18th Century Warfare: Crash Course European History #20

18th Century Warfare: Crash Course European History #20


Hi I’m John Green and this is Crash Course
European History. Last time, we looked at how the monarchs did–and
didn’t–incorporate the ideas of the Enlightenment into their domestic policies. Today, we’ll look outward to how the 18th
century European powers engaged with each other and beyond Europe–which is to say that
warfare is coming. Or, continuing, I suppose, because it never
really left town. [Intro]
So, population was rising in 18th century Europe and despite an extremely uneven distribution
of wealth and lots of wartime casualties, many people were leading better lives. For example, inventories of French people’s
possessions show that in 1700 women owned an average of two garments generally in solid
black or brown; in 1800 that number was five garments of more
varied, even bright colors. Now, this may seem like minor progress, but
here’s another way of thinking about it: The average number of garments owned by people
living in France rose by more in a hundred years than it had in the previous hundred
thousand. By the way, did that dress look gold to you,
or blue? And do you even remember that meme? Probably not. Oh god, I’m so old. I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms
of my trousers rolled. That’s an even older meme. At any rate, we associate these and many other
improving conditions in Europe with what is called “modernity”—an idea combining
improvement and novelty that we will examine later in the series. But when it came to warfare, Europeans were
still battling it out among themselves on the continent and on the seas–and always
at great cost. The 18th century opened with wars of the Spanish,
Polish, and Austrian successions, all of which were just what their names suggest: fights
over who was going to become king or queen amidst a dispute over rulership—disputes
not unlike the one at the heart of the Hundred Years War. And so in that sense, progress had been . . . minimal. As far as wars between states, the dominant
idea in foreign relations was still to grab as much territory as possible from foreign
kingdoms. Because only by making your kingdom bigger
could you also make it richer. So for instance as Austria fought with itself
during its war of succession over whether a woman, Maria Theresa, should be allowed
to ascend to the Habsburg throne, Frederick the Great of neighboring Prussia quickly mobilized
his army and seized Silesia from the Habsburgs. When I read the phrase, “seized Silesia”
it rolled right off the tongue of my mind, but man. Saying it is a completely different matter. At any rate, Maria Theresa’s rulership survived,
but Habsburg control of Silesia did not. Because of economic globalization, still other
wars aimed at controlling trade routes and productive territory around the world. For that reason sometimes a cluster of wars
in the middle of the eighteenth century has been called a “world war” or the Great
War for Empire. Like, it was a world war, but unfortunately
we already have a World War I, so we’re in a bit of a tight spot, name-wise. But these wars did occur across truly global
battlefields and oceans. They included wars between the British and
local Native American peoples (sometimes called the first and second Anglo-Indian Wars), and
also the French and Indian War in North America. and there was also the Seven Years War, which
was fought partly within Europe, but there were also battles between Britain and its
rivals—most notably France and Spain—in the Caribbean, the Philippines, and India. In this complicated and many-tentacled set
of wars—or arguably a single war in many different theaters—the French and British
were ultimately fighting over who would be the dominant European force in the wider world. Spain was a somewhat smaller player, fighting
to protect its holdings in the Caribbean and the Philippines. Native people around the world were enlisted
in these struggles, and local peoples changed sides often as their interests shifted, and
in the end trusted none of the Europeans, who pitted native peoples against each other
and also were not known for keeping their promises. Simultaneously the Russians were waging war
against the Ottomans in eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. In Russia, like in the other European kingdoms,
the wars’ costs were passed on mostly to ordinary people, who faced more efficient
and demanding tax collection. Additionally, central governments were disrupting
local traditions and practices–for instance, local traditions related to the consumption
of alcohol were disrupted in Russia by HUGE increases in taxes on alcohol. Did the center of the world just open? Is my favorite book, The Bear and the Dragon
in there? Ah, The Bear and the Dragon by Tom Clancy. I’ve never actually read it, but inside
my copy of the bear and the dragon is this. So in 18th century Russia, this huge tax on
alcohol eventually funded 22% of the empire’s total budget. And there were other disruptions as well,
arguably more important ones, including the conversion of some free peasants into serfs. Local people fought back in a variety of ways. The first of the extensive uprisings against
the efficient and “enlightened” taxation to pay for warfare was the Pugachev Rebellion. It was led by former Cossack and Russian army
deserter Emile Pugachev. He managed to persuade rural Russians that
he was in fact Peter III, husband of Catherine II. Now, Peter had been assassinated in 1762 within
months of his accession to power, most likely at Catherine’s command (and possibly by
her lover). So given that Russian history really was playing
out like a soap opera, it didn’t seem impossible that the murdered Czar had been hiding out
all along as a Russian army deserter named Emile. Pugachev claimed to have wandered poor and
alone like Jesus until he could become the “Tsar Redeemer.” And as Peter III, Pugachev created quite the
following. He had Russian clergy and officials—both
high and low—issue a series of measures relieving serfs of their burdens. Pugachev also roused the Cossacks, who were
fearful of being forced into the army and losing their freedom. He confirmed their rights and liberties and
he granted everyone permission to sport beards, which, as you may recall, Peter I had outlawed. And some three million Russians followed Pugachev
until he was captured in 1774, then gruesomely tortured and executed in January 1775. After that, Catherine again tightened the
nobility’s grip on serfs. Hard on the heels of Pugachev’s uprising,
the American Revolution erupted over a series of taxes Britain imposed on its thirteen colonies
in North America—again to pay the costs of imperial warfare. Now, the British government felt that the
expense it had incurred in defeating the French and Native Americans in the French and Indian
War should be paid by the colonists who’d profited from the protection. But in America, we don’t stand for that
kind of reasoning! There were some other things going on. The royal government had also closed off westward
expansion at the Allegheny Mountains, which in effect eradicated the property rights of
people like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington who claimed land there. And King George agreed with his advisors that
the Americans were rough, stupid, and ineffective, especially as miltary people. So to keep the Native Americans under control,
a standing army of British soldiers should be stationed on the North American continent
and financed by the colonists. So if history is all about shifting perspectives,
we’re gonna shift perspectives quickly here. From the british perspective, American colonists
were taxed 1 shilling for every 26 paid by a homeland Briton, and that seemed like a
pretty good deal. But from the perspective of the North American
colonists, they did not have the rights of other Englishmen, including the right not
to be taxed without representation. Colonists created a Declaration of Independence,
which was issued in 1776. The British the sent additional troops, and
soon war erupted. Those who wanted independence harassed, beat
up, murdered and destroyed the property of the loyalists, who responded in kind. The rebels were greatly aided by the Spanish
and French who sent decisive aid in the form of ships and military personnel. And besides, the British had other concerns,
including preserving their far more lucrative sugar islands in the Caribbean, as well as
their holdings in India, and in Canada. Although comparatively insignificant at the
time, the newly independent colonies that became the United States established a representative
form of government with a written constitution that featured many Enlightenment principles. Now, it was hardly a true democracy, as only
a minority had any legal say or rights and the Constitution itself enshrined slavery. But it also definitely wasn’t a monarchy. Anyway, this little country would eventually
grow big enough for us to make an entire Crash Course about it. Meanwhile, the defeated loyalists, including
slaves who had been promised their freedom in return for fighting for the crown, fled
to Canada and other parts of the world. And for the record, they rarely received the
financial support that the British had promised them for their faithful assistance. Spain also saw uprisings against the reforms
of the enlightened monarchs, though grievances had been piling up even before efficient and
tax-heavy policies were put in place. Also, Spain lost Manila in the Philippines
to the British, and they lost Florida, which, you know, not exactly a tragedy. I am a Floridan so I am allowed to make that
joke. And, that’s not fair. Florida is lovely. It really is the best place in the United
States to run from your past mistakes, straight into new ones. But back to Spain. So, across the occupied Spanish lands in the
Western Hemisphere, local people found ways to express their discontent with colonial
oppression, at times violently protesting injustices by imperial officials or overbearing
behavior by priests. Religious activists claimed that the Spanish
were false gods; in the former Incan lands, several Incans actively opposed the Spanish
government in a concerted uprising that began in 1742, but was soon defeated. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. 1. In 1780, another uprising battling Spanish
rule broke out in the Andes. 2. Inca Tupac Ameru led a powerful rebellion
against Spanish authorities in an attempt to restore the former Incan empire 3. and to liberate local people from the increased
Spanish demands for labor and taxes. 4. His wife Michaela Bastidas, who was part Incan, 5. was operational manager and chief enforcer
of loyalty to her husband’s uprising. 6. In that role she was especially brutal. 7. She threatened slackers, even her husband,
whom she chastised for following losing strategies. 8. And she ensured that the revolt’s soldiers
were supplied with arms and food and that they were paid 9. —concerns that Tupac Ameru seemed to
forget sometimes. 10. Alongside Bastidas, who mostly directed military
activity, 11. entire units of women soldiers took to the
battlefields in several parts of the empire, building on traditions of active resistance. 12. Spanish soldiers noticed them for their intense
commitment to victory in battle, 13. calling them “supermasculine” and one
fighter in particular “as bloody a butcher as her brother.” 14. The rebellion was put down with focused determination
and its leaders were eventually captured. 15. In 1781, the Spanish colonial government (in
present day Peru) had Michaela Bastidas dragged bound hand and foot to her execution, garroted,
then hanged; 16. finally they cut her body to pieces with her
head posted on a pike for all to see. 17. Which, unfortunately is not the last time
we’re going to be talking about heads on pikes in Crash Course European History. 18. Her husband’s execution and mutilation followed
shortly thereafter. Thanks Thought Bubble. Some 100,000 people died in the uprisings
in the Spanish empire—that is, around ten percent of the native population in all of
Spain’s South American holdings. The Spanish imperial government prevailed
whereas the British did not for a number of reasons. For one, the Spanish administration was less
dispersed in its efforts and had seen how Britain suffered because it was fighting all
around the world. Also, Spain had also begun the process of
integrating creoles—people of Spanish descent born in the colonies—into the officer corps
of the Spanish imperial armies. Professional training, access to military
schools and military privileges all served to build loyalty to Spain. And that was essentially the opposite of British
treatment and attitudes towards North American colonials. Britain saw its North American colonials as,
like, useless at fighting and hopeless as officers. and so the Spanish Empire in the Americas
survived for now. Still, some saw a different outcome. Francisco de Miranda, a creole official in
the Spanish army, helped achieved the victory for the American Revolutionaries at Yorktown. He watched the Spanish dealings with the rebels
in Peru, observing “how astute and perfidious the Spanish agents had proved. . . .”
But Miranda predicted, “the Anglo-American colonies. . . independence. . .was bound to be . . . the infallible preliminary
to our own.” And indeed, people of South America had greater
battles to come as they continued to fight for their freedom from Spain. So, these eighteenth century wars had many
long-term outcomes. First, as the Seven Years War unwound and
the Prussian army built itself up, Frederick the Great saw a chance to cut up Poland-Lithuania,
proposing to divide a good chunk of it among Austria, Russia, and Prussia itself. This was the First Partition of Poland; so-called
because further partitions would follow. Meanwhile, while Britain lost what it thought
of as a less lucrative part of its empire, it kept its domination of the Caribbean sugar
islands and turned its attention to extracting the wealth of India. Finally, after providing the crucial aide
that allowed the birth of the United States of America, France was in dire financial straits
and badly in need of reform. As the French watched, and supported, the
emergence of a nation without a monarch across the Atlantic, few of them could have imagined
that a great revolution was just one episode away that would see the French monarchy beheaded–both
literally and figuratively. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you then.

100 comments on “18th Century Warfare: Crash Course European History #20

  1. Jaden Smith? Wow! Good for you, Jaden! Just for that I'm going to stop laughing at your early-teenage tweets. Now I'm curious what his favorite CC series are, and how many of them he's actually watched and things like that.

  2. To be fair to the British perspective – before the end of the Revolutionary War – it did take a couple of immigrants to get the job done 😉

  3. Crash Course, please do an ESL (English as Second Language) series. It would potentially be useful for hundreds of millions of people 💚

  4. You know, I am studying French History in college, and I bring this up since CC are going to talk about it in their next episode and I must say, I feel bad for King Louis XVI. He's just a dork who simply enjoyed hunting and picnics and what I could understand from the small bits of info I could dig up, and I could be wrong here, but Louis XVI wasn't really meant to be king, his older brother was next in line but he died at a young age and Louis didn't receive the training necessary for him to be a strong ruler. The structure of an Absolutist Monarchy really screwed everyone in France during the 18th Century over. I suggest you guys read "When The King Took Flight" by Timothy Tackett which paints King Louis XVI and his situation pretty well so you can understand where I am coming from. Like I said, I could be wrong about the part where I said that Louis XVI was not meant to be king and if so, can someone who is more knowledgeable on the subject please correct me.

  5. Is it weird that I find the welfare state fascinating? I mean the Roman Empire had it, the Nazis had it, the U.S. Has it, European democracies have it. Can a state function without one? I mean that would lead to peasant and worker uprisings would it not?

  6. OMG newly uploaded crash course video today! John Green looks like 7 years older. I see some grey hairs and he sounds so mature too lol.

  7. I really like your program Jonh but you now I feel that you always kinda of forget about Portugal and he's really huge junk of land in the Americas that would get independence some year later and become the greatest country in Latin America, Brasil that by the way had a lot of push to independence in the time covered in this video more noticeable the Inconfidencia Mineira that would have one of hes members butcher and his body parts send to locations in the town's to all see, you say likes all South America is all rulled by The Spanish and that only that colonies would fight for independence, you negate my history as a Brazilian, by not even mentioned, and that is not cool

  8. How many garments do Americans n Koreans hv is oday?
    Is ta2 a royal 👑 Inca prince 👑 or is he another pretender like pugs?

  9. 4:19 Maaaaan don't put the Russian color on Crimea. The fact of actual military occupation should never be represented as the confirmed one. You are watched from loads of countries who don't accept the "Russian Crimea", and in contrary only Russia with couple puppets see it so.
    All you could do here is to follow the logics of Jammu-Kashmir and separate the peninsula from both sides of conflict. Please, be kind with the good side of the world

  10. Threw me for a loop.
    "The Bear and the Dragon. A classic"
    Me: Aw hell yeah
    "I've never actually read it"
    Me: YOU UNCULTURED SWINE
    "But inside…" pulls out a flask
    Me: Aw hell yeah

  11. The american government is a republic. Its like looking at a toliet and saying "it definitely wasnt a shower". Its stupid. They designed a REPUBLIC, to be ruled by people who knew what they were doing with insulation from mob rule. If you want to know why look at the french and the actions their democracies took.

  12. Well I love John’s work, and often use it my history classes (I teach at a two year College), but this is one of the most off ones. He’s always doing a summary, which is great, but this misses on many points, Perhaps the worst is his discussion of the American Revolution where he suggests the Founders set up a Democracy, but obviously didn’t do a good job at the task. Instead, they INTENTIONALLY chose to NOT create a Democracy, but rather a Republic. John can say he doesn’t like that and that he would wish we would become a Democracy, but the Founders were very clear at what they were doing.

  13. It would be awesome, after you finish crash course European history, to start a crash course in Latin America history, because of its diversity and many aspects that make their history unique from other areas of the world. For example Brazil’s independence was “peaceful”

  14. I referenced the dress in one of my classes last week and my students looked at me like I had on a dress that was neither of those colors.

    Kids these days, man.

  15. i heard DECORATION OF INDEPENDENCE. HAHAHA.
    indeed.
    USA is made of parts of UK and Russia, Spain and France just because the european kings werent able to defend all acquired lands ahhahah

  16. Amaru II was sentenced to be executed. He was forced to bear witness to the execution of his wife Micaela Bastidas, his eldest son Hipólito, his uncle Francisco Tupa Amaro, his brother-in-law Antonio Bastidas, and some of his captains before his own death.

    The following is an extract from the official judicial death issued by the Spanish authorities which condemns Túpac Amaru II to torture and death. It was ordered in sentence that Túpac Amaru II be condemned to have his tongue cut out, after watching the executions of his family, and to have his hands and feet tied

    …to four horses who will then be driven at once toward the four corners of the plaza, pulling the arms and legs from his body. The torso will then be taken to the hill overlooking the city… where it will be burned in a bonfire… Tupac Amaru's head will be sent to Tinta to be displayed for three days in the place of public execution and then placed upon a pike at the principal entrance to the city. One of his arms will be sent to Tungasuca, where he was the cacique, and the other arm to the capital province of Carabaya, to be similarly displayed in those locations. His legs will be sent to Livitica and Santa Rosas in the provinces of Chumbivilcas and Lampa, respectively.

    — Sarah C. Chambers, Latin American Independence: An Anthology of Sources

    After the failed dismemberment by the four horses, his body was quartered, and he was then beheaded on the main plaza in Cuzco, in the same place his apparent great-great-great-grandfather Túpac Amaru I had been beheaded.

  17. Heads up @CrashCourse — at about 7:32 the audio and the closed captioning have a pretty significant difference — sounds like you may have cut a word in audio and forgotten it when using the script for captioning.

  18. The US Constitution didn't "enshrine" Slavery. In fact it bears the first signs of strains between the abolitionists and slavers that would split the country 80 yeara later.

  19. For shame. You mentioned the US Constitution and slavery, but conveniently forget to mention its Clauses on freedom of religion speech press etcetera, which were incredibly revolutionary for the time and helped spread the ideas of individual liberty throughout the world.

  20. Thank you a lot, you are doing a great show!
    But could you please stick to internationally recognized borders of countries when showing maps?
    Specifically, the Crimean Peninsula is a part of Ukraine, not Russia. The UN does not recognise this illegal annexation.
    Thanks again!
    And cheers from Kyiv!

  21. As much as I like the videos in this channel, I feel a bit like pointing out that THAT'S NOT REALLY A THOUGHT BUBBLE, now is it? Anyway it's not necessary at all to prepare the viewers about the animated scenes, we're used to them and we won't mind if you were to dispose of the "Let's go to the thought bubble". I'ts not a big deal at all but it was good to get it out of my chest.

  22. This series has pretty much made it interesting to learn briefly about European history from the medieval age to now. Thanks John for making the series interesting. I like to recommend a series about Asian history if possible.

  23. charicaturing American independence as "not representative" and "enshrining slavery" kind of teaches the opposite of what the rule by laws and equality of voting and representation actually meant to the people of 1770s, who grew up being told "whatever social class you were born in, that's what you deserve and can't change it. if you aren't happy about being a slave you clearly aren't working hard enough, and if you are working, you don't deserve to be called a "gentleman" "

  24. One of my pet peeves remains the reference to Britain's "13 colonies in North America" where, indeed, there were many more than 13. And a quick glance at the actual language of the Stamp Act and the Tea Act will show that they were imposed on the "British colonies or plantations in America" (that language is used repeatedly). That covers a lot more than just the 13 quarrelsome colonies that eventually separated.

  25. It was interesting to hear about women's fashions at the beginning. I heard that white wedding dresses didn't become popular until the Victorian Era. White fabric was difficult to clean back then, so if a woman had a white dress, it was only supposed to be worn once in her entire life. And believe it or not, weddings weren't considered "important" enough.

  26. I'm old(er) and enjoy these for their perspectives and details. I also love being able to pause and zoom in on the paintings.

  27. What in the heck does this have to do with 18th century warfare? You have managed to miss the MOST important aspect of 18th century warfare–mercantilism! Under this philosophy "useful" people–aka people who produced wealth like farmers and factory workers–were too valuable to waste in the army. Instead the monarchies relied on the "useless" people–aka criminals, foreign draftees and the nobility. Yes, they did think that the only use the nobility had was in leading armies and dying in the field.

    Because most of the soldiers had nothing to fight for and did not want to be there in the first place this led to ferocious discipline, rigid formations, and a total dependency on supply lines. This was because the troops could not be trusted to forage since they might run away or turn their weapons on their officers. There was also very little skirmishing (except by highly paid mercenaries) because the troops could not be trusted to not shoot their officers. Wars took on an almost dance like quality since even a minor threat to an army's supply lines forced them to retreat and the armies themselves were so small and expensive that their owners were loath to risk them unless there was a very good chance of winning.

    This makes what happened when these mercantile armies met citizen soldiers–aka the French Revolution and Napoleon so important. In France the revolution had broken the back of the nobility, gave rights to people who had none before and gave them a reason to fight. Unlike the Royal armies, the French could skirmish and that fact, combined with the ability to live off the land and the huge size of these armies made them overpowering. With or without Napoleon the "Napoleonic Wars" would have happened–it was the army structure and not the great tactics that produced most of the victories.

    The only country to figure out what was needed to fight the French on their own terms were the Prussians (see "York and the Era of Prussian Reform 1806-1813 by Peter Paret). The Prussian ruler, convinced that the only way to get his people to fight like the French was to given them the sane rights as the French staged a "French Revolution" in Prussia by Royal decree. The result was huge armies of volunteers (there were even battalions of artists and poets) who could meet the French on their own terms–and win.

    If you are going to do "military history" then at least find someone who knows what they are talking about.

  28. By the way–the American War of Independence (it was not a Revolution) was fought with long serving professionals and NOT the militia–who were mostly useless. This use of a mercenary army instead of a citizen army (like in France) is why America did not have a revolution and ended up with the same rich people that had been in charge before the war in charge after it and most of the "Revolutionary" yearning of the average Americans disappointed.

    The stuff in this video? Interesting bun not important.

  29. I dont understand why always showing the world map in india kashmir is always shown separate it is integrals part of india.

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