19 th Century Ideas
Foundations of Modern Political,
Social, and Economic Thought
Political ideology that
developed in the late 18th
social and political order of
Europe as natural (royalty).
the possibilities of radical
British MP Edmund Burke
was its most vocal
Edmund Burke advocate.
Associated with ideas of social progress,
economic development, and individualism
that emerged in the Enlightenment.
Closely associated with middle class values
Generally advocated political reforms, but
also promoted an orderly society.
In this way, it was often limited in scope and
not concerned for the needs of the masses.
Political liberalism was based on the ideas
of John Locke, Voltaire and other
philosophes of the 18th century .
Political liberalism called for greater
individual rights, religious freedom, freedom
of the press, property rights, representative
government (at least for the middle class,
Based mostly on laissez-faire ideas of Adam
Smith and other economists.
Markets should be as free from government
intervention as possible.
– An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)
– Population growth would outstrip food.
– “Iron Law of Wages”
– labor based on supply and demand
Smith criticized both guild and
systems as restraining.
Promoted liaise-faire (i.e.
classical liberalism) ideology in
The Wealth of Nations (1776).
Free market economy based
on division of labor and the
fewest government restrictions
Utilitarianism and Socialism
As the 19th century progressed, more and
more politicians, economists and
philosophers began to see that
conservatism and liberalism were not
serving the needs of the developing
They began to theorize about alternative
systems that would bring about a better
– Argued that gov’t
sometimes needed to
intervene on behave of the
– Every human practice
should be valued in terms
of its utility (happiness).
– Individual freedom with the
benefits for the most
John Stuart Mill
– Further evolution of
liberal doctrine away
– Strong advocate of
– Supported formation of
universal suffrage, and
child labor restrictions.
– Socialists of the early 19th century did not have
a coherent ideology, but different ideas put
– Common to most were the ideas of the abolition
of private property (either owned by the state of
by groups of workers.
– And the need to educate workers to cooperate
as apposed to compete.
– Textile entrepreneur who
advocated socialist ideas.
– Put workers rights and wages
into action at New Lanark,
– Began socialist New Harmony
community in Indiana in 1826.
– New Harmony failed and he
returned to England
– Published The Organization
of Work (1840) calling for
universal manhood suffrage
and the creation of a workers
– The worker’s would
eventually control the
government and establish
socialist workshops, pushing
private industries out of
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Son of an attorney in
Received his doctorate in
philosophy in 1842.
His radical views denied
him a place at the
In 1844, he moved to
Paris and began working
with Friedrich Engels.
In The Communist Manifesto and Das
Kapital Marx and Engels developed the
concepts of scientific socialism.
– Ideas on the development of history based on
dialectic of Hegel as well as materialism and
– Dialectical materialism states that:
Economic conditions provide basis for social order
Economic conditions determine the nature of
everything else (superstructure)
This expresses itself in different forms throughout
Class struggle was the basis of change
This was repeated throughout history in the
dialectical model (thesis in conflict with
antithesis = synthesis)
– Aristocracy in conflict with bourgeoisie (18th and
19th century revolutions) led to new capitalist
– In the future, bourgeoisie would be challenged
by proletariat (working class) and be
overthrown in a new communist society (final
phase of history).
The Socialist Critique
Utilitarian and especially socialist writers
and thinkers began to criticize the assertions
of liberal capitalist society, especially in
dealing with the condition of workers.
As the century progressed, conservatism
became more associated with the
aristocracy, liberalism with the bourgeoisie,
and socialism with the working class.
The Modern Political Continuum
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