nationalism, liberalism, and conservatism

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Transcript nationalism, liberalism, and conservatism

The Birth and Growth of
Ideologies in Europe
Ideologies in Europe
 Ideologies
developed out of a variety
of new ideas and circumstances in
European history, such as the
Enlightenment and the French
 Political, social, and economic
upheavals were the driving factors
behind the birth and growth of
Ideologies in Europe
 Nationalism,
liberalism, and
conservatism would be the three
main ideologies to emerge in this
time period
 Later ideologies would include
communism, socialism, and fascism
 Romanticism influenced all of these
but it was more of a mood than a
movement or ideology
 Nationalism
is the belief that people
derive their identity from their nation
and owe their nations their primary
 Some criteria for nationalism include
a common language, religion,
political authority, traditions, and
shared historic experiences
 As
traditional religious values
became undermined, nationalism
offered a new locus of faith and
became an ideal espoused as
strongly as a religion
 The Italian, Giuseppe Mazzini (18051872), declared that nationalism was
“a faith and mission” ordained by
God, which helps to explain why so
many people were drawn to it
Nationalism’s earliest manifestation,
cultural nationalism, had its roots in
Rousseau’s ideas of the organic nature of
a people
 Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1833),
Rousseau’s German disciple, declared
that every people has a “national spirit”
 Intellectuals all over Europe began
collecting folk poems, songs and tales to
find out more about this spirit
 The
Grimm brothers, Jacob and
Wilhelm, documented the German
spirit by collecting fairly tales which
they published, including “Little Red
Riding Hood” and “Snow White”
 Political
nationalism developed in the
1770s among the French nobility and
then during the French Revolution
when neighbouring countries
attacked France, prompting the
Legislative Assembly to call on the
French people to save the nation
 In response to the threat posed by
France, German and Italian
intellectuals embraced nationalism
 The
German philosopher, Johann
Gottlieb Fichte, in his Addresses to
the German Nation, issued following
the Prussian defeat at Jena, called on
all Germans to rise up against
 Fichte argued that Germans were
endowed with a special genius that
had to be safeguarded for the benefit
of all mankind
The Italian writer, Vittorio Alfieri, argued
that it was not the French, but the
Italians, as the heirs and descendants of
ancient Rome, who had the right to lead
the peoples of Europe
 Greek nationalist intellectuals promoted
their ancient culture by reissuing the
classics of ancient Greek literature, and by
“purifying” the Greek language, ridding it
of developments in popular speech
 Herder
and Mazzini believed it was
the destiny of Europe’s peoples to
achieve nationhood and that then
European nations would live side by
side in peace
 The
notion of a new style, opposed
to the rationalism of and classicism
of the Enlightenment, emerged
toward the end of the 18th century
 German
writers of the “Sturm und
Drang” (Storm and Stress)
movement in the 1780s, in
particular, had defied convention and
celebrated emotion
 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a
famous German writer of this group,
who wrote his well-known work, The
Sorrows of Young Werther
Although by 1800 German critics had
made a distinction between “classical” and
“romantic,” the term romantic has
nonetheless escaped definition
 Romanticism was more of a mood than a
 The essence of romanticism was a
rejection of established rules and
The romantics were quite diverse in
their politics and aesthetics, but
they tended to share four things:
First, they rejected the 18th
century’s limitations on form and
structure in art
 In
music, romantics such as Ludwig
van Beethoven, the unparalleled
master of the symphony, and Richard
Wagner, the dogmatic theorist and
practitioner of “total opera,” gleefully
disregarded inherited conventions of
form, and of orchestra size and
 Poets
such as William Wordsworth
deliberately chose a poetic
vocabulary closer to spoken English
than to the measured couplets of
predecessors such as Alexander Pope
 Continental drama abandoned for
good the restrictions on subject,
time, and place that Aristotle’s
aesthetic theories had imposed
Secondly, the romantics prized
emotion, the stronger the better
The line between emotion and
morbid self-preoccupation was
narrow, but the romantic emphasis
on the creative power of the
individual’s imagination was a
liberating force
Thirdly, the romantics tended to
celebrate nature
Their nature was not that of the
manicured 18th-century ornamental
garden, but nature in its raw form
Rousseau showed the way with his
mystical Reveries of a Solitary Wanderer.
This celebration of nature applied to such
things as the poetry of Wordsworth and
the philosophy of Spinoza
Finally, the romantics both celebrated
and embodied the cult of the solitary,
youthful, misunderstood genius
The genius defied convention and
perhaps suffered persecution for political
The cult of the artist as misfit was in part
an extension of romantic emphasis on
imagination, on the creative power of the
 The
collapse of aristocratic art
patronage after 1789 may also have
contributed, for the middle classes
were not yet rich enough to step in
 Romanticism
did not outlast midcentury, but it broke Enlightenment
formalism for good
 Art was henceforth what the artist,
the individual as towering genius,
decreed it to be
 Liberalism
descended directly from
the Enlightenment’s critique of 18th
c. absolutism
 19th c. liberals believed that
individual freedom was best
safeguarded by reducing government
powers to a minimum
They wanted to impose constitutional
limits on government, establish the rule of
law, eliminate all restrictions on individual
enterprise – specifically, state regulation
of the economy – and ensure a voice in
government for men of property and
 Romanticism influenced liberalism by
emphasizing individual freedom and the
imperative to develop the human
personality to its full potential
 Liberalism
was also affected by
nationalism, especially in
multinational autocratic states like
Austria, Russia, and the Ottoman
Empire, in which free institutions
could be established only if political
independence were wrested from,
respectively, Vienna, St. Petersburg,
and Constantinople
Liberalism was both an economic and a
social theory
 In 1776, Adam Smith (1723-1790), a
Scottish economist, published An Inquiry
into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth
of Nations
 Smith advocated freeing national
economies from mercantilism, under
which the state regulated the prices and
conditions of manufacture
 Smith
argued for letting the free
forces of the marketplace shape
economic decisions, stating that the
economy would be guided as if “by
an invisible hand”
 In France this policy was called
laissez faire (to leave alone)
 Thomas
Malthus (1766-1834), an
Anglican minister, in his An Essay of
the Principle of Population argued
that if employers paid their
employees more money they would
marry earlier and have more
children, thus glutting the labour
market and driving wages down
David Ricardo (1772-1823), an English
stockbroker, in his Principles of Political
Economy (1817), stated that capitalists
had to keep lowering wages, because they
were capitalists’ major expenses, and that
the economy is driven by laws and any
intervention will worsen the situation
 Liberals in the political realm argued that
political power must be limited to prevent
 While
some liberals, such as Jeremy
Bentham (1748-1832) (known for his
utilitarianism) and John Stuart Mill
(1803-1873), both of England,
argued for universal suffrage, other
liberals feared the masses and
vigorously opposed democracy,
believing that the vote should be
reserved for the well-off and
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), an
American president and follower of the
Enlightenment, asserted in the Declaration
of Independence that “life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness” were inalienable
 The basic tenets of liberalism were the
sanctity of human rights, freedom of
speech and freedom to organize, the rule
of law and equality before the law, and the
abolition of torture
 Conservatism
was the guiding
principle of the powers represented
at the Congress of Vienna
 The period after 1815 is known as
the Restoration, for the restoration of
the conservative order and
hereditary monarchy
Conservative ideology developed as a
reaction against the ideas of the
philosophes and the revolutionaries
 In particular, conservatives objected to the
excessive reliance of the philosophes on
reason, especially abstract reason which
was used to justify “natural rights” and
the introduction of new political and social
 As
a coherent movement
conservatism sprang up both during
and after the French Revolution to
support resistance to the forces of
change; prior to this it hadn’t been
thought necessary to create a
coherent conservative ideology; the
existing political institutions
appeared to be permanent
 Conservatism
emphasized the need
to preserve the existing order
 Edmund Burke, an Irish-born,
English statesman and political
theorist, launched one of the first
intellectual assaults on the French
Revolution in his Reflections on the
Revolution in France
 In
an attack on the claims by the
revolutionary National Assembly,
which stated that ancient
prerogatives had been superseded
by the rights of man and principles of
human equality based on appeals to
natural law, Burke stated that such
claims were abstract and dangerous
and that the belief in human equality
undermined the social order
 Burke
appealed to “experience” as a
guide in politics, which was part of a
broader appeal to “tradition” and
“history” which were at the heart of
conservative political thought
 Some counter-revolutionaries and
ultra-royalists wanted to restore
society to its pre-revolutionary
 Burke,
however, was willing to
countenance some change, but it
had to take place slowly because
both society and government are
products of a long historical
development, and therefore of a
great deal of experience that no man
could amass in one lifetime
Most conservatives agreed that society
was an organism that had evolved over
centuries and that the individuals who
composed it were indissolubly bound with
those who had preceded them and those
who were to follow
 For conservatives it was meaningless to
talk of “individual liberty” apart from
society, since freedom could be achieved
only through the community
 The community took precedence over the
 This
was in opposition to the
Enlightenment emphasis on the
individual and his rights
 This emphasis stemmed from John
Locke and his disciples who viewed
society and government as
necessary evils or artificial
 Conservatives
deplored the
persecution of the church during the
revolution and the lack of respect for
ecclesiastical authority and attacks
on Christian dogma
 For conservatives, organized religion
was essential to the social order
Conservatism was influenced by
romanticism, with its glorification of the
past, taste for pageantry, and belief in the
organic unity of society
 Not all conservatives were romantics.
Metternich saw his work as the attempt of
an enlightened mind to restore the world
that had been undermined by the
emotional turmoil of the French Revolution
The thought of German philosophy
professor, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
(1770-1831) was interpreted by many of
his disciples as a defense of the
conservative order re-established by the
Congress of Vienna
 Hegel believed that history was propelled
from one stage to another by the “world
spirit” incarnate in the dominant power
The birth of modern ideologies took place
in 19th century Europe
 These ideologies grew and were modified
over time
 These ideologies remain in our present
day and continue to be debated, with
conflict taking place between them
 The greatest showdown between
ideologies took place in World War II and
the Cold War which followed