Utopian Societies by 2t1gEC


Moving beyond enlightenment, several groupings of thought acted as agents of change leading up to the
20th century

Romanticism: A reaction to rigid classicism, rationalism, and deism.

       1800-1850 (strongest)
       Emphasized change, so differed from place to place and individual to individual; considered
       Appealed to emotion more than reason
       Nature centered
       Believed in the mystical sense of religion
       Encouraged personal freedom and flexibility
       Optimistic about life

Romantic Art
    Nature loving vs.
    Violence, death, disaster and patriotic remembrances

Romantic Philosophy
    Kant: reality has 2 parts (physical and spiritual)—reason only works for the physical world
    Fichte and Shelling
    Hegel: dialectic (God leads the world to an ultimate end through opposing forces—thesis;
       antithesis; synthesis)
    Challenged the simplicity and clarity of thought of the enlightenment
    More complex view of the world

Conservatism: Reaction to the chaos of the French Revolution. Support came from the traditional
ruling classes. They believed in order, society, and the state, faith and tradition.

       Rejected social contracts
       Self interest led to conflict not social harmony
       Rejected natural rights; not universal, but determined by the state
       Said philosophes underestimated the complexities of human nature.

    Hated “liberal society”
       Poked holes in the “heartlessly selfish middle-class”


       More like the enlightenment thoughts concerning individualism.
       More reform the revolutionary minded
       Mostly from the middle class or bourgeoisie, and emphasized individual rights as long as it didn’t
        upset the apple cart.
       People had natural rights and gov’t should protect them
       Written constitution important
       Adam Smith’s view of economics was believed in
       Free trade was needed
       Education was key

    Led to many written constitutions in German states
    Warned against giving up personal liberty to order and protection


       Raised the level of consciousness of people having common language, soil, customs, history,
        culture, and shared experiences.
       Early 19th century was more positive and civic minded as opposed to the more hate-filled
        characteristics of later in the century.
       Breakdown of loyalties to church and dynasties led people to look for new places to give their

    Johann Gottfried Herder (German—father of nationalism) said everyone has unique national
       character or Volksgeist which evolved over centuries. Each grouping had a right to become a
       sovereign nation.
    Radicals would argue that because no area was pure, that no one group could dominate, thus all
       were equal and the overthrow of govt’s was imminent.

Socialism: Social evils of industrialisms led some to look at controlling laissez-faire ideas of capitalism.

       Utopian Societies; society to be organized as a community, rather than a clash of competing,
        selfish individuals
       Anarchy; advocated terrorism as a means to ending capitalism and the state.
       Christian Socialism; believed the evils of industrialism could be overcome by Christian principles.
        Later took on a more sinister, racist turn.
   Scientific Socialism or Marxism; creation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that promoted a
    violent end of capitalist rule. Replaced utopian hopes with a brutal militant blueprint for
    socialist, working class success.
        o Marx’s dialectical materialism borrowed from Hegel’s dialectic theories, using history as
             the force.
        o All history has been determined by economic factors—who controls the means of
             production and distribution
        o Throughout history there has been a struggle between the haves and have nots.
        o The true value of a product is labor, and since the worker receives a small portion of his
             just labor price, the difference is surplus value, “stolen” from him by the capitalist.
        o Socialism is inevitable. Capitalism will “eat itself” by the ever increasing gap between
             the owners of production and the laboring class.

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