ANALYTICALESSAY: THE EUROPEAN SOCIETY FROM 1789-1848
ANALYTICALESSAY: THE EUROPEAN SOCIETY FROM 1789-1848
TheEuropean Society regularly underwent ideological, social, andpolitical changes in late eighteenth to early nineteenth century. Themost important features occurring during this period saw theformation of governments, the political distribution of power, andthe position to which the common citizens held in the society. Thegrowth of education saw the rise of many ideologically aware classes,which pushed for the reshaping of the government functions. The mostprominent social and political restructurings happened in France andculminated in the historical French Revolution that sought toredefine the governmental operations. People in the country startedunderstanding that power distribution was uneven and the lessprivileged in the society suffered from oppression and poverty.Later, the Napoleonic wars came, which revolutionized the entireEurope and opened the gates to unified congress from several states.Additionally, the need for change the social and legislativestructure of the society saw the massive call for civil rights, whichled to a particular awakening of women and their fight for equality.Lastly, the industrial revolution and modernization shaped came toreshape the role of common citizens and opened avenues for capitalismand the onset of the contemporary society. Therefore, drawing fromvarious primary sources written in this period it becomes apparentthat the changes in the European society were inevitable, as morepeople became politically aware thereby advocating major societyreformations.
Theneed to change the old political regime in France saw the outburst ofmany activists who sought to understand and criticize the functionsof the government thereby laying the foundation to the Revolution.The 1789 article “What is the Third Estate,” written by AbbeSieyes represents the onset of political upheaval in the Europeansociety1.Sieyes, a middle-class clergyman, understood perfectly that theprivileged few unequally distributed political and social power inFrance, where the proletariat suffered oppression and poverty. In thearticle, he sets out to describe the meaning of the “Third State,”and he utterly points that it is everything and represents all in thesociety. In that essence, the wealthy few in the country had no moralobligation to determine the nation’s direction. In fact, Sieyesclaims that the privileged and the noble order in France had longceased to be part of the society, as they enjoyed more at the expenseof the poor citizens2.According to his definition of a nation, “it is a body ofassociates living under a common law and represented by the samelegislature.”3Here, it becomes apparent that few individuals belonging to the nobleorder had more privileges, exemptions, and rights, distinct to whatthe common citizens experienced. As such, for a complete equality tobe realized, the regime had to undergo major reforms and probablychange of the political rules.
Thefight to attain civil rights and political freedom in Francecontinued, and the declaration of rights of men came into effect.However, the society to a great length still neglected the voice ofwomen rendering their exclusion in the 1789 “Declaration of Rightsof Man and the Citizen”4.In that case, one can challenge the holistic purpose of theRevolution and the subsequent constitution to confer all subjects ofthe nation equal. Further, this shows that women in the society hadless privileged and belonged to the minority group with no power.Additionally, the call for women’s rights indicated that thecommunity was finally beginning to move towards civilization anddevelopment. However, the challenges of political stability were moreimportant at the time as the Revolution lacked definitive measuresand purpose to the right direction. This led to the politics ofterror played by the French government to crush all individuals whosought to fight the Revolution and its ideological advancements.Agreeably, the society was in a state of confusion, and the negativecriticism to the government threatened the success and sustainabilityof the revolution.
Thegradual development of laws and escape from the tyrannical rule inFrench continued in favor of the government, which supported theRevolution. Therefore, words such as peace, liberty, freedom and theequality for all became common in most speeches as people becameexcited to achieve justice for all. The 1794 “Report on thePrinciples of Political Morality” prepared by MaximilienRobespierre defended the newly created French Republic’s move tofight enemies of Revolution with terror5.According to Robespierre, liberty gets its relevance in freedom fromtyrannical rule and the installation of equal rights to allindividuals in the republic. Therefore, the administration had tonecessitate strict reign of terror to destroy all people who advancedtheir private interests, while oppressing the poor citizens. Thegovernment had to become democratic in law to reduce the power of afew in deciding the matters of the nation. As such, this was acommitment by the French Republic administration to ensure thatvirtue became central to all the actions and to become increasingimportant in the transformation of the republic. The defense putforward claimed that terror was necessary to extinguish any uprisingthat threatened the government’s need to rule its people withreason6.However, individuals in the republic became weary of this rule ofterror since they observed that it had come to achieve its goals and,therefore, there was a need to discontinue from the same policies.Although the intention was to promote democracy in France, this formreign supported totalitarianism under the pretense of homogenizingthe society towards a freer nation where people enjoyed equal rights.This reflected the society undergoing turmoil and confusion of theway democracy ought to operate in the midst of criticism.
Theeffect of the French Revolution became widespread across Europe andinto Russia where people fought for constitutional rights. However,many governments were not ready for revolutions, and they crushedmost of the uprisings before developing into significant movements.In the post-Napoleonic era, more people became enlightened andsimilar to France they wanted to taste the sweetness of liberty andequality among all citizens. In Russia, people started engaging insecret societies to form a collective power of challenging themonarchical state administration. One of the rebel leaders, PeterKakhovsky, wrote “The Decembrist Insurrection in Russia” in 1825defending his actions of supporting a revolutionary movement sparkedby Tsar Alexander 17.It is evident that people understood the need for change in the oldregime and they craved for freedom, thereby prompting them to jointhe secret societies that agitated the government to undergo atransformation. In his letter, Kakhovsky pointed severalrevolutionary remarks purporting that people “do not exist forgovernments, but that governments must be organized for them.”8This direct challenge shows that The European Society wasideologically developing and the poor citizens were tired ofoppression and denial of civil rights. During this period, peopleunderstood enlightenment and were motivated to fight for freedom andenchainment from tyrannies or rather the privileged few thatcontrolled the government. Further, Kakhovsky points that theNapoleon war of 1813-1814 had sparked a call to freedom andcitizenship in many countries. As such, this is an indication ofrevolutionaries in the western society striving to free themselvesfrom monarchs and having a share of running the government.
Theindustrial revolution marked the road to modernization in Europestarting around 1830 when factories sprung across the continent.Labor in these industries and mines was in plenty and people had thechance to think of improving their financial gains9.However, the society found itself stuck under the authoritarian ruleof tyrants in the job market. For instance, industries in Berlindeveloped work shifts, aimed at improving work efficiency andreducing laxity. These new policies to increase the production levelsoften controlled personal time of many workers, which was challengingsince traditionally people managed their time10.Subsequently, this would change the social and economic status of thesociety and later affect the erupting political regimes in manyEuropean countries. Further, the economic changes saw a growing groupof the middle class in the region who worked in the factories. Inthat case, it became a significant challenge to maintain work, at thesame time stay at home and perform the duties of a mother. Therefore,the society was once more in a conflict where men believed that womendid not possess the right to work in the rapidly developingindustries. Additionally, due to the mixed nature of workersspecifically in the mines, child labor became a major issue as thegovernment`s highly discouraged its onset11.This was the consequences of a society undergoing a socioeconomictransformation in the chase for “money” as industrializationstrongly favored capitalism.
Theeffects of industrialization became apparent in the European society,as capitalism became the centerfold for the industrial society. InGermany, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel strongly opposed capitalismdue to the way it affected the poor people in the community, whomthey named the proletariat. In 1847, Engels composed the “Draft ofa Communist Confession of Faith,” which focused on severalideologies regarding the significance of industrialization and theresulting capitalism12.In this draft, he proposed the progression of communism, which aimedat “organizing the society in a way that every member could developand experience freedom without infringing the fundamental conditionsof his community.”13He observed that the most likely process of achieving communism wasto eliminate ownership of private property that instigated the growthof capitalism. Most importantly, the aim was to protect theproletariat or rather the poor in the society from the oppression bythe wealthy class14.It is evident that the poor citizens depended on their labor to feedthemselves, but in the capitalistic world, the employer would paylittle wages in order to maximize their profits. This fight againstcapitalism was an indicator that the society had undergone tremendouschange such that inequality in wealth was primarily evident andpeople benefited from the loss of others. Therefore, the completeabolition of capitalism would favor communism, which would alter thesocial order but ensure the community received equal opportunities.
TheEuropean society underwent significant social, economic, andpolitical changes as new ideologies towards state governance,democracy, freedom, and equality became more pervasive among thesubjects. The French Revolution was the first of its kind in thissociety, and it sparked many other revolutions and demand forconstitutional rights. However, the community had to adapt to the newreformations and social order for it to align with the ideologicalperspectives. The most apparent feature from this historical analysispoints that many individuals fought for liberation and politicalfreedom. Additionally, it is evident that struggle for equalitycontinued longer in the society as observed even during theindustrialization period. Women fought for their position and classin the society, as they demanded equal treatment in the workforce, aswell as in political matters. Nevertheless, despite their fight, thecommunity was slow to accept their ideologies and accept them asequal citizens. The industrialization significantly affected thesocial order, as the economy and political power became largelydependent on the fast growing factories. In that essence, challengessuch as child labor were imminent, and the governments had to protectthe interest of the future generations by abolishing underageemployment. Although industrialization was imperative for the socialand economic advancement, it created two classes of the society, onebelonging to the poor while the other represented the wealthy class.Sooner, the latter would promote their capitalistic ideas and prey onthe proletariat in the name of profits. As such, Friedrich Engels inGermany became an activist against capitalism and him together withKarl Marx supported communism, which enhanced equal distribution ofresources in the society.
Lualdi,Katharine J. Sourcesof the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures.Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012.
1Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
2 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
3 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
4 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
5Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
6 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
7 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
8 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
9 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
10 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
11 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
12 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
13 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.
14 Katharine J. Lualdi, Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (Bedford-St. Martin`s, 2012), 113-170.