How did Western Civilization come to dominate the world?

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sarah22345
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Did we just get "lucky" by having guns before anyone else did? scientific method? industrial revolution? climate? I need a historian's opinion on this matter.
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Sternumator
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I wouldn't say we dominate the world, we just like to think we do. Though Western civilization is probably more influential than anything else which I think came from the industrial revolution. The technology and prosperity that the industrial revolution brought to the West gave us a head start on everybody else, a lead we are still holding onto. America was born out of the industrial revolution and America is undoubtedly the only reason the West "dominates" the world today.
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felamaslen
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I'm no historian, but I reckon it was a combination of the scientific enlightenment, technology which arose from this, ingenuity on the part of some of the best scientists the world has ever known, and a willingness to explore the world.
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Josb
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Hippysnake
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Considering practically everything is made in China or produced in Japan, and the fact that the USA or the UK couldn't do **** to stop Putin fingering Crimea, I'd say it is more a case of blissful ignorance on the part of western nations as opposed to genuine dominance.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by Hippysnake)
Considering practically everything is made in China or produced in Japan, and the fact that the USA or the UK couldn't do **** to stop Putin fingering Crimea, I'd say it is more a case of blissful ignorance on the part of western nations as opposed to genuine dominance.
Well the two European civil wars of the 20th century did kind of weaken the West. If only Europe had stuck to 19th century principles of peace and democracy. Imperialism would have gradually been seen to be obsolete and illegitimate, hopefully decolonisation could have occurred peacefully without too much bloodshed, and Western principles would still be universally acknowledged (even by former colonies) to be, well, universal and decent. I think it all started to go wrong in 1914.
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ChaosSaint
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We used to dominate purely through the devastation and control of any country we saw fit, previously a great deal belonged to the monarchy, gradually it's being given back but the way we're heading the east may well become the dominant force. Although it's likely we'll wipe most of the population out in the process. We're either heading for global unity, or a world war which we likely won't recover from.
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Martyn*
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The West came to dominate because of curiousity aided by expansion, technology, imperialism, trade, invasion, philosophy (especially reason) and religion.
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CryptoidAlien
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The same way Islam came to rule the entire Middle East and South Asia. Invasion.

Anyway, it wasn't dominating, it was making others diverse was it not? You just make up words to hide your intentions.
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ChampEon
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Colonisation/invasions and the slave trade.
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No Man
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Via the Industrial Revolution.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by Hippysnake)
Considering practically everything is made in China or produced in Japan, and the fact that the USA or the UK couldn't do **** to stop Putin fingering Crimea, I'd say it is more a case of blissful ignorance on the part of western nations as opposed to genuine dominance.
Why get involved in Crimea? There's been enough criticism of the west's foreign policy recently.
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Green Marble
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(Original post by Sternumator)
I wouldn't say we dominate the world, we just like to think we do. Though Western civilization is probably more influential than anything else which I think came from the industrial revolution. The technology and prosperity that the industrial revolution brought to the West gave us a head start on everybody else, a lead we are still holding onto. America was born out of the industrial revolution and America is undoubtedly the only reason the West "dominates" the world today.

Western civilisation does actually dominate the world and you have just explained why
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by ChaosSaint)
We used to dominate purely through the devastation and control of any country we saw fit, previously a great deal belonged to the monarchy, gradually it's being given back but the way we're heading the east may well become the dominant force. Although it's likely we'll wipe most of the population out in the process. We're either heading for global unity, or a world war which we likely won't recover from.
Not quite true. It was trade that drove imperialism. The wars only started when the trade routes were threatened.

Combination of industrial revolution, advancements in military technology and doctrine and finance.

im guessing you'll find it wasn't one thing though. It was a combination of several factors.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by sarah22345)
Did we just get "lucky" by having guns before anyone else did? scientific method? industrial revolution? climate? I need a historian's opinion on this matter.
The dominance of the west actually begins all the way back in the late 1400's. At that point there were three main regions that could have been described as advanced for the time (China, Western Europe, Islamic Empire). What drove the west originally was a combination of religion and geopolitics. Namely that there was a continuous threat of war between the fledgling Britain and Spain, this drove innovation in terms of creating the cannon and fleets of what could be described as warships rather than rowing boats. Couple this with the desire for wealth and we see Britain and Spain finding new lands. This culminates in the battle of the Spanish Armada. Afterward we see much the same with France but a more pronounced focus on wealth, trade and the birth of imperial capitalism. This then provides an atmosphere which fosters the Industrial Revolution and gives Britain a marked advantage.

So no, it's not luck. It's more like having the right 'weather' to allow it. We were a highly innovate group of nations, from the Florence invention of modern finance to the cannon.

(Original post by felamaslen)
Well the two European civil wars of the 20th century did kind of weaken the West. If only Europe had stuck to 19th century principles of peace and democracy. Imperialism would have gradually been seen to be obsolete and illegitimate, hopefully decolonisation could have occurred peacefully without too much bloodshed, and Western principles would still be universally acknowledged (even by former colonies) to be, well, universal and decent. I think it all started to go wrong in 1914.
Where were these principles evident? Certainly not in Europe where as France faded, Prussia arose. All the while we had the Dutch and British managing their global affairs via gunboat diplomacy.

(Original post by ChaosSaint)
We used to dominate purely through the devastation and control of any country we saw fit, previously a great deal belonged to the monarchy, gradually it's being given back but the way we're heading the east may well become the dominant force. Although it's likely we'll wipe most of the population out in the process. We're either heading for global unity, or a world war which we likely won't recover from.
Indeed, the Africans and Native Americans in particular were primitives who were centuries behind us. The east will never be dominant, rather than a unipolar world we are simply seeing the emergence of 4 dominant powers overshadowing all other nations.. US, EU (if it keeps integrating), China, India. Neither option is exclusive. With regional blocks forming i think we are slowly moving towards a unified world but the litmus test will be which powerful blocks merge, does a block like the EU have it in them to move past their borders and accept the likes of Turkey and Morroco.

The litmus test of war vs unity for me will be whether Europe and the Anglopsphere eventually come together but that's many decades away if at all.
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Green Marble
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(Original post by Hippysnake)
Considering practically everything is made in China or produced in Japan, and the fact that the USA or the UK couldn't do **** to stop Putin fingering Crimea, I'd say it is more a case of blissful ignorance on the part of western nations as opposed to genuine dominance.
Everything is not made in china and japan and in the case of china it is simply made there as companies reduce labour and production costs. Did you ever study management strategy or was your lecturer off the day you attended
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HeavyTeddy
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Imperialism.
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Hippysnake
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(Original post by Green Marble)
Everything is not made in china and japan and in the case of china it is simply made there as companies reduce labour and production costs. Did you ever study management strategy or was your lecturer off the day you attended
Actually, I don't bother wasting my time studying management. I'm just making an observation based on the fact that most items seem to have 'Made in China' written on them.
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Green Marble
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(Original post by Hippysnake)
Actually, I don't bother wasting my time studying management. I'm just making an observation based on the fact that most items seem to have 'Made in China' written on them.
What an intelligent, we'll informed opinion you have formed on the subject
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felamaslen
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(Original post by Rakas21)
Where were these principles evident? Certainly not in Europe where as France faded, Prussia arose. All the while we had the Dutch and British managing their global affairs via gunboat diplomacy.
The 19th century was a period of global peace, prosperity, technological and democratic advancement, compared with the 20th century. Some of the things which went on in the 19th century would horrify any decent person, but the movement was in the right direction. 1914 was the beginning of a regressive era for a lot of the world, into medieval barbarism.
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