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Socialism and Radicalism Feb 10.docx

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Victoria Wohl

HIS 109 February 10, 2014 Socialism and Radicalism Socialism and Radicalism • Heritage of the enlightenment o Age of reason • French revolution o Different kind of society o Came from the readings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau • Industrial Revolution o Political and economic changes Enlightenment • Isaac Newton o Came up with a set of ideas, defined the laws of the universe o There are two kinds of law, ones that govern the universe and that means that everything not in that category can be changed (contigent, depend on circumstance and context) • Try to get natural law as a model for positive law, so that the law enacted on earth on humans can be closer to the ideal balanced law that governs the universe • Rousseau, 1755, Discourse –attacks John Locke o Private property is a perversion o Possession of private property was the cause of all unjust legal codes and ideas that made some desperately poor and some desperately rich o Cause of inequality and was not a natural right, in the natural world there was no private property o We took what we needed and shared as required o Defined a set of attitudes that challenged the notion of private property o General will, the role of the great humanity exercising their natural will to legistlate on their own behalf was a pointed rebute to the traditional view that people with property should have a greater role in society and that people without property should be excluded o Society legislates against general will because they have private property, they think they have a monopoly over private property o Laws that were enacted against natural law were by nature invalid, contrary to the general will o Any law that protects private property against those who have none should be disobeyed French Revolution • They didn’t want to challenge private property because they liked having it • Declaration of rights of man was a preamble to the 1971 constitution • Private property is to be protected and is a natural right • Revolutions are never consistent, always overtake the intentions of those who start them • Call for liberty, fraternity, and equality motivated the peasants to attack the manor houses of landlord, burn documents, burn houses • French state nationalized the property of the church, it was not protected and was taken with no compensation • 1793, mob in paris took over the government • Radicalism: restructuring and reorganizing of society from the roots up, no entrenched rights, everything is different o Robespierre tried to build a society from radicalism and fear o Radical experiement of French revolution had been contained o Experience had been had and people thought highly of it, some were committed to it and wanted to keep it alive even after it was suppressed from the Directory o Sustained by those who wanted to continue it o Believed that tinkering with the status quo would solve the problems of the world o There needed to be a complete restructuring • Francois Babeuf o Became a disciple of Rousseau o Started to preach a doctrine that society had to be egalitarian and that equality had to be imposed by the group if it were to be truly natural o Got these ideas from Rousseau’s works o Changed his name “Gracchus Babeuf” o Wrote a book that said all men and women must enjoy exact equality and this should be monitored and imposed by the group o Wealth, power, rights should all be exactly equal o “Conspiracy of Equals” o Began to attract followers, lower middle class revolutionaries that had invested heavily in economic schemes in revolutionary o Workers of Paris who had tasted power during Robespierre and didn’t want to give it up o Revolutionary core of people who were willing to take over the state and impose equality o AManifesto  Manifesto of equals for a universal revolution  Everything must be expropriated  No inheritance and the government should be lead by the workers of the city of Paris o People believed they had the answer o Babeuf and his followers were arrested and most were executed, they thought the problem was solved English Radicalism • In England, they searched for rational solutions • English government left them alone because initially they were well born and not seen as dangerous • As soon as the unskilled workers became attracted, the English authorities acted • Radicalism didn’t die with them, the leaders of the English radical movement had a powerful effect on the imagination because of their own personal connections • William Godwin (1756-1836) o Was friends with Woollstonecraft and they had a daughter together o Their daughter wrote “Frankenstein” o Intellectual and cultural influence they had o Father was a Calvanist minister o Stopped by a radical atheist, they entered into a debate and Godwin embraced republicanism and atheism – root to salvation is not religion but education and reason o Godwin provided a link between the utopians and the radicals o Idea of going out there and preaching what you believe to be true o Godwin lived the life that he preached o Read Rousseau, became more convinced that mankind is perfectable and that we are essentially good o Believes that mankind is corrupted by their very nature and that they corrupt the people living under them o Wrote “An inquiry concerning political justice…” o Argues: we are like animals that respond to stimuli, sins of others
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