The Long 19th Century: European History from 1789 to 1917

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A serious presentation of a complicated period. This course offers a very competent discussion of a very complicated period of history taking place in a part of the world undergoing rapid and very fundamental change, impacting the totally of humankind. Although at times given to overly broad declarations not accompanied by clear supportive examples, the listener can usually follow the flow of the lecturer's commentary and of the events being described. It is possible that this course of learning, featuring "only" 36 "encounters", might have been enhanced if it were allotted 48 "encounters", thus allowing more time for supportive examples and a more in depth discussion of the most "actions" during the period of 1789 to 1917.
Date published: 2020-09-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from His scholarship is fine, but his delivery is so odd and disjointed as to be an intolerable distraction. I stopped auditing it for that reason--it simply became too difficult to follow!
Date published: 2020-08-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from European History 1789 to 1917 I was disappointed in this course. Although I recognise that Professor Weiner had an enormous, complicated subject to cover, I found his presentation disorganised and difficult to follow. He seemed to repeat himself frequently, and jumped from subject to subject, without completing each. He did not follow a chronological dateline, and spent a number of lectures on dates outside the title range. Although no-one can condone the treatment of Jews throughout much of history, the professor appeared to have an axe to grind about the treatment of Jews and women, spending half of one lecture on the treatment of Jews from Roman times. There were many expressions of his personal views - enough to make me question a lot of the facts that he stated. He called the 19th century a time of peace, because the wars had only been small and short! Just because a war does not compare to the slaughter of WW1 does not make it insignificant. I found his lecturing style to be somewhat monotonous, and I'm sure I missed a lot of facts because I found it hard to focus on the subject he was discussing. I have to admit that my main interest in in the Middle Ages, but it has always intrigued me how leaders could take so many people into the carnage of both world wars and, after Professor Weiner's course, I feel I am no nearer understanding the causes of WW1 than I was before I started this course.
Date published: 2020-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Series This is an outstanding course. There are detractors who may balk at the complexity of the material. It is necessarily a complex subject given the magnitude of change and the number of pivotal players involved. Professor Weiner does a marvelous job at making it as understandable and engaging as possible. To my mind there is hardly a wasted word. There were many important epiphanies for me regarding the difficult transition from monarchy and aristocracy to democracy and socialism. There is quite a bit to observe about human nature and ambition. There is much to learn about how we arrived at where we are today. Many parallels as well that I see in our current world situation with the internet revolution catalyzing world change as did the industrial revolution. This is a great course for those looking to understand how Europe evolved from centuries of feudalism and all its trappings to the Europe and world that we know today.
Date published: 2020-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth the Time I wasn't sure the presenter would be as good as he turned out to be for this involved subject and so many lessons. The professor was very well prepared. I especially appreciated the last 7 lectures, I never learned about this time in history in such detail and clarity. A+ work. Thank you
Date published: 2020-04-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lot of material fascinating time but.. A thorough presentation, wish professor more resisted the urge to be the show rather than reveal the information.offers a lot of perspective along with plenty of his own ideas, not all balance and even. The song song tones were most distracting.
Date published: 2020-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb overview of a complex era I am bout two thirds through the course and more I listen to prof Robert I. Weiner's interpretation of the very convoluted European history in the 19th century, more I appreciate his grasp of it. He does not deny his p[personal biases, inevitable for any diligent student of the past, and is able to offer a synthesis as well as analysis. Inevitably, and by his own admission, he has to skip over or only superficially touch on some of the events and histories of many of smaller countries. Important as they were for their citizens, they played only second violins on the grand stage of the European history. I recommend this course to anyone looking for an overview by an experienced pedagogue, excellent lecturer and a passionate historian with solid knowledge.
Date published: 2020-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough, Logical, and Enlightening When I was taking teacher training in the early 1970s, one of my mentors shared with me an idea from the work of George Dennison to the effect that one can distinguish a mere expert from a true philosopher because the mere expert tends to maintain the very apartness of his or her expertise, while the language and the manner of the philosopher draw us all close and invite us to be philosophers, too. Dr. Robert I. Weiner clearly ranks as a true philosopher, genuinely intent on giving his students full access to every bit of his knowledge, insights and critical-thinking abilities. This course is more than a survey of the who, what, and when of nineteenth-century history. Ample in-depth analysis of the why behind events convinces me that this series would not be out of place as a graduate course, even though I realize that Dr. Weiner’s long teaching career has been in an undergraduate college. One clue that the professor has high expectations for us is that his carefully designed guidebook lists a wealth of “Essential Readings,” not just those simply “Recommended” or “Suggested.” Another clue is that the nineteenth century alone receives here thirty-six full, rich lectures. Regardless of what one may choose to study beyond viewing the DVDs, I think those who order the course will find themselves motivated to pay very close attention. Additional highlights of the course include a logical rationale for studying the longer-than-one-century 1789–1917 block of time rather than only the years 1801–1900, a plan in each segment of the course for proceeding from general overview to closer examination of national histories and key incidents, lectures that are a blend of the carefully scripted and the spontaneous, just the right amount of review lecture-to-lecture, a non-distracting studio setting, and frequent helpful analogies. Dr. Weiner frankly admits that neither he nor any other historian can claim to be entirely free of personal biases. I’m sure that is why he encourages students to read from varied source documents and commentaries on the era under discussion. After my own training in laboratory sciences, I recognize and approve of Dr. Weiner’s attitude—how, like a scientist, he states with confidence his own well-considered hypotheses, still hoping and expecting future scholars to add to and even improve upon his ideas. I was sorry when the course came to an end. This thoughtful and passionate professor has left me feeling BOTH satisfied and unsatisfied—satisfied that I learned a lot, but unsatisfied in the sense that I obviously ought to do more reading and some serious thinking for myself about the subject at hand. Sincere thanks to Dr. Weiner for this extremely valuable and stimulating course!
Date published: 2020-03-19
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The Long 19th Century
1: The Long 19th Century

This lecture discusses the reasons for extending the "century" to include the points in time when the masses and modern nationalism first presented themselves in Europe's most powerful country to the collapse of the 19th-century Eurocentric world order....

34 min
The Legacy of the Past-The Old Regime
2: The Legacy of the Past-The Old Regime

What was Europe like on the eve of the French Revolution? We discuss how the structures of a changing medieval society were further challenged by economic, social, and cultural forces, even before the more profound agrarian and industrial revolutions to come....

30 min
The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848
3: The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848

This lecture focuses on the landmark analyses of mid-20th century Marxist historian Eric J. Hobsbawm to explain how the French and Industrial Revolutions served as midwives to modern European history and, via the umbilical cord of European imperialism, modern world history....

30 min
The French Revolution
4: The French Revolution

Although scholars debate the causes of the French Revolution, all agree that it helped determine the political vocabulary, expectations, and myths of 19th-century Europe as it persisted for at least 10 years in Europe's most powerful state, spreading far and wide "in the knapsacks of French soldiers."...

30 min
The Napoleonic Era, 1799-1815
5: The Napoleonic Era, 1799-1815

An adventurer of enormous talents and capacity for work and intrigue, Napoleon Bonaparte dominates Europe's historical imagination like no one until Adolf Hitler, representing much that was best in his era, even though his legacy is marred by his monumental ego and penchant for conquest....

30 min
The First Industrial Revolution, 1760-1850
6: The First Industrial Revolution, 1760-1850

The Industrial Revolution becomes the main force propelling Europe's modernization and urbanization, gradually transforming much of Britain's urban landscape over several generations until by 1850 it is the workshop of the world, with a greater productivity than the rest of Europe combined....

30 min
The Era of Metternich, 1815-1848
7: The Era of Metternich, 1815-1848

We examine an era characterized by tensions between the forces of order and the forces of change. Though the former-represented by Austrian Prince Clemens von Metternich-generally dominates, more liberal, constitutional worlds emerge in Britain and in France, though by far different means....

30 min
The Revolutions of 1848
8: The Revolutions of 1848

Sparked by an "unintended" revolution in Paris, outbreaks involving middle class elements, workers, and artisans erupt in urban areas in the Germanic states, the Austrian Empire, and the Italian states, leading to a temporary collapse of established authority and hasty concessions....

31 min
Europe, 1850-1871-An Overview
9: Europe, 1850-1871-An Overview

Dashed expectations combine with expanding urban industrial civilization to usher in a new age of realpolitik and a new balance of power. Though an era of remarkable scientific, economic, and urban advancement, it is also marked by nationalist and class-based antagonism, Social Darwinism, and "modern" racist thought....

31 min
The Crimean War, 1853-1856
10: The Crimean War, 1853-1856

This lecture examines what is sometimes considered the most senseless of Europe's 19th-century wars-a conflict that makes possible the structural changes Europe will experience from the late 1850s through the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871....

30 min
From Napoleon to Napoleon-France, 1815-1852
11: From Napoleon to Napoleon-France, 1815-1852

More than the American Revolution, the French Revolution left a legacy of debris-disputed claims of legitimacy, disputed rights, and grievances. This lecture examines the tumultuous era between the defeat of Napoleon and the rise of his fascinating and enigmatic nephew, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte....

30 min
Napoleon III-An Evaluation
12: Napoleon III-An Evaluation

Napoleon III faced the daunting task of establishing legitimacy and creating a liberal, constitutional monarchy in a bitterly divided France and a Europe threatened by his name. Ruling longer than any 19th-century French monarch, Napoleon III's legacy is marred by France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War....

30 min
Italy on the Eve-An Overview
13: Italy on the Eve-An Overview

The final structure of the Italian nation, achieved when Italy occupied Rome in 1870, was far from what the major players had anticipated. This lecture paves the way for understanding the disappointing results of "unification" by analyzing the plight of Italy in 1848....

31 min
Cavour and Napoleon III-"Unifying" Italy
14: Cavour and Napoleon III-"Unifying" Italy

The developments that set "unification" into motion are instigated by Piedmontese minister Count Camillo di Cavour and Napoleon III. But Cavour's death leaves the final process of creating the new nation to lesser talents, with problematic results....

31 min
Germany on the Eve
15: Germany on the Eve

This lecture examines the situation before the forging of the German Empire by the powerful Prussian statesman, Otto Von Bismarck-a situation even more complex than that faced by Italy....

30 min
Age of Bismarck-Creating the German Empire
16: Age of Bismarck-Creating the German Empire

A believer in absolutist power and aristocratic ascendancy, Bismarck masters the forces of the age, using military success, nationalist pride, economic/industrial expansion, and astute political manipulation to create a Prussian-dominated German Empire he would guide until his dismissal in 1890, a victim of the irresponsible structure he had created....

31 min
The British Way
17: The British Way

This lecture examines how Great Britain's political, economic, and social structure allowed it to follow a unique path to political and economic modernization, weathering many of the storms afflicting other great powers-though not always without internal issues....

31 min
The Russian Experience, 1789-1881
18: The Russian Experience, 1789-1881

Russia begins the "long 19th century" with little stimuli for modernization. It is oversized and still expanding, overwhelmingly agrarian with primitive transportation and communication systems, and dominated by a divine right absolutist monarchy that is allied with a privileged aristocracy. This lecture examines Russia's transition....

30 min
The Apogee of Europe, 1870-1914
19: The Apogee of Europe, 1870-1914

During an age of massive change and material growth, there are crucial shifts in emphasis: nationalism, Social Darwinism, racism, industrialism, European imperialism, a decline in the "liberal" spirit. We also discuss the rise of modernist philosophies exemplified by such greats as Nietzsche, Freud, Bergson, and Sorel....

30 min
The Industrialization of Europe
20: The Industrialization of Europe

The Second Industrial Revolution brings about greater change than any prior era. New forms of power, technology, and business organization, along with the possibilities brought by revolutions in transportation, communications, and education, make this transformation synonymous with urban civilization....

31 min
The Socialist Response
21: The Socialist Response

Although industrial, urban civilization brings growing democratization and middle-class opportunity, it is also an era of expanding Socialist visions and unionism. The modern urban proletariat is now real, recognized even by Bismarck. This lecture examines the impact of this new reality....

31 min
The Longest Hatred-European Anti-Semitism
22: The Longest Hatred-European Anti-Semitism

This lecture examines what one historian has called "the longest hatred" a deeply embedded and changing element of Europe's culture, especially at the end of the 19th century, when it developed into new political and racial forms, notably in Central and Western Europe....

31 min
England, 1868-1914-Liberalism to Democracy
23: England, 1868-1914-Liberalism to Democracy

Although England's industrial dominance is eclipsed by Germany and the United States on the eve of World War I, and its extended empire has become a source of strain as well as pride, the English response to industrial society is still more successful than that of the other European powers....

30 min
The Third Republic-France, 1870-1914
24: The Third Republic-France, 1870-1914

Emerging from the Franco-Prussian War and the trauma of a civil war, the Third Republic struggles to consolidate itself and then cope with a progressively harsher series of crises that culminate in the Dreyfus Affair, an event so profound it is sometimes called simply "The Affair."...

31 min
Bismarckian and Wilhelminian Germany
25: Bismarckian and Wilhelminian Germany

Bismarck's domestic policies attempt every solution besides sharing real power. When he is fired by the brash new kaiser, the problematic forces Bismarck had been able to monitor-militarism, imperialism, and more extreme and racialist nationalism-begin to spiral out of control....

31 min
Flawed States-Austria-Hungary and Italy
26: Flawed States-Austria-Hungary and Italy

Although the Austro-Hungarian Empire and flawed Italian state did not have much in common, both were examples of "failed" nation-states at the end of the century. This lecture examines the reasons why, and the conditions in both nations during the formative years of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini....

30 min
Russia, Turkey, and the Balkans
27: Russia, Turkey, and the Balkans

This lecture examines the circumstances that ultimately lead Russia to humiliating defeat and the near-overthrow of the regime during the Russo-Japanese War, and how this, in turn, leads nationalists to focus their attention on the Balkans, where the seeds of disaster are planted....

30 min
Bismarck Dominates Europe, 1870-1890
28: Bismarck Dominates Europe, 1870-1890

This lecture examines Bismarck's dominance of Europe's diplomatic agenda as he constructs a complex system of defensive alliances that prove a dangerous legacy for later German leaders lacking in his genius, sense of proportion, and respect for the balance of power....

31 min
The "New" Imperialism
29: The "New" Imperialism

European imperialism from the 1880s until about 1905 is remarkable for its intensity, tone, scope, and impact. It is spurred on, sometimes haphazardly, by national pride, Social Darwinian and racial assumptions, the search for economic growth and strategic security, Christian conscience, human adventure, and greed....

30 min
The Diplomacy of Imperialism, 1890-1907
30: The Diplomacy of Imperialism, 1890-1907

This lecture examines the eventual unraveling of the Bismarckian system of alliances after his dismissal by Kaiser Wilhelm, culminating in the realization of Bismarck's worst nightmare: Germany surrounded by a number of powerful countries and tightly tied to an unstable Austria-Hungary....

31 min
Europe in Crisis, 1908-1914-Outbreak of War
31: Europe in Crisis, 1908-1914-Outbreak of War

A complex web of events, alliances, and crises move Europe closer to the brink of war. Eventually all of the powers focus on diplomatic and military preparedness, and patience is in short supply....

30 min
The Origins of World War I
32: The Origins of World War I

One of the most meticulously studied topics in all of modern history: the causes of World War I. This lecture examines how a seemingly local conflict could degenerate into the greatest tragedy in modern European history....

31 min
The Great War-A Military Overview
33: The Great War-A Military Overview

This lecture looks at the immediate and long-term impact of the war-the prism through which most of the 20th century passed-with emphasis on the critical battles and military decisions that determined its outcome and best represent its nature and impact....

31 min
The Home Front During Total War
34: The Home Front During Total War

Once the First Battle of the Marne determined that Germany would not win World War I quickly, and combatants realized the war would consume greater quantities of resources than imaginable, the "war behind the war" became as decisive as the one on battlefield, leaving an indelible imprint on the postwar generation....

31 min
The Impact of World War I-New World Disorder
35: The Impact of World War I-New World Disorder

Gauging the impact of World War I is difficult: It accelerated profound and global changes, many of which are still "in process" today. World War I was to the 20th century what the French and Industrial Revolutions were to the 19th....

31 min
Looking Back, Thinking Ahead
36: Looking Back, Thinking Ahead

This lecture summarizes the impact of the "long 19th century." It was, despite its tragedies, a time of progress and change, and brought to fruition many of the promises and hopes of both the French and Industrial Revolutions....

31 min
Robert I. Weiner

Understanding the past on some meaningful level can give additional meaning to our lives-a sense of balance and perspective that facilitates civilized behavior, the ability to empathize and not to take ourselves too seriously.


Rutgers University


Lafayette College

About Robert I. Weiner

Dr. Robert I. Weiner is the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Professor of History at Lafayette College. He earned his B.A. from Temple University and a Hebrew teaching certificate from Gratz Hebrew College. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Since joining the faculty of Lafayette College in 1969, Professor Weiner has taught a wide range of courses in the fields of Modern European History and Modern Jewish History. He also serves as a Jewish chaplain and was Director of Contemporary Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College for eight years. Dr. Weiner is an award-winning teacher. He received six Student Government Awards for Superior Teaching and several institutional awards for teaching, service, and leadership, including the Lafayette College Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award and the James Lennertz Award for Teaching and Mentoring. Professor Weiner has published a number of articles and commentaries on both Modern European History and Modern Jewish History.

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