The Delhi Liberated Zone under Bahadur Shah Zafar falls; Tatia Tope and others fight on for another two years; the British kill perhaps 10 million Indian people (7% of the population); the 1857 has some victories even in defeat. But what does it all mean? We conclude our discussion with the concept of a point-of-view in history. I identify six different points of view (RSS, Congress, British imperialist, 1857 line, Subaltern Studies, and Marxist) and show how you end up having to pick one, and why I went with the “1857 line” on the event – for which the key source is Amaresh Mishra’s 2000 page book, War of Civilisations.
At the end of the episode, Dave and I discuss a table that I made about the different points of view I was able to identify in historical scholarship of 1857. The table we are looking at is in the Civilizations Resources Page under episode 20b.
I take full responsibility for this table, which I made up. Here is what I’d say is a representative source for each point of view. You may disagree – and I’m declaring my point of view, after reading all these, is with Misra and the 1857 line.
BJP – Savarkar, The Indian War of Independence
1857 line – Amaresh Misra, War of Civilisations
Marxist – Marx, the Indian War of Independence
Subaltern Studies – Guha, Prose of Counterinsurgency
Are we really doing this? One podcaster with Indian roots and another with British roots, trying to do the history of 1857 India? This is the Civilizations podcast, so yes we are! I’m arguing that 1857 is up there with the other great revolutions of this time – 1848 or 1870 in Europe, or Bolivar’s campaigns in Latin America. Part 1 takes you from the antecedents and context through to the Delhi Liberated Zone under Bahadur Shah Zafar.
How did a military debacle lead to the abolition of serfdom in Russia? How did a disagreement over the nature of breakfast lead to a military loss? How bad was the Charge of the Light Brigade, really? Civilizations goes to the Crimean War, where Britain, France, and Turkey fought Russia from 1853-1856.
This episode is about how the US became the territorial empire that it is. We cover the Mexican-American War 1846-8, as well as the repeat performance when France invaded under Louis Napoleon. We end talking about US expansionism and its many 19th century wars with Indigenous nations.
There were many revolutions in Europe in 1848, with complex and contradictory results and lessons learned by all parties for future revolutionary rounds. We spend most of the time in France, a bit of time in Prussia, and do a quick tour of the rest.
We investigate Britain around 1848. Why was there no revolution? We look at the Chartist and Reform movements in Britain and in Canada, Robert Peel and the origins of modern policing, Australia and the early debates about how to create misery in prisons, the Irish famines and their repercussions.
Your Western Civilization course covers the French Revolution of 1830. But the Civilizations Series gives you that and Muhammad Ali of Egypt, France’s colonizing Algeria, and the slave rebellions of Denmark Vesey in South Carolina, Nat Turner in Virginia, and Sam Sharpe in Jamaica.
Choosing our avatars carefully, we take you through the political ideologies of the 19th century. Conservatism (Burke, Metternich); Liberalism (Paine, Locke); Radicalism (Condorcet, Gregoire); Anarchism (Bakunin, Kropotkin); Communism (Marx & Engels); and we throw a few more in as well (nationalism, humanitarianism, romanticism). This episode will set you up nicely for the next round of revolutions – 1830, 1848, and 1870.
We cover the Industrial Revolution in England, from a few angles. Justin inserts his usual colonial determinism notes, as well as some environmental history about fossil fuels and energy sources for imperialism; Dave takes us through the revolution and what it meant; we talk about the rise of the working class, reveal that the Luddites pretty much had it right, and conclude with the early socialists: Robert Owen, and Marx and Engels.
At the beginning we quickly tell the story of Mexico’s Wars of Independence – Hidalgo, Morelo, and Iturbide. Then we return to Simon Bolivar from the Angostura period to the liberation of Peru and an assessment of Bolivar’s politics and legacy. We conclude by quickly telling the story of Brazil’s Independence and discern some patterns in these liberations.