People Abroad | 1763—89

Portrait by Artist to Come

OVERVIEW

The 27 years during which America awakened to its need for independence — debated it, declared it, struggled for it, and ratified and effected its Constitution — were bookended by the end of one global conflict and the beginning of another.

In Europe the 1763 Peace of Paris concluded the Seven Years War, sometimes called the first true world war. It was a conflict that involved all of the major European countries, and once again pitted Great Britain against France for global dominance. In 1789, with the storming of the Bastille, the French Revolution began — influenced by the American Revolution, but begun for lack of bread. It would lead to mass executions of its own people, the rise of Napoleon to general and emperor, millions killed elsewhere, and once more a face-off between France and Britain.

LINKS
Europeans who are contributing to their culture during the American Revolution.

Artists

Explorers and Inventors

Musicians

  • Bach, Johann Christian (1735—82)
  • Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770—1827)
  • Gluck, Christoph Willibald (1714—87)
  • Haydn, Joseph (1732—1809)
  • Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756—91)

Philosophers

Rulers

    England

    Habsburg Empire (including Austria & Hungary)

    • Maria Theresa (1717—80); Empress, 1740—80
    • Joseph II (1741—90); Emperor, 1780—90; Holy Roman Emperor, 1765—90

    Russia

Scientists & Mathematicians

Writers

As in the case of his career as commander-in-chief, Washington’s most important act as president was his giving up the office. The significance of his retirement from the presidency is easily overlooked today, but his contemporaries knew what it meant. Most people assumed that Washington might be president as long as he lived, that he would be a kind of elected monarch like the king of Poland. Hence his retirement from the presidency enhanced his moral authority and set a precedent for future presidents.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)