F-7 French Revolution
M-10 Baroque/Enlightenment Test
W-12 Reassessing Good & Evil
R-13 Romantic Literature & Music
698-699, #2 (much reading)
#3 (much reading--but important)
T-18 The Victorian Transition
#1. WILLIAM BLAKE: EMOTION IS GOOD
Sitting around discussing ideas may be very civilized. But it is not terribly exciting. A new generation felt that calm logic was not much different from the old religion--just another gimmick to keep people from doing what they wanted. Logic and civilization seemed artificial and phoney. They wanted people to feel free and natural--to let their emotions come out.
Romanticism was an age of energy. Energy exploded in Beethoven's music. Energy ran the machines of the new industrial age. Energy throbbed in new religions--from Methodist to Salvation Army. Energy caused slaves and captive nations to throw off their chains. And energy is what William Blake wrote about.
Blake printed his own books, containing his own ideas, written in his own verse, and illustrated with his own drawings. He felt deeply religious in his own mysterious way, but he warned that the labels had gotten switched around. A person who followed his creative energies got called "evil." And a person who let parents, teachers, priests, and policemen control him got called "good." Blake decided he would rather be called "evil" by the oppressors.
Note--When Blake uses the word "priest," he includes Voltaire. and every other person who tries to control human emotions.
Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau,* *Enlightenment philosophers
Mock on, mock on; 'tis all in vain;
You throw the sand against the wind
And the wind blows it back again.
And every sand becomes a gem
Reflected in the beams divine;
Blown back, they blind the mocking eye,
But still in Israel's paths they shine.
The atoms of Democritus+ +Ancient Greek founder of atomic theory
And Newton's particles of light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel's tents do shine so bright.
from THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL
All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following errors:
1. That Man has two real existing principles: That is: a Body & a Soul.
2. That energy, called Evil, is alone from the Body & that Reason, called Good, is alone from the Soul.
3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.
But the following Contraries to these are True:
1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned+ by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
2. Energy is the only life, and is from the Body; and Reason is the bound# or outward circumference of Energy.
3. Energy is Eternal Delight ....
Proverbs of Hell:
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
Prudence is a rich, ugly old maid courted by Incapacity.
No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wing.
Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.
The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.
The lust of the goat is the bounty@ of God.
The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.
The nakedness of woman is the work of God.
Expect poison from standing water.
You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.
As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.
Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without Improvement are roads of Genius....
Let the Priests of the Raven of dawn no longer, in deadly black, with hoarse note curse the sons of joy. Nor his accepted brethren--whom, tyrant, he calls free--lay the bound* or build the roof. Nor pale religious letchery call that virginity that wishes but acts not!
For every thing that lives is Holy,
THE GARDEN OF LOVE
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built In the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And "Thou shalt not" writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore;
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be;
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds
And binding with briars my joys & desires.
#2. DREAMERS OF DREAMS AND TELLERS OF TALES
The Romantic period was a great age for poets and storytellers, They roused the emotions, praised the simple life, glorified the heroic, and let their imaginations soar.
Several English poets besides Blake became important. Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote about adventures in strange far-away lands. His friend, William Wordsworth, wrote about the beauties of nature. In the following poem, Wordsworth feels bothered that factory and city people no longer notice nature, He says that the ancient Greeks were far better off, for they could see gods in every part of nature.
THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH US
by WILLIAM WORDSWORTH
The world is too such with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!* *miserable gift
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A pagan suckled on a creed outworn+ +a Greek raised on myths
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea# #grassland
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus@ rising from the sea: @Greek gods
Or hear old Triton@ blow his wreathed horn.
Some of the Romantics rebelled against the rules of society. Lord Byron was a dashing handsome young poet who got kicked out of college for keeping a bear in his rooms. He seduced women all over Europe, and left England forever, after a scandal involving his half-sister. He worked underground for the Italian Revolution until he was discovered and thrown out of Italy. Then he became a soldier fighting for the Greek Revolution. He died in the struggle at age thirty-six. The grateful Greek people raised money to send his body back to England for burial with the other great poets in Westminster Abbey. As the coffin made its way across Europe, people flocked to show their respect for this champion of liberty. But the English refused to bury him with their nice poets. They buried him out back somewhere, and forgot to mark the spot. Byron had earlier given his dog a magnificent tomb,
Byron broke the rules in his poetry also. In long heroic poems, he would slip in lines like these:
"But--Oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual,
Inform us truly, have they not hen-peck'd you all?"
Byron's friend, Percy Bysshe (bish) Shelley, also broke the rules. Shelley was expelled from high school after blowing up the chemistry laboratory. He got thrown out of college for writing a pamphlet in favor of atheism. He eloped with a sixteen-year-old girl to Ireland, where they spent their honeymoon passing out revolutionary pamphlets. Then he fell in love with another girl and eloped with her also. He invited both wives to live with him in Switzerland. The first one committed suicide instead. Mary Shelley, the second wife, wrote the horror story, Frankenstein. He drowned in a storm at age thirty.
Shelley believed in complete freedom--political, religious, and sexual. He wrote this poem about Rameses II, the firm ruler of ancient Egypt:
OZYMANDIAS by PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert...Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage* lies, whose frown, *face
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"+ +you cannot match them
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
In Germany, the Grimm brothers interviewed old ladies, and wrote down their ancient tales--including "Snow White," 'Hansel and Gretel," "Rumpelstiltskin," and "Cinderella." In Denmark, Hans Christian Andersen wrote his own fairy tales--and wrote them to teach important lessons. "The Ugly Duckling" reminds children not to worry about the awkward stages of their growing up. "The Emperor's Nightingale" emphasizes that machine-made products offer a poor substitute for nature. "The Emperor's New Clothes" shows how people can be cheated when no one dares to speak the simple truth,
Aleksander Pushkin (POOSH-kyin) is considered the founder of Russian literature. He was of Black descent. (So was Alexandre Dumas (dyoo-MAH), the French Romantic author of The Three Musketeers.) Pushkin wrote this about his poetry shortly before he died in a duel at age thirty-eight:
from MY MONUMENT by ALEKSANDER PUSHKIN
I've reared myself a monument not made with hands;
The path to it shall never be overgrown with grass,
Where it with high, unbending head shall tower
Above Napoleon's column.
Not wholly shall I die: the soul that nursed my muse* *creativity
My dust shall long outlive+ and shall defy decay; +shall outlive my dust
And men shall love to chant my lays,# whilst on our earth #poems
A single bard@ doth breathe or sing.... @poet
Count Leo Tolstoy (tull-STOY,) became Russia's other great Romantic writer. Though he was a nobleman, he worked to help the poor peasants. He was a saintly man who believed people should live as humbly and reverently as Jesus did. After his big books, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, he turned to writing simple little tales which the peasants could read,
In this story, Pahom (pa-HOME) has become greedy for land. He travels to a place where the tribesmen will sell him as much land as he can walk around in a day. The land looks so fertile that he walks a long way before he turns left. Soon it is noon.
from HOW MUCH LAND DOES A MAN NEED? by LEO TOLSTOY
At first he walked easily: the food had strengthened him; but it had become terribly hot, and he felt sleepy; still he went on, thinking: "An hour to suffer, a life-time to live."
He went a long way in this direction also and was about to turn to the left again when he perceived* a damp hollow. "It would be a pity to leave that out," he thought. "Flax would do well there.'' So he went on past the hollow and dug a hole on the other side of it before he turned the corner. Pahom looked toward the hillock.+ The heat made the air hazy; it seemed to be quivering, and through the haze the people on the hillock could scarcely be seen.
"Ah!" thought Pahom, "I have made the sides too long; I must make this one shorter." And he went along the third side, stepping faster. He looked at the sun: it was nearly half way to the horizon, and he had not yet done two miles of the third side of the square. He was still ten miles from the goal. "No," he thought, "though it will make my land lopsided, I must hurry back in a straight line now. I might go too far, and as it is I have a great deal of land,"
So Pahom hurriedly dug a hole and turned straight toward the hillock.
Pahom went straight toward the hillock, but he now walked with difficulty. He was done up with the heat, his bare feet were cut and bruised, and his legs began to fail. He longed to rest, but it was impossible if he meant to get back before sunset. The sun waits for no man. And it was sinking lower and lower.
"Oh dear.," he thought, "if only I have not blundered trying for too much! What if I am too late?"
He looked toward the hillock and at the sun. He was still far from his goal, and the sun was already near the rim.
Pahom walked on and on; it was very hard walking, but he went quicker and quicker. He pressed on, but was still far from the place. He began running, threw away his coat, his boots, his flask, and his cap, and kept only the spade,# which he used as a support.
"What shall I do," he thought again, "I have grasped too much and ruined the whole affair. I can't got there before the sun sets."
And this fear made him still more breathless. Pahom went on running, his soaked shirt and trousers stuck to him, and his mouth was parched. His breast was working like a blacksmith's bellows, his heart was beating like a hammer, and his legs were giving way as if they did not belong to him....
Pahom looked at the sun, which had reached the earth; one side of it had already disappeared. With all his remaining strength he rushed on, bending his body forward so that his legs could hardly follow fast enough to keep him from falling. Just as he reached the hillock It suddenly grew dark. He looked up--the sun had already set! He gave a cry, "All my labor has been in vain," thought he, and was about to stop, but he heard the Bashkirs@ still shouting, and remembered that though to him, from below, the sun seemed to have set, they on the hillock could still see it. He took a long breath and ran up the hillock. It was still light there. He reached the top and saw the cap. Before it sat the Chief laughing and holding his sides. Again Pahom remembered his dream, and he uttered a cry; his legs gave way beneath him, he fell forward and reached the cap with his hands.
"Ah, that's a fine fellow!" acclaimed the Chief. "He has gained much land!"
Pahom's servant came running up and tried to raise him, but he saw that blood was flowing from his mouth. Pahom was dead!
The Bashkirs clicked their tongues to show their pity.
His servant picked up the spade and dug a grave long enough for Pahom to lie in it, and buried him in it. Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed.
+his starting point
#3. EMERSON AND THOREAU
Ralph Waldo Emerson became the most widely-respected American philosopher of his time. He had studied other civilizations--particularly India--and had moved beyond Western ideas of right and wrong. (He used the word "transcend." He and his friends were called Transcendentalists.)
Many Romantics felt that society was corrupt, and that the only way to lead an honest life was to break away from society. Emerson believed that a person can remain true to himself even in the midst of society.
from SELF-RELIANCE by RALPH WALDO EMERSON
To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men--that is genius.... A man should learn to detect and watch that glean of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages.* Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own reflected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.
There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy+ is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides# in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried....
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the Divine Providence has found for you; the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being....
Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.... The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion.@ It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.
Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity* of your own mind. No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is after my constitution; the only wrong, what is against it....
What I must do Is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous+ in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.# It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude....
The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency.... A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.@ With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.--"Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood."--Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
*heaven full of writers and wise men
*being true to
Henry David Thoreau (THOR-oh) was Emerson's closest friend. He, too, was a philosopher, but he tried to live his ideals rather than just write about them. Because he believed in the simple life close to nature, he went to live at Walden Pond for two years. He built a cabin for less than thirty dollars, and spent about four dollars a month on food, clothing, and everything else.
Thoreau urged people to examine their lives, and decide which things were important to them--and not waste their time on the others. Here he explains his reasons for beginning and ending his experiment at Walden:
from WALDEN by HENRY DAVID THOREAU
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front* only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation,+ unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, If It proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime,# to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of It in my next excursion.... Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail. In the midst of this choppy sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder@ and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion....
I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly* we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pondside; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that If one advances confidently In the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new universal and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license+ of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
+give up things
Emerson and Thoreau both argued against the Mexican War. When the cost of the war showed up in the tax bill, Emerson paid it like a dutiful citizen. But Thoreau refused, and went to jail.
He wrote an essay on his experience. For years, people ignored it--until Mahatma Gandhi read it and began practicing civil disobedience in India. Martin Luther King studied the work of Thoreau and Gandhi, and brought civil disobedience back to America. A hundred years after Thoreau wrote it, his essay became one of the most moving forces in the world.
from CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE by HENRY DAVID THOREAU
The practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest.
But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?--in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency* is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think is right.... A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys,+ and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, aye, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines,# at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?...
I have paid no poll tax for six years. I was put into jail once on this account, for one night.... I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen had paid my tax.... I could not but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my meditations, which followed them out again without let or hindrance, and they were really all that was dangerous ....
The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher@ was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose* if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellowman. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered+ it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but have not yet anywhere seen.
#4. THE VICTORIAN TRANSITION
The Victorian Transition was named after Queen Victoria of England, who ruled through more than the last half of the 1800s. Like the Baroque Transition, it was a time of much Puritanism. Our civilization seems to find it easy to slip from the intellectual to the emotional side of behavior. But getting back from the emotional side seems to be a rougher transition.
People felt that emotions had gone too far, that controls were necessary. Women covered their bodies from chin to toes. Men dressed in dull dark colors. Some ladies even put pantaloons on their piano legs, rather than expose them naked. One woman left several thousand dollars in her will to cloth snowmen for the sake of public decency. Certain words like "breast" and "leg" became considered indecent; even at the dinner table, one referred to "the turkey bosom."
The Victorians were frightened. Old values seemed to be toppling. Industrialism was changing everything around them, Three men in particular frightened the Victorians: Darwin, Wagner, and Marx.
Charles Darwin studied wildlife and fossils over much of the world--particularly at the Galapagos (gal-AH-pah-gose) Islands off the coast of Ecuador. There he found iguanas--land lizards--which had learned to eat in the sea because the land was bare lava. He saw cormorants--large sea birds-whose wings had shriveled up because they had not had to fly from enemies for thousands of generations. Scientists knew that many changes had happened in nature since the days of dinosaurs, but Darwin realized that the changes are still happening. Nature was not eternal and constant the way the Romantics and people of the Enlightenment had imagined.
For thousands of years, people had used selective breeding to create new and better types of plants and animals. The American Indians had developed corn and most of our vegetables this way. The Arabs had developed the finest horses by the same principle of selective breeding. Europeans developed most of our breeds of cattle and pigs and dogs the same way. And the process continues. Boston Terriers have existed only a little over a hundred years. And each year the seed catalogues offer new strains of flowers.
Darwin saw the same process at work in creating the different species in nature. But in nature the experiments happened without planning, and most of the experiments failed. Darwin's supporters called this weeding-out process the "survival of the fittest."
Then Darwin pointed out that man, too, has changed. Several types of cavemen have died out. He added that man's closest cousins in the family of nature are the apes. Many people misinterpreted this to mean that man descended from monkeys. Darwin never said that. He said that all animals descended from the same ancestors which originally lived in the sea. Indeed, a human fetus develops gills and a tail which disappear before birth.
Nature, then, was not created for the benefit of man. Instead, man was just one more accident of nature. This idea upset a lot of religious people. But gradually, church leaders discovered that Darwin and the Bible did not really contradict each other. In fact, just six years after Darwin's book, a monk named Gregor Mendel discovered the laws of heredity by which plants and animal life continue to change. And scientific measuring tools have proven that the world is millions of years older than people had supposed. Today, only a few fundamentalist churches still oppose the idea of evolution.
Until the time of Karl Marx, history books told about battles and the rise and fall of governments. Marx opened the field of economic history. He pointed out that people could study the past just as well by following the changes in working conditions and class struggle. Since then, historians have discovered many ways of studying the past. This class concentrates largely on cultural and intellectual history--the development of ideas.
Marx was a German philosopher who had worked and studied in England. There he found factory conditions appalling. He was not the only one to notice what wretched lived the workers lived. Charles Dickens was writing novels to call public attention to the working conditions. Gilbert and Sullivan wrote musical plays about ridiculous class differences. But Marx did not rely on the kindness of the Middle Classes--rather on the organizing efforts of the workers themselves.
People were vaguely aware that power in Western Civilization had moved from the upper classes to the kings to the middle classes. Marx jolted them into realizing that the process is still happening; that someday the lower classes would take power from the middle classes.
Marx lived in an age of growing materialism--concentration on wealth and possessions. So he thought of the future in terms of material possessions. He predicted a communal state where everyone shared the wealth equally. He predicted it would come violently in the industrialized nations, and that the new Communist governments would be democratic. He was wrong. The changes came gradually in the developed countries, so that most European nations now practice Socialism--a blend of Communism and Capitalism. The violent and drastic revolution occurred in unindustrial and undemocratic Russia.
This led many people to fear that the world lay gripped in a struggle between Communism and Democracy. They did not stop to think that Communism is an economic theory, and Democracy is a political theory. The opposite of Communism is Capitalism, where everyone is allowed to make as much money as he can--at the expense of everybody else. The opposite of Democracy is Totalitarianism, where the government controls people instead of people controlling the government. The United States was a mainly democratic Capitalism. Russia became a totalitarian Communism. But other combinations are possible. Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy and Franco's Spain were totalitarian nations violently opposed to Communism. On the other hand, the early Christians and the settlers at Jamestown shared their food communally while each person had his democratic say. Do not confuse economic theories with political theories.
These are the words that began it all:
from THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO
by KARL MARX and FRIEDRICH ENGELS
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian,* lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
In the earlier epochs+ of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation# of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeian, slaves; in the middle ages, feudal lords, vassals, guildmasters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.
The modern bourgeois@ society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society, has not done away with class antagonisms.* It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.
Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature; it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat+...
The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic# relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motly@ feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors," and has left remaining no other nexus* between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment." It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine+ sentimentalism in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved# personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible@ chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable* freedom--Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage-laborers....
The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments
of production, by the immensely facilitated+ means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations Into civilization. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians' intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners
to capitulate.# It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e.,@ to become bourgeois themselves. In a word, it creates a world after its own image.
The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban* population as compared with the rural,+ and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semibarbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.... The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all proceeding# generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalization of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground--what earlier century had even a presentiment@ that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labor?...
In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working-class, developed, a class of laborers who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labor increases capital. These laborers, who must sell themselves piecemeal are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes+ of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.
Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division
of labor, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it in only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack that is required of him.... Not only are they the slaves of the bourgeois class and of the bourgeois State, they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the over-looker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism# proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is....
The Communists disdain@ to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
Working men of all countries, unite!
*Roman upper and lower class
#division into steps
The thing about Marx that frightened the Victorians was that still another part of life proved to be changing. They felt their solid world crumbling from under them. Darwin showed that man was not what they thought he was. Wagner showed that music was not what they thought it was. Marx showed that society was not what they thought it was. No wonder the Victorians tried to cling even harder to the older values they had known and trusted. An English poet summed up the popular mood in these words:
from DOVER BEACH by MATTHEW ARNOLD
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude,* nor peace, nor help for pain; *certainty
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
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