Type of paper: Essay

Topic: People, Ideology, Socialism, United States, Liberalism, Nationalism, Europe, Church

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/01/10

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5 Ideologies of Change

According to Whittemore, the classical liberalism ideology was born in Spain and France in the early 1800’s. One of the fathers of classical liberalism was John Locke, whose writings created the foundation for the government of the United States of America. The core belief of classical liberalism was the necessity of liberty for each individual. This liberty encompassed freedom of speech, press and assembly. The ideology supported minimal government and equal rights. (n.d.) The founding fathers of America used some of the ideals of radicalism and republicanism such as separation of church and state and giving the people the power to vote, but the bulk of the ideals that founded America was based on classical liberalism. The positives of classical liberalism were the emphasis on the economy and individualism as well as improved production and quality because of competition. The negative is that is supported the working middle class but did little to help the poor. Classical liberalism impacted Europe by creating the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, the Reform Act of 1832 and the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846.
I would have been a supporter of parts of classical liberalism. I agree with the focus on freedom and individualism. That being said, I would have wanted a financial system that helped the poor more, I would want to support a movement that helped everyone, not just some. Classical liberalism is a proponent of capitalism which is why other ideologies were developed to fight it: “The fight against capitalism was waged by three major strands of the socialist doctrine: fascism, national-socialism and communism. These shared the premise that their respective visions of a ‘just’ society should replace the spontaneous order of free markets.” (Pejovich & Svetozar, 2015) I don’t think minimal government and free market is very fair so I don’t support those parts of classical liberalism. I think the government is really important to making things fair for everyone and I value fairness.

Radicalism

Jeremy Bentham led the development of radicalism in England near the end of the 18th century. The core beliefs of the movement were based on a foundation of utilitarianism, a moral philosophy in which the best decision is that which benefits the greatest number of people. The movement was driven by the middle class. The concept this ideology rested on was equality. (Europe 1815-1848, n.d.) The positive aspects of radicalism included the desire to provide a better quality of life for the lower classes of people. On the flip side, it undermined religion which was a huge source of support and solace for many people. A significant principle of this ideology was the separation of church and state; additionally it was vehemently anti-monarchy. The ideology could be described as progressive as it was a catalyst in transitioning England from the old way of being, the masses being controlled by the church and the king, to the England of today. (Europe 1815-1848, n.d.) Bentham began the slow march toward a society that valued fair treatment.
I would have been a part of the radicalism movement. I believe separation of church and state is extremely important, people should be able worship however they want to worship. I feel that things should be fair, the poor should be treated fairly, and I don’t think the power should be in the hands of the few such as the church and the king. Jeremy Bentham was very forward thinking and I would have been honored to support his ideas, he advocated for women’s equality which is something I support. I feel that radicalism was a necessary response to the oppression the church and the monarch forced upon England in the years prior to Bentham’s leadership,

Republicanism

Republicanism, an ideology that came about after the French Revolution, had much in common with radicalism. This ideology was adamantly against a society’s power resting in the hands of the king and the Catholic Church. Republicanism was also in favor of giving the people the right to vote. (Whittemore, n.d.)Those who supported republicanism valued civic duty and common good. This ideology impacted Europe significantly and had a hand in shaping the beliefs of the men who created the government for the United States of America. On the positive side, republicanism gave power to the people through voting. On the other hand, the focus on the common good was not helpful for growth through individualism.
As republicanism is very similar to radicalism, I would have been in favor of it. I would have welcomed the changes this ideology brought about after the French Revolution. Of course, if I was a member of the upper echelon of society, I would have been threatened by republicanism. Republicanism took the power out of the hands of the few and put it in the hands of the many. As a member of the masses I would have supported that transition of power. I think power is better in the hands of the masses, more people have a higher quality of life if representatives are elected by voting rather than based on the church and monarchy. I feel that republicanism was a significant step in the right direction because it helped many people in Europe live better lives as well as provided some of the ideals the United States of America are built on. I would have felt inspired by radicalism and republicanism and proud to be a part of movements that helped so many people.

Socialism

Socialism was an ideology that developed in reaction to the poverty and injustice of the Industrial Revolution. One of the main supporters of socialism was Robert Owen, who was outraged by the workers miserable quality of life in comparison to the manufacturer’s tranquil quality of life. He took action and raised the pay for his workers. Socialism is based on the concept that benefits should be spread equally among people rather than one group taking advantage of another group. To accomplish this, parts of the economy need to be run by the government rather than the private sector. (Europe 1815-1848, n.d.) One of the strengths of socialism is that is levels the playing field rather than catering so heavily to the rich. One of the weaknesses of socialism is that it can be demotivating, it doesn’t push people to work harder so it can create a downturn in production and quality. Socialism impacted Europe by the creation of some intentional communities implementing ideas such as respecting individual desires and making work enjoyable for people. Socialism can still be seen in present day Europe in the health and education systems.
I am a big fan of socialism so I would have responded to it well. I think people should be free to live however they want to live so an ideology that respects individual desires is appealing to me. I also agree that work should be fun and enjoyable. I feel that socialism is much more effective than classical liberalism and the free market. The free market may improve production and quality but it does so at the detriment of the lower classes of people. To me, people are more important than business so socialism fits my value system better than classical liberalism. I think socialism is much more humane than classical liberalism. In contemporary America, socialism is more in alignment with the Democrats and classical liberalism is more in alignment with the Republicans. They aren’t exactly the same but the left cares more about people and the right cares more about money. Since I am a bit of a bleeding heart, I would support an ideology that benefits people before one that cares more about money.

Nationalism

Nationalism is an ideology that started with France and Great Britain and spread to other European countries. The core concept of nationalism is a people’s commitment to their nation: “States built up symbolic capital with, among other things, the purpose of creating cultural and structural conditions under which their power could be justified and, in fact, welcome. The nation stands as the centerpiece of this symbolic capital.” (Lopez-Alves , 2015) Some believe nationalism speaks to a deep seeded desire within human nature to interact with like people, others believe it is just another social construct. (Whittemore, n.d.) One of the positive things about nationalism is that it brings like people together, it creates a strong sense of unity. One of the negative things about nationalism is that is encourages racism and other forms of bigotry. The best example of the potentially horrendous side effects of nationalism is Nazi Germany. Hitler used the ideology to force people he didn’t see as worthy of being a part of Germany – Jews, gays, gypsies and others – into concentration camps. Millions of innocent people died because of nationalism.
I would never support nationalism. I would do everything in my power to fight against it. Diversity is what makes a society strong, I would never want to be a part of a society where everyone is the same. I feel that nationalism is built on a foundation of hate and discrimination, two things I have no interest in being connected with. I also think nationalism sacrifices individual identity because people become so indoctrinated to be a part of the whole, I value individualism very highly so I wouldn’t want to be a part of something that could strip that from people. Plus having massive group think makes it easier for large groups to be manipulated, such as what Hitler did. If people in Germany had been more capable of thinking for themselves the Holocaust might not have happened. The only ideology more destructive than nationalism is fascism, the type that Hitler utilized that romanticized violence, masculinity, youth and charismatic leadership.

Works Cited

Lopez-Alves, Fernando. "Which State, Which Nation? States And National Identity In Europe, South America, And The United States Compared, 1750-1930." Documentos De Trabajo 510 (2013): 1-56. Academic Search Complete. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
“Europe 1815-1848 Battling Ideologies (1815-1830)”. SparkNotes. BN.com, n.d. Web. Mar. 2015.
Pejovich, Svetozar. "The Emergence Of Liberal Socialism In Continental Europe." Economic Affairs 29.4 (2009): 94-97. Business Source Complete. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
Whittemore, Jessica. “Liberalism, Radicalism, and Republicanism in the 1800s”. Study.com. n.d. Web. Mar. 2015.

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