution in 1848?
  2. How did political power change with the new constitution?
  3. Who belonged to the electorate in 1848?
  4. When and in what way did this change?

Slide 10 - Tekstslide


The new constitution was written by the liberal politician Johan Rudolph Thorbecke. Within liberalism it is believed that freedom of the individual leads to a better society. The government should not make too many rules and only play a small role in the lives of people. Liberals fought for the separation of church and state, and also for the separation of power between the government, judges and parliament; rulings that are commonly accepted now in our democracy. The highest power should be to the citizens, who need to have the right to vote. In order to make the voiting fair, there should be freedom of opinion and freedom of the press.

  1. Why is Thorbecke a famous historical person?
  2. Try to write down the four principles of liberals in your own words
  3. Who has the highest power, according to the liberals?
  4. Which two conditions are important if you want to have fair elections?

Johan Rudolf Thorbecke, painted by Johan Heinrich Neuman - 1852 -

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

Liberals also find it important that everybody is equal under the law. This does not mean that in daily life everybody is equal, because liberals do not agree with the spreading of wealth, as do socialists. Liberals believe that competition leads to economic growth. This is the opposite of socialism. Socialists believe that the weak of the society should not be left to take care of themselves. They need to be protected by the government, an idea liberals oppose. As you can imagine, most factory owners were liberals and workers were socialists.

  1. In what way are people equal according to liberals?
  2. In what way do people NOT need to be equal according to liberals?
  3. Explain how liberals and socialists oppose each other on the matter of how much the government must interfere in the economy. (also use the previous slide for this)
  4. Who would most likely vote for who in an election?
Liberal election pamphlet, 1946
socialist election pamphlet, 1919 / 20. SDAP = Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij. In 1946 the name changed into PvdA: Partij van de Arbeid.

Slide 12 - Tekstslide


Another political view was confessionalism. Confessionalists are Christians that think that the country should be ruled from a religious viewpoint. They believe that God has a plan for the world and this plan should be followed to rule the country. In the Netherlands, the protestant-reformed Abraham Kuyper was the most important politician between 1874 until the end of his life in 1920. He was the founder of the first political party in the Netherlands: the ARP, the Anti Revolutionaire Partij.
The main goal of the confessionalists was to get funding for their own schools, that of course were religion-orientated. The liberals were in favour of good education for children, however without a religious background. So the confessionalists struck a deal with the socialists: the confessionalists agreed to help the socialists win voting rights and in return, the confessionalists got funding for their special schools. Under the leadership of Kuyper, the ARP and the reformed church became very influential.

  1. Explain confessionalism (in your own words maybe?)
  2. Who was Abraham Kuyper?
  3. What did the ARP want? 
  4. The ARP struck a deal with the socialists. What did the socialists get?

Election poster of the ARP in 1929. In 1973 the ARP merged with two other confessional parties into the CDA (Christen Democratisch Appel).

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

Feminism (I)

It was the year 1871 when the female student Aletta Jacobs was proud to hear that she would be the first woman to be allowed to study at university. Aletta got this special permission from minister Thorbecke himself and in 1878 she earned her diploma and became the first female doctor in the Netherlands. She dedicated her knowledge and skills to increasing the chances for women to study and to better healthcare. Aletta started to work in a poor neighbourhood in Amsterdam, held free consultations and introduced contraceptives. She is mostly known for her efforts for woman’s rights.

  1. Why is Aletta Jacobs a famous historical person?
  2. What did she fight for?

The main board of the "Vereeniging voor Vrouwenkiesrecht" with the first female doctor in the Netherlands, Aletta Jacobs, ca 1915

Slide 14 - Tekstslide

Feminism II

The political ideology that belongs to this view is called feminism. Feminists believe that men and women are equal, and so they should have the same rights, such as the right to vote. It was not until 1917 that women in the Netherlands had passive vote rights, which meant that they could be elected and they could participate in the government. In England, women got the right to vote in 1918 and in the Netherlands women got this active vote right in 1919. Feminists still fight for woman’s rights all over the world, such as the right to earn equal salaries.

  1. What is feminism?
  2. How were feminists called in Britain?
  3. When did women get active vote right in the Netherlands?

Feminists in Great Britain were called Suffragettes. These women in Britain used several means in their battle such as demonstrations, hunger strikes and even more militant actions such as making fires or chaining themselves to railroads.
Pictures: A suffragette campaigns for women's vote in 1908, left and right, police officers arrest a suffragette.

Slide 15 - Tekstslide


Slide 16 - Tekstslide