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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 - The Restoration of Europe - Conservatism sept 21.docx

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Vasilis Dimitriadis

Lecture 5 - The Restoration of Europe - Conservatism Tuesday, September 24, 2013 11:43 PM  Conservatism was a political force introduced right at the beginning of the French Revolution and the ideology was so strong it has remained a viable political force that it lasts even today.  Conservatism wanted to ensure the survival of the previous political structure, the pre-revolutionary system.  This was a backlash to the enlightenment and attempted to undermine the changing movement in Europe. Enlightenment argued that God did not put absolutist monarchies there rather that the rich placed.  They argued that enlightenment led to the French revolution which led to the Reign of Terror. Hence we have to go back to the old ways and must preserve the old political system.  Two philosophers who promoted the idea who’s premise was accepted were Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre Edmund Burke  He greatly criticized the revolution and claimed that private property must always be preserved and respected. Any political system that attacks private property will result in a carnage. Furthermore, much better a political system be based on prejudice and traditions with change coming slowly, bit by bit rather than a radical and immediate transformation. He was a member of the liberal party and promoted constitutional monarchies. He wanted to curtail his own British monarchy even more. He had no political agenda. He declared that no political system can be placed on reason, there will never be a clean cut political system that suits all. Such a political system will lead to the foundations of a dictatorship that would undermine the political system, society and threaten the world.  Every prediction of Burke came true. Since then, his vision of conservatism became one of the most accepted aspects of conservatism  modern, not promote violent upheavals, try and accommodate all.   Joseph de Maistre  He criticized the elimination of all classes and stated it would result in great disaster. This came true as this elimination of classes led to violent upheaval.  De Maistre thought in different terms, he wanted to return back to the two pillars of society, the throne and the altar. Go back to the old political structure of all European states. Safe-guard the interests of the throne  the monarch, and the altar  the church. He declared that by destroying the monarchy and nationalizing the church, it resulted in an atheist state that plunged Europe into a war. His additional sentence was that on all aspects of life outside of the political realm, the pope should reign supreme on all decisions.   In Practice:  Britain  They suspended the ‘Habeas Corpus’, this caused for any arrest to need some sort of evidence, there could be no arterial arrest. This caused great dissent among the British who called for greater political representation, more rights and a more modern society. This resulted in a Peterloo demonstration for more rights.  In England, following the Peterloo Massacre of August 16, 1819, the British government a
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