Wednesday, October 22, 2014

19th Century Ideologies

    We have thought a lot about Nationalism, Liberalism and Conservatism in the past few days. And we have asked this question, "What were the major political ideologies of the 19th century and how did they influence social and political action?" And we debunked it by forming groups and made one minute projects to support one of the Ideologies. In class, the groups went head to head in a battle for the most informative project. The groups who won went off with the feeling of triumph for having helped the class learn something. Those who lost had to content themselves with only the knowledge they gained. 



    Our group project is above. It details the ideology Nationalism. The setting is in Germany and a Frenchman comes in to ask the way but instead gets an ear full of how Germany is a Nationalistic country. Mike, the boy in the jersey, tells Anna, the foreigner, that his people were united by natural boundaries as well as culture, history and language. This is the definition of Nationalism. People in the 19th century were not thought of as the same nations we think of today. You were English or French if you spoke the native tongue and had a concept of their history. Not if you lived there. Nationalists helped change the political climate by getting rid of foreign rulers who divided them. It was demeaning and weakening. Socially, the people would come together to push towards what they believed was their historic destinies. This, in turn, guided them towards Liberalism. 
         The other two ideologies that we discussed in class were Conservatism and Liberalism. Other groups had to tell about these topics just as mine did. Liberalism was shown as the idea that the government had the responsibility to hold the people's interests at heart and to do what was best for them. This meant getting rid of older monarchy and establishing new systems and traditions. Liberals believed in meritocracy, which meant you were put into office based on what you could do for the country and not wealth of social standing. This changed the political scale. It also changed the social scale by making everyone equal and eliminating hierarchy of classes. That was what appealed to the Nationalists. 
   Conservatism was very different from the others.Where Liberalism believed in breaking free of old binds, Conservatism held firm that tradition was the only guide in both social and political matters. They believed that tradition lead to violence and bloodshed and used the French Revolution to support most of their claims. In the Revolution, change lead to the death of millions. Most of the people who believed in this idea were upper class, as keeping the old traditions helped them stay in power and wealth. Most political ideas stayed the same and social classes thrived under this thought. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Napoleon's Mark

     Most of the world will never forget Napoleon Bonaparte. He has had such an impact on Europe and most of the America's by leading new ideas into the social, economical and political systems that both benefited and deprived the people he ruled. Some were opposed to his ideas and some were behind them to the fullest extent. Madame de Stael, Marshal Micheal Ney, and an essay by Thomas J. Vance show different perspectives on how Napoleon's rule was viewed.
      Most of the people who had been well treated in the years before Napoleon were not too thrilled when he came into power. Especially not Madame de Stael. She had some very forceful opinions and expressed them when she said, "I do not believe Bonaparte became head of the government he had yet formulated a plan for the monarchy.(1)" In this quote, Madame is very angry at Napoleon for taking away the monarchy and the system in which that encroached. It is understandable, considering that Madame would have benefited greatly from the monarchy instead of having to scrounge for food like the proletariat(the Poor). Napoleon changed the way the country was run politically by making himself the one ruler and changed it socially by getting rid of the social classes. People were put into class and social standing by skills instead of birthplace and wealth. He also made education mandatory for most people he ruled, meaning people could be educated on how to run a business. This was more competition for others and less resources for wealthy landowners. Napoleon was the proletariat's hero.
      Napoleon attracted a lot of followers by winning wars and conquering most of Europe. He won the respect of everyone around him by showing immense battle skill and strategy. One of his most adamant followers, Marshal Michael Ney, gushes when he says, "Liberty triumphs in the end, and Napoleon, our august emperor, comes to confirm it. Soldiers, have often lead you to victory. Now I would escort you to join this immortal legion which the Emperor Napoleon conducts to Paris, and which in a few days will reach the capital.(1)" Although this was said after Napoleon was exiled, it still should how he rallied such a questionable force. With that force, he was able to conquer most of Europe and get better resources for France. Napoleon could take as much as he wanted from any of the countries he had control over. Such as Italy, Austria, Holland, Portugal, Prussia, Egypt, Venice, Belgium, Moscow Rhineland and Sweden. And a bonus was that, with control over Spain and Portugal, came the control over most of the Americas at that time. Scary when one person can control so much.
      Today. looking back, we see Napoleon as a distant figure who doesn't really matter. But he did. Without him, most of Europe wouldn't be the way it is and we certainly wouldn't have any of the land we do. It's because of Napoleon that we have the land from the Louisiana Purchase in our country. Thomas J. Vance takes the time to write about many different people who had a lot to saw about the tiny ruler. He quotes a famous and almost inaccessible one when he says, "In his 1885 book, The First Napoleon: A Sketch, Political and Military, Boston's John C. Ropes wrote, 'While we do not hesitate to speak with proper severity of Napoleon's reckless course in 1813 and 1814, of his obstinate adherence to a military solution of the difficulties which encompassed his Empire, of his indifference as a soldier to the evils of war, of his forgetfulness as soldier of his duties as a sovereign, -- while we recognize these defects and faults, let us be equally frank in acknowledging his great qualities, -- his untiring industry, his devotion to the public service, his enlightened views of government and legislation, his humanity.'(2)"   This quote and this author are saying the exact same thing. Napoleon was both good and bad for his country in all aspects. He did questionable things, like pillaging some of the countries he conquered and bring the loot back to France, such as paintings from Italy. He tried to single-handily control all of Europe and, if the opportunity had presented itself, probably most of the world. But Napoleon did to great things too. He introduced education in countries that didn't have it, controlled prices, pushed in new industry and abolished titles of nobility and serfdom. He even overthrew the Directory which was doing a horrible job of ruling France. 
   The effects that Napoleon had on his country far outweigh his true nature or thought process. He did many great and horrible things that are to be counted against or for him. I personally think that the way he ruled was good for Europe in the short term, but not in the long term. Napoleon lost sight of who he was as a ruler and then was exiled for punishment. He set up good foundations for the future but wasn't good enough in the present and he suffered for it. Napoleon left his mark that way. 

Citations:
1.

2. Vance, Thomas J. "The Lost Voices of Napoleonic Historians." The Lost Voices of Napoleonic Historians. Napoleon Series, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marx and Adams as We Know Them

    Have you ever thought that chocolate and some classmates could help you decide how you stood on Capitalism, Communism and Socialism? Well, they can. In class, we were given a certain amount of chocolates and then we had to get up and play rock, paper, scissors to get the other's. But some people were given more than the rest. The class, after playing for a while, decided the same thing: it was generally unfair. Some lost all their chocolate and had to sit down after only the first round. Others won a lot of chocolate. This was defined as Capitalism. Another time, our teacher decides that she would take all of our candy and then redistribute it to the class in the same amount. As we played the game, we would be given more of the same amount. That was defined to us as Socialism. And the last game was that  we would all be forced to share the candy equally and unselfishly. This was Communism. It was easy to understand and that was how we were introduced to the three ideas.
     During a time were capitalism was in  abundance, Karl Marx observed it and noted how he thought it could be worked out. He thought that the poor would eventually rise up and the government would have to be regulated to Socialism, so that everything would be equal. And if all went well, we could be trusted to go to Communism. But there was another system that could have worked in theory. Adam Smith thought that the people should be allowed to do whatever they wanted. And the economy would follow the natural flow of supply and demand and regulate itself. The government wouldn't need control anything. But the economy would take a very long time to regulate and have drastic effects as it did.
   I do not think that either of these theories would work. Karl Marx's would not work because everyone wants to be ahead of their friends and would be driven by competition. A mind set like that would never work with both Communism and Socialism because each need to be perfectly sustained. Adam Smith's would not work either because the economy would not regulate in time and many people would be forced into starvation and death. Plus, people can't be trusted to regulate even the economy. It would skyrocket to unpayable fees and everything would fall into ruin. The system we have now are probably the best way to compromise on both systems. It limits both of them in such a way that we can prosper and grow. So it's pretty great for now.



Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Industrial Revolution for Women

Women throughout the time of the War of 1812 have been relied on to help with the farm. But as more technology was made and farming took a back seat to other ways of producing, they became just another mouth to feed. It became harder and harder for women to find jobs until one fateful day. The mills were born!! As workers were needed, the women were easy to send off. The men and boys were needed to help on the farm still but women were free. So most packed up their bags and headed to Lowell.
    Most women were motivated to start a life for themselves. To break out of what they thought was a men's world and become a standing work force. The experiences taught them much. Girls could begin to read and write while earning a wage to send home and buy new city clothes. They learned about politics and how to become better workers. But the costs were still there. The work was hard and many girls suffered from health problems. It made the younger children have growth deficiencies and nutrition problems. They barley rested. Plus, the pay was eventually lowered so the girls were forced to work twice and much for the same amount. 
     Even with these advancements in the times, women were still looked on as inadequate. When the girls were recruited for the jobs at the mills, they were told they would have to follow a strict moral code and obey certain curfews. They had a strong set of rules to uphold the standards of the mills and morality of the girls. A Boardinghouse keeper to oversee the girls when not working. Every part of the girls day was thoroughly seen. These were the only jobs available to girls even if they didn't like the work and wanted to try something different. Attitudes toward women hadn't changed in the fact that people still thought that they ere only good at so many things. People concluded that women were only good for house work and weaving cloth. It became quite demeaning for the women.