Invention of the steam engine and cotton gin.
1848: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels issue The Communist Manifesto; socialism spreads.
1880-1915: Height of imperialism (European control of Africa, parts of Asia, and India. U.S. involvement in Latin America).
1886: A battle between workers, socialists, and anarchists and police ends in the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago; American Federation of Labor founded.
1889: Cardinal Henry Edward Manning of Westminster becomes famous for supporting strike of London dockers; Hull House founded in Chicago by Jane Addams.
1890: Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
1891: Rerum novarum
1893: Panic of 1893 brings failure of 491 banks and over 15,000 commercial institutions.
1894: Pullman strike smashed by federal troops.
1900: Founding of Socialist Revolutionary Party of Russia.
1902: Peasant revolt in Russia suppressed.
1905: "Bloody Sunday" massacre in Russia. Moscow uprising crushed by government troops.
1911: Strikes and industrial unrest in Britain. Suffragette riots in Whitehall, London. Famine and revolution in China: Manchu dynasty overthrown.
1913: German Army Bill expands German army.
1914-18: World War I.
1917: Russian Revolution begins: Bolsheviks led by Lenin seize power.
1920: First full-time session of League of Nations.
1925: Adolf Hitler publishes Mein Kampf.
1926: General strike in Britain.
1929: Great Depression. Unemployment in Germany exceeds 3 million.
1930: German elections: 107 Nazis win seats in Reichstag. War breaks out between Paraguay and Bolivia. Revolution in Brazil. Revolution in Argentina.
1931: National Government formed in Britain after severe financial crisis. Japan invades Manchuria.
1932: Hunger marches by unemployed in Britain.
1933: Hitler becomes German Chancellor, Reichstag burned. Franklin Roosevelt enunciates "Good Neighbor" policy: aid sent to Central and South America, U.S. troops withdrawn from Nicaragua. Japanese occupy China north of Great Wall; Japan leaves League of Nations after League condemns its actions in China.
1935: Germany reinstates conscription, repudiates military clauses of Versailles Treaty.
1936: German troops occupy Rhineland.
1937: Japanese take Nanjing and Shanghai ("Rape of Nanjing").
1938: Austria declared part of German Reich after German occupation.
1939-45: World War II
1939: Fighting between Japan and Russia; Japanese repulsed.
1945: U.N. established. U.S. deploys first atomic bomb, destroying Hiroshima and, later, Nagasaki.
1947: India and Pakistan become independent.
1948: U.N. Declaration of Human Rights.
1949: Feminist Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex.
1950: Korean War begins. World population at 2.5 billion. "Population explosion" begins.
1952: First atomic submarine; U.S. explodes first hydrogen bomb.
1954: Senator Joseph McCarthy's anticommunist witch-hunt condemned by U.S. Senate. Vietnam split at 17th parallel: North Vietnam under Communist control. Cambodia becomes independent from France.
1955: Bandung Conference: 29 Afro-Asian nonaligned states gather to condemn colonialism.
1956: Martin Luther King, Jr. leads bus boycott in Alabama. Seven different governments in Haiti (to September 1957).
1957: Sputnik I and II launched by U.S.S.R.
Common Market founded.
1957-67: Many African nations gain independence from colonial rule.
1958: U.S. launches Vanguard and Explorer satellites.
1959: Fidel Castro's guerrillas take Havana; Castro becomes prime minister.
1960: Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) instituted.
1961-73: U.S. involvement in Vietnam War.
1961: Berlin Wall erected to separate East and West Berlin. The first human to travel in space around Earth. Mater et Magistra
1962: Second Vatican Council, attended by over 2,000. Cuban Missile Crisis. Algeria gains independence from France, Uganda independence from Britain.
1963: Nuclear Test Ban Treaty by U.S., U.S.S.R., and Britain. John F. Kennedy assassinated. Pacem in terris
1964: Nelson Mandela and seven other black leaders sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa.
1965: Worldwide demonstrations against Vietnam War; civil-rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; Ku Klux Klan shootings in Selma. Ian Smith unilaterally declares Rhodesia independent. Gaudium et spes
1966: Race riots in Chicago, Cleveland, and Brooklyn.
1967-68: China and France join U.S., U.S.S.R., and Britain as thermonuclear powers.
1967: Six-day War between Israel and neighboring Arab states.
1968: Warsaw Pact troops occupy Czechoslovakia and halt "Prague Spring." Student protest movements in France, U.S., Germany, Japan. Riots in Londonderry by civil-rights demonstrators. "Flower power" in San Francisco. Populorum progressio
1969: Martial law proclaimed in Spain following riots. Neil Armstrong first person to walk on Moon. Woodstock music festival.
1971: Octogesima adveniens "Justice in the World"
1973-74: Arab oil embargo.
1974: India sixth nuclear power. World economic recession.
1975: Vietnam War ends with South falling to communists. Evangelii nuntiandi
1978: World's first "test-tube baby" born in England.
1979: Salt II Treaty signed by Carter and Brezhnev. Shah of Iran goes into exile. Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran from exile in Paris. Egypt and Israel sign peace treaty ending state of war existing since 1948. U.S. withdraws its support of Nicaragua's President Somoza; Somoza goes into exile; Sandinista government sworn in. Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Mother Teresa awarded Nobel Peace Prize.
1980: Solidarity union founded in Poland under Lech Walesa after two months of strikes. World Health Organization announces elimination of smallpox.
1981: Iran releases U.S. Embassy hostages after 444 days. Laborem exercens
1982: Solidarity outlawed by Polish government.
1984: AIDS virus discovered.
1985: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes general secretary of Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
1986: Haitians overthrow President "Baby Doc" Duvalier. "People Power" revolution in Philippines; Corazon Aquino becomes president. U.S. planes bomb five sites in Libya in retaliation for Berlin disco bombing. Gorbachev initiates policies of glasnost and perestroika. Andrei Sakharov, Russian physicist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, released from exile. "Economic Justice For All"
1987: "Black Monday" on London Stock Market: worst day for shares this century. Iran-Contra hearings. U.S and U.S.S.R. sign historic Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty to reduce nuclear arsenals. Sollicitudo rei socialis
1988: Soviets begin withdrawal from Afghanistan.
1989: Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, China following demonstrations for democracy. First noncommunist prime minister of Poland since World War II. Opening of Hungarian border brings mass exodus of East Germans into West Germany. Vietnamese troops complete withdrawal from Cambodia after 10 years of occupation. East German Communist Party leader forced to resign. Berlin Wall comes down after 28 years. Czechoslovakia's Communist Party leaders resign. Romania's Communist dictator executed. U.S. invasion of Panama.
1990: South Africa's Nelson Mandela freed from prison after 26 years. Lithuania declares independence from U.S.S.R. Free elections in Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria. Iraq invades Kuwait; U.S. and allies send troops to Persian Gulf region. Unification of East and West Germany.
1991: Persian Gulf War; Kuwait liberated, civil war in Iraq.
Author: Pope Leo XIII
Date: May 15, 1891
Main points: Promotion of human dignity through just distribution of wealth. Present inequality creates a decline of morality as shown in alcohol consumption, prostitution, and divorce. Workers have basic human rights that adhere to Natural Law, which says all humans are equal. Rights include the right to work, to own private property, to receive a just wage, and to organize into workers' associations. Employers and employees each have rights and responsibilities: while the worker should not riot to create a situation of conflict with the employer, the employer should maintain an environment respecting worker's dignity.
The church has the right to speak out on social issues. Its role is to teach social principles and bring social classes together. The state's role is to create a just society through laws that preserve rights.
Context: Much poverty. Because of the Industrial Revolution, workers are being exploited by profit-hungry employers. Public authorities are not protecting the rights of the poor.
Innovation: First comprehensive document of social justice; brings the subject of workers' rights to light.
Trivia: In 1841, while still a cardinal, Leo XIII started a savings bank for the poor. He was named a monsignor for his bravery during a cholera epidemic.
Author: Pope Pius XI
Date: May 1931
Main points: After detailing the positive impact Rerum novarum has had on the social order—through the church, civil authorities, and now-flourishing unions—stresses that a new situation warrants a new response. Charges that capitalism's free competition has destroyed itself, with the state having become a "slave" serving its greed. Also, while the lot of workers has improved in the Western World, it has deteriorated elsewhere. Warns against a communist solution, however, because communism condones violence and abolishes private property. Labor and capital need each other. A just wage is necessary so workers can acquire private property, too.
The state has the responsibility to reform the social order, since economic affairs can't be left to free enterprise alone. Public intervention in labor-management disputes approved; international economic cooperation urged.
Context: A response to the Great Depression, which began in 1929 and rocked the world. In Europe, democracy has declined and dictators have emerged to take power. Fortieth anniversary of Rerum novarum.
Innovation: Introduces the concept of "subsidiarity," saying social problems should be resolved on more local levels first.
Trivia: Expands Rerum novarum's focus on poor workers to include the structures that oppress them.
Author: Pope John XXIII
Date: May 15, 1961
Main points: Enumerates the economic, scientific, social, and political developments that have taken place since Rerum novarum and Quadragesimo anno. Says there's not just a disparity between rich and poor classes anymore—there's a disparity between rich and poor nations. Decries arms race and the plight of the world's farmers. Arms spending contributes to poverty; peace would be possible if economic imbalances among nations were righted.
It's the duty of wealthy, industrialized nations to help poor, nonindustrialized nations; but in giving aid, it is every country's duty to respect the latter's culture and to refrain from domination. Since technological advances have made nations interdependent as never before, cooperation and mutual assistance are necessary. Says all Catholics should be reared on Catholic social teaching.
Context: Advancements such as nuclear energy, automation, space exploration, and improved communication technologies pose complex, new problems for industrialized nations. Meanwhile, millions live in poverty in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Innovation: "Internationalizes" social teaching by addressing, for the first time, the plight of nonindustrialized nations.
Trivia: Stresses the popular Catholic Social Action motto "see, judge, act" as a model of effective lay involvement.
Author: Pope John XXIII
Date: April 11, 1963
Main points: The only way to ensure peace is to ensure a foundation that consists of specific social rights and responsibilities. The bulk of the encyclical goes on to list these, detailing rights and responsibilities that ought to exist (1) between people, (2) between people and their public authorities, (3) between states, and (4) among people and nations at the level of the world community. Some specifics: cultural changes demand that women have more rights; justice, right reason, and human dignity demand that the arms race must cease; the United Nations needs to be strengthened.
Context: Follows two early Cold War events—the erection of the Berlin Wall (August 1961) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962).
Innovation: "Its optimistic tone and development of a philosophy of rights made a significant impression on Catholics and non-Catholics alike," say Henriot, DeBerri, and Schultheis in their book Catholic Social Teaching: Our Best Kept Secret.
Trivia: First encyclical addressed to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Author: Vatican II
Date: December, 1965
Main points: Up to all Catholics, as the "People of God," to scrutinize the great technological and social changes—good and bad—that have transformed the world. (Names some of these changes—industrialization and mass communication, e.g.—and lists many changes they've effected in turn: greater gaps between rich and poor, overpopulation, rapid growth of city life, questioning of traditional values by the younger generation, etc.)
Explores relationship between Catholic Church and humanity. (While the church isn't bound to any party or social system, its mission "begins in this world"; all people called to improve the world; Jesus is the lord of history; etc.)
Families, the foundation of society, are especially vulnerable to today's new trends; the Catholic Church should use culture more to spread the gospel; with new developments in weaponry, a new evaluation of war is needed.
Context: The Cold War and arms race still loom. Discussion of Gaudium et spes was slotted after Belgium's Cardinal Joseph Suenens spoke up after the first session of Vatican II asking that the council also address issues more "external" than liturgical change.
Innovation: First social teaching to represent opinions of the world's bishops.
Trivia: This and other Vatican II documents initiate frequent use of the phrases "People of God" and "signs of the times."
Author: Pope Paul VI
Date: March 26, 1967
Main points: The church, in response to Jesus' teachings, must foster human progress—progress not understood solely in terms of economic and technological advances, but in terms of fostering full human potential (i.e., social, cultural, and spiritual). Traces world conflicts to the root cause of poverty, advocating proper development as a means to peace.
Wider disparity between rich and poor nations, exasperated by an inequity in trade relations that free trade is unable to correct: developing nations, exporters of cheap raw goods to industrialized nations, are unable to pay for expensive manufactured goods of industrialized nations.
There's an urgency to seeing to these problems, Paul VI says: growing disparity tempts the poor to violence and revolution as possible solutions.
Supports international development agencies, such as a World Fund and Food and Agriculture Organization. Since the goods of the earth belong to all, the right to private property is subordinate: "the superfluous wealth of rich countries should be placed at the service of poor nations" ( 49).
Context: The Vietnam War rages. African nations fighting wars of independence.
Innovation: First encyclical devoted specifically to the issues of international development.
Trivia: Coined the phrase, "development is a new word for peace."
Author: Pope Paul VI Date: May, 1971
Main points: Addresses urbanization and the new social problems it has created—such as a new loneliness and specific problems for youth, women, and the "new poor." ("New poor" includes the elderly, the handicapped, and the cities' marginalized—people disadvantaged because of urbanization.) Notes lingering discrimination because of race, origin, color, culture, sex, and religion. Stresses personal responsibility on the part of Christians in seeing that injustice is challenged. In combating injustice, need to focus on political action—not just economic action. Encourages individual Christians and local churches to apply gospel principles of justice to contemporary situations and take appropriate political action.
Context: The world is verging on a recession, so the "new poor" are especially vulnerable. In the U.S., follows a decade of action on behalf of civil rights, led by Martin Luther King, Jr.; coincides with the women's movement of the early 1970s and continuing student protests against the Vietnam War.
Innovation: The role of individual Christians in responding to injustice.
Trivia: This was an open apostolic letter to Cardinal Maurice Roy, president of the Pontifical Commission on Justice and Peace. Commemorates the 80th anniversary of Rerum novarum.
Author: Pope Paul VI
Date: October 26, 1975
Main points: With a fundamental aim "to make the Church of the 20th century ever better fitted for proclaiming the Gospel to people of the 20th century," poses three "burning questions": (1) What has happened to the hidden energy of the Good News, noted for its ability to have a powerful effect on human conscience? (2) To what extent is that evangelizing force really able to transform the people of the 20th century? (3) What methods should be employed so that the power of the Gospel may realize its full effect? On evangelizers and evangelization: Jesus proclaimed a salvation that includes liberation from all oppression, and it's the role of the church to continue that proclamation; redemption includes combating injustice; evangelization should affect human judgment, values, interests, thought, and lifestyle; evangelization important in an increasingly de-Christianized world, as important to nonpracticing Christians as to non-Christians; avenues of evangelization—homilies, personal witness, mass media, etc.—explored.
Context: Document itself notes cultural problems of atheistic secularism, indifference, consumerism, focus on pleasure, discrimination, and desire to dominate.
Innovation: Challenging injustice and preaching liberation are essential components of evangelization.
Trivia: Commemorates the tenth anniversary of the conclusion of Vatican II.
Authors: Synod of Bishops
Date: November 30, 1971
Main points: Dynamics of "oppression" and "liberation" discussed, as the synod remembers that God is a "liberator of the oppressed" and recognizes that structural injustices oppress humanity. Justice is an essential ingredient to the liberation of human beings—not to mention a key expression of Christian love. Injustices catalogued: those against migrants and refugees, also human-rights violations, torture, political prisoners, etc. Since many who suffer injustice are voiceless, the church should speak on their behalf. Church must be a witness for justice—via education, international relations, and especially the way it treats its own members (particularly women and laypeople).
Context: Echoing not only the worldly political upheavals of the late '60s and early '70s, this document is strongly influenced by the insights of church leaders from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. "Liberation" was a strong theme of the 1968 Medellin conference of Latin American bishops, e.g.
Innovation: First major example of post-Vatican II episcopal collegiality.
Trivia: Responsible for the oft-quoted "justice . . . is a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the gospel."
English title: On Human Work
Author: Pope John Paul II
Main points: Work is at the center of the social question—the key to making life more human and the measure of human dignity. Nature of work is: (1) to fulfill the command in Genesis to "subdue the earth" and (2) to make family life possible. Criticizes both capitalism and Marxism: denounces tendency to treat humans as mere instruments of production; against collectivism; affirms right to private property yet subordinates it to the right of common use.
Also: work is a duty; employers need to provide for workers via good planning, unemployment benefits, and international collaboration righting imbalances in standards of living; resources must be used to create employment; wages must be sufficient to support a family, and working mothers should be afforded special consideration; workers deserve health care, right to leisure, pension, accident insurance, decent working environment; right to unionize strongly supported; disabled people should be given opportunities to work; people have a right to leave native countries in search of a better livelihood.
Context: On the 90th anniversary of Rerum novarum, huge numbers of people are unemployed or underemployed. Migrant workers typically exploited.
Innovation: Concluding remarks contain a detailed "spirituality of work."
Trivia: 90 percent of its content is Rerum novarum.
Authors: U.S. Bishops
Main points: Reading the "signs of the times," many challenges to U.S. economy: central role of U.S. in a global economy; mobility of capital and technology affects jobs worldwide; depletion of natural resources; American Dream unrealized for millions because of high unemployment and harsh poverty; economic life doesn't support family life; investment of nation's resources into arms production contributes to hardship; values are a concern. A Christian vision of economic life says: inequalities of income, consumption, privilege, and power should be examined; poor should have the single most urgent claim on the conscience of the nation; the poor and excluded rate an investment of wealth, talent, and energy—should be allowed active participation in the economy. Right to employment; need to create new jobs, provide training, remove barriers to equal employment. Need to re-evaluate tax and welfare systems to provide services and human dignity. Family farms and farmworkers supported. U.S. should be fairer in trade with developing nations. Church must model good management, fair wages, and ethical investment.
Context: In 1986, 33 million are poor, 20 to 30 million are needy. Unemployment reaches 8 million.
Innovation: The church, as investor and employer, must practice what it preaches.
Trivia: As they have done with other pastoral letters, the bishops consulted widely with business leaders, experts, officials, etc.
Author: Pope John Paul II
Date: December 30, 1987
Main points: While praising the optimism and innovation of Populorum progressio—the document being commemorated—notes serious backsliding on issues of development. Twenty years' worth of unfulfilled hopes include: obvious gap between northern and southern hemispheres, global debt (forcing nations to export capital), unemployment and underemployment. Should be a unity of the world—not a "First World," "Second World," "Third World," or "Fourth World." Outright underdevelopment abounds, a result of the ideological opposition existing between East-West blocs and their strong penchants to militarism ("wars by proxy"), imperialism, neo-colonialism, and exaggerated concerns for security. Their competition blocks cooperation and solidarity. Chastises the West for abandoning itself to a growing, selfish isolation. Chastises the East for ignoring its duty to alleviate human misery. In fueling the arms trade, both blocs contribute to refugee populations and increased terrorism. Emergence of "superdevelopment," an excessive availability of goods leading to consumerism and waste; existence of "structures of sin"; international trade discriminates against developing countries.
Context: World economy is in flux—debt, unemployment, and recession hitting affluent and poor nations alike.
Innovation: The "structures of sin" insight.
Trivia: 1987 is the International Year of The Homeless in the U.S.
Author: Pope John Paul II
Date: May 1, 1991
Main points: Marking the 100th anniversary of Catholic social teaching—thus using Leo XIII's Rerum novarum as its frame of reference—looks to the 'new things' (rerum novarum) shaping the world today. While democracy and social conflict are each discussed, the fall of "real socialism" in the Eastern Bloc nations invites a lengthy discussion of communism and capitalism. The "fundamental error of socialism" is that it's based on an atheistic view of humanity instead of a transcendent one; leads to a "social order without reference to the person's dignity and responsibility." Distinguishing, on the one hand, between "unbridled," "radical," or "primitive" capitalism and, on the other hand, a "business economy" that serves and protects the human person, "it would appear that, on the level of individual nations and international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs" (#34). Capitalism also recognizes the freedom of the human person. Warns, however, against: (1) The consumeristic tendency of modern capitalistic societies, saying it cheapens the person, harms society, and ultimately poisons the planet. (2) Elevating capitalism, as an economic tool, to the level of an all-encompassing ideology.
Context: The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.
Innovation: While careful not to give a blanket endorsement, notes the benefits of capitalism as an economic system.
Trivia: Says modern times bring a new form of ownership—"the possession of know-how, technology, and skill" (#32).