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Ideology of liberalism, nationalism and early utopian socialism Essay

Many events were started by clashes between supporters of each idea and these clashes forced many people to fight for their beliefs. Three of the main ideas that arose from this time period were liberalism nationalism and socialism.

The basic ideas that founded liberalism and socialism are somewhat contradictory. Liberalism is completely focused upon the good of the individual where socialism is focused on the good of society overall. Liberalism was supported by the middle class as they would receive the biggest benefits from political representation, civil liberties and a written constitution to protect their rights. Socialism provided the most for workers regardless of class. This was because socialism called for publicly owned property and an economy handled completely by the government. Nationalism arouse from an awareness of being part of a community that has common institutions, traditions, language and customs.

They believed that each nationality should have its own government. It refers to a feeling of cultural identity where one is loyal to a country rather than a king. Factors that promote nationalism are language, traditions, religion and defined territorial boundaries. Nationalism and liberalism became strong allies during the first half of the 19th century. The Nineteenth Century was filled with political turmoil between the nobles, the middle class, and the working class. This would lead to better rights backed with trade unions to protect workers on the job, welfare to protect workers unable to work and even a more democratic form of politics that would allow more workers to vote.

Many historical events and people are associated with the development of liberalism. Socialists setup the Paris Commune, a socialist government in Paris, that would become the site of thousands of deaths by the time the French had worked to end the Commune. Their joint work on “The Communist Manifesto”, a publication about the working class movement, would have an impact on the socialist movement years after it was published. By the mid Nineteenth Century liberalism was losing its popular following and people were looking for alternatives. Despite this, many lives would be lost in clashes with liberals and conservatives. Early liberalism arose from Eighteenth Century Enlightenment. Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo were concerned with the size of the population and fears that overpopulation would bring about terrible working conditions for the middle class in business and economical affairs.


Western Civilization, volume 2: since 1500, 5th edition, Jackson J. Spielvogel

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