STEP 4 Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High
19 Cultural Responses to Revolution and Industrialization
IN THIS CHAPTER
Summary: In the nineteenth century, intellectuals developed various ideologies in order to make sense of a rapidly changing world. Among the political and cultural ideologies explained in this chapter are conservatism, liberalism, anarchism, utopian socialism, scientific socialism or communism, romanticism, nationalism, and social Darwinism. At the lower level of the social hierarchy, the laboring classes violently resisted innovations that threatened their livelihood. Literature, art, and music played major roles in disseminating ideologies (see the Resource Guide at the end of this book).
Conservatism A nineteenth-century ideology that held that tradition was the only trustworthy guide to social and political action.
Liberalism An eighteenth- and nineteenth-century ideology that asserted that the task of government was to promote individual liberty and active participation in governance by all social classes.
Socialism An ideology that sought to reorder society in ways that would end or minimize competition, foster cooperation, and allow the working classes to share in the wealth being produced by industrialization.
Utopian socialism A form of socialism that envisioned, and sometimes tried to establish, ideal communities (or utopias) where work and its fruits were shared equitably.
Psychological socialism A variety of nineteenth-century utopian socialism that saw a conflict between the structure of society and the natural needs and tendencies of human beings. Its leading advocate was Charles Fourier, who argued that the ideal society was one organized on a smaller, more human scale.
Technocratic socialism A variety of nineteenth-century utopian socialism that envisioned a society run by technical experts who managed resources efficiently and in a way that was best for all. The most prominent nineteenth-century advocate of technocratic socialism was the French aristocrat Henri Comte de Saint-Simon.
Scientific socialism/communism An ideology dedicated to the creation of a class-free society through the abolition of private property.
Anarchism A nineteenth-century ideology that saw the modern state and its institutions as the enemy of individual freedom and recommended terrorism as a way to disrupt the machinery of government.
Romanticism A nineteenth-century ideology that urged the cultivation of sentiment and emotion by reconnecting with nature and with the past.
Nationalism A nineteenth-century ideology that asserted that a nation was a natural, organic entity whose people shared a cultural identity and a historical destiny.
Social Darwinism A nineteenth-century ideology that asserted that competition was natural and necessary for the evolutionary progress of a society.
Because of the nature of this chapter, there are a great many individuals mentioned; some are political thinkers, some are artists or musicians. All play a role in this extremely important period.
Ernst Moritz Arndt
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Henri Comte de Saint-Simon
Johann Gottlieb Fichte
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
John Stuart Mill
Joseph de Maistre
Ludwig von Beethoven
Prince Klemens von Metternich
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The French Revolution had challenged Europeans’ beliefs in and assumptions about society; the Industrial Revolution seemed to be transforming society at a dizzying pace. In order to cope with these changes, and to answer the questions posed by them, nineteenth-century Europeans offered a number of significant cultural responses.
Political Ideologies in the Nineteenth Century
One such response was the creation of a number of political ideologies. Each claimed to hold the key to creating the best society possible.
In the nineteenth century, conservatism was the ideology that asserted that tradition was the only trustworthy guide to social and political action. Conservatives argued that traditions were time-tested, organic solutions to social and political problems. Accordingly, nineteenth-century conservatives supported monarchy, the hierarchical class system dominated by the aristocracy, and the Church. They opposed innovation and reform, arguing that the French Revolution had demonstrated that reform led directly to revolution and chaos. Supporters of the conservative position originally came from the traditional elites of Europe, the landed aristocracy.
The British writer and statesman Edmund Burke is often considered “the father of conservatism,” as his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) seemed to predict the bloodshed and chaos that characterized the radical phase of the revolution. His work prompted responses from Thomas Paine. But perhaps more famous were the reactions of Mary Wollstonecraft in Vindication of the Rights of Man and Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1790); this latter is a model of thought and ideas for later feminists. The French writer Joseph de Maistre’s Essay on the Generative Principle of Political Constitutions (1814) is a prime example of nineteenth-century conservatism’s opposition to constitutionalism and reform.
The Congress of Vienna, convened by the major European powers in 1815 after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo and led by Prince Klemens von Metternich of Germany, was another conservative response to the liberal and radical forces created by the French Revolution. The Congress of Vienna’s purpose was to maintain a balance of power in Europe and to strengthen traditional institutions like hereditary monarchy.
Liberalism was the nineteenth-century ideology asserting that the task of government was to promote individual liberty. Liberals viewed many traditions as impediments to that freedom and, therefore, campaigned for reform. Pointing to the accomplishments of the Scientific Revolution, nineteenth-century liberals asserted that there were God-given, natural rights and laws that individuals could discern through the use of reason. Accordingly, they supported innovation and reform (in contrast to conservatives), arguing that many traditions were simply superstitions. Liberals promoted constitutional monarchy over absolutism, and they campaigned for an end to the traditional privileges of the aristocracy and the Church in favor of a meritocracy and middle-class participation in government. Supporters of liberalism originally came from the middle class.
Two British philosophers, John Locke and Adam Smith, are usually thought of as the fathers of liberalism. In The Two Treatises of Government (1690), Locke made the argument for the existence of God-given natural rights and asserted that the proper goal of government was to protect and to promote individual liberty. In Wealth of Nations (1776), Smith made the case for the existence of economic laws that guided human behavior like an “invisible hand.” Smith also promoted the notion of laissez-faire (“let it be”) governance, which stated that governments should not interfere with the natural workings of an economy, a notion that became one of the basic tenets of liberalism in the nineteenth century.
Late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century thinkers extended and cemented Smith’s ideas. In An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), Thomas Malthus asserted that free and constant competition would always be the norm in human societies because the human species would always reproduce at a greater rate than the food supply. By mid-century, liberal economic thinkers alleged that there was an “iron law of wages,” which argued that competition between workers for jobs would always, in the long run, force wages to sink to subsistence levels. This “law” is sometimes attributed to the English economist David Ricardo, but it was promoted most prominently by the German sociologist Ferdinand LaSalle.
As the nineteenth century progressed, liberalism evolved. The followers of the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham espoused utilitarianism, which argued that all human laws and institutions ought to be judged by their usefulness in promoting “the greatest good for the greatest number” of people. Accordingly, they supported reforms to sweep away traditional institutions that failed the test and to create new institutions that would pass it. Utilitarians tended to be more supportive of government intervention than other liberals. For example, they drafted and supported new legislation—like the First Reform Bill of 1832, the Factory Act of 1833, and the Ten Hours Act of 1847—to limit the hours that women and children could work in factories and to regulate the sanitary conditions of factories and mines.
Early-nineteenth-century liberals had been leery of democracy, arguing that the masses had to be educated before they could usefully contribute to the political life of the country. But by mid-century, liberals began advocating democracy, reasoning that the best way to identify the greatest good for the greatest number was to maximize the number of people voting. The best example of mid-century utilitarian thought is John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty (1859), which argued for freedom of thought and democracy, but also warned against the tyranny of the majority. Together, Mill and his companion, Harriet Taylor, led the liberal campaign for women’s rights, Taylor publishing The Enfranchisement of Women (anonymously in 1851) and Mill publishing The Subjection of Women (1869).
Socialism in the nineteenth century was the ideology that emphasized the collective over the individual and challenged the liberal notion that competition was natural. Socialists sought to reorder society in ways that would end or minimize competition, foster cooperation, and allow the working classes to share in the wealth being produced by industrialization.
The earliest forms of socialism have come to collectively be called utopian socialism for the way in which they envisioned, and sometimes tried to establish, ideal communities (or utopias) where work and its fruit were shared equitably. In the nineteenth century, there were three distinct forms of utopian socialism (described in the following sections).
This type of utopian socialism envisioned a society run by technical experts who managed resources efficiently and in a way that was best for all. The most prominent nineteenth-century advocate of technocratic socialism was a French aristocrat, Henri Comte de Saint-Simon, who renounced his title during the French Revolution and spent his life championing the progress of technology and his vision of a society organized and run by scientifically trained managers or “technocrats.”
This type of utopian socialism saw a conflict between the structure of society and the natural needs and tendencies of human beings. Its leading nineteenth-century advocate was Charles Fourier, who argued that the ideal society was one organized on a smaller, more human scale. He advocated the creation of self-sufficient communities, called “phalansteries,” consisting of no more than 1,600 people, in which the inhabitants did work that suited them best.
This type of utopian socialism argued that it was possible to have a productive, profitable industrial enterprise without exploiting workers. Its leading advocate was a Scottish textile manufacturer, Robert Owen. Owen set out to prove his thesis by setting up industrial communities, like the New Lanark cotton mill in Scotland and, later, a larger manufacturing community in New Harmony, Indiana, which paid higher wages and provided food, shelter, and clothing at reasonable prices.
Scientific Socialism and Communism
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the exploitation of European workers had grown more evident, and the dreams of the utopian socialists seemed less plausible. In their place arose a form of socialism based on what its adherents claimed was a scientific analysis of society’s workings. The most famous and influential of the self-proclaimed scientific socialists was the German revolutionary Karl Marx. In The Communist Manifesto (1848), a slim pamphlet distributed to workers throughout Europe, Marx and his collaborator, Friedrich Engels, argued that “all history is the history of class struggle.” In the Manifesto, and later in the much larger Capital (vol. 1, 1867), Marx argued that a human being’s relationship to the means of production gave him a social identity. In the Industrial Age of the nineteenth century, Marx argued, only two classes existed: the bourgeoisie, who controlled the means of production, and the proletariat, who sold their labor for wages. The key point in Marx’s analysis was that the bourgeoisie exploited the proletariat because competition demanded it; if a factory owner chose to treat his workers more generously, then he would have to charge more for his goods, and his competitors would drive him out of business. (That, in short, is what happened to Robert Owen as a result of his experiments.)
Marx’s analysis led him to adopt a position that came to be known as communism, which declared that the only way to end social exploitation was to abolish private ownership of the means of production. If no one could claim to own the means of production, then there could be no distinction between owner and worker; all class distinctions would disappear, and the workers would be free to distribute the benefits of production more equally.
Anarchism was the nineteenth-century ideology that saw the state and its governing institutions as the ultimate enemy of individual freedom. Early anarchists drew inspiration from the writings of Pierre Joseph Proudhon, who argued that man’s freedom had been progressively curtailed by industrialization and larger, more centralized governments. Proudhon famously suggested that “property is theft” since it promoted inequality. Anarchy had the greatest appeal in those areas where governments were most oppressive; in the nineteenth century, that meant Russia. There, Mikhail Bakunin, the son of a Russian nobleman, organized secret societies whose goal was to destroy the Russian state forever. Throughout Europe, nineteenth-century anarchists engaged in acts of political terrorism, particularly attempts to assassinate high-ranking government officials.
Cultural Ideologies in the Nineteenth Century
Other ideologies developed in the nineteenth century that sought to reach beyond “mere politics.” Two of the most influential were Romanticism and nationalism.
Romanticism was a reaction to the Enlightenment and industrialization. The nineteenth-century Romantics rebelled against the Enlightenment’s emphasis on reason, considering it an act of intellectual hubris, and urged the cultivation of imagination and emotion. They suggested that knowledge was reached through intuition. Fittingly, Romantics tended to avoid political tracts and expressed themselves mostly through art, music, and literature, which frequently captured history in creative ways. They stressed the purity of nature, as compared to the corruption of society.
The roots of Romanticism are often traced back to the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, because in Émile (1762), he had argued that humans were born essentially good and virtuous but were easily corrupted by society, and that the early years of a child’s education should be spent developing the senses, sensibilities, and sentiments. Another source of Romanticism was the German Sturm und Drang (“Storm and Stress”) movement of the late eighteenth century, exemplified by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), which glorified the “inner experience” of the sensitive individual.
In response to the rationalism of the Enlightenment (and to some degree, of liberalism), the Romantics offered the solace of nature. Good examples of this vein of nineteenth-century Romanticism are the works of the English poets George Gordon, Lord Byron (who once wrote, “I love not man the less, but Nature more”), Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the last two of whom extolled the almost mystical qualities of the lake country of northwest England.
It is important to note, however, that the Romantics did not avoid politics completely. Frequently, Romanticism is defined as the period between 1789, the year the French Revolution began, and 1832, the year of the passage of the First Reform Bill in Great Britain, the deaths of Sir Walter Scott and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and the independence of Greece from the Ottoman Turks after almost 400 years.
Romantic influence is clearly evident in the liberal, revolutionary, and nationalistic movements of this time period. William Wordsworth described the joy he felt as he witnessed the beginning of the French Revolution (“Bliss it was that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very Heaven.”). Mary Wollstonecraft, considered the mother of modern feminism, returned to Great Britain from the French Revolution and wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women, urging equality of educational and thus economic opportunity. These and other writers embraced the idea that humans are inherently good, though corrupted by society. They all advocated release from the status quo.
Lord Byron went so far as to help the Italian Carbonari in their quest to establish a republican Italy, and he died in Greece, where he had gone to fight for Greek independence. He and other Romantics agreed that “it is not one man, nor the million, but the spirit of liberty which must be spread.”
Romantic painters—like John Constable in England, Francisco Goya in Spain, and Karl Friedrich Schinkel in Germany—offered inspiring landscapes, a record of historical events, and images of a romanticized past. Ludwig von Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Gioacchino Rossini,, and Wagner expressed the imaginative, intuitive spirit of Romanticism in music. It is instructive to compare, thematically speaking, the operas of Mozart, who represented the Enlightenment as seen in his portrayal of social classes and revolution (The Marriage of Figaro), and those of Rossini, a Romantic of the first order (The Barber of Seville), who focused on human nature and emotions.
In the nineteenth century, nationalism was the ideology that asserted that a nation was a natural, organic entity whose people were bound together by shared language, customs, and history. Nationalists argued that each nation had natural boundaries, shared cultural traits, and a historical destiny to fulfill. Accordingly, nineteenth-century nationalists in existing nation-states like Britain and France argued for strong, expansionist foreign policies. Nationalists in areas like Germany and Italy argued for national unification and the expulsion of foreign rulers.
In the early nineteenth century, nationalism was allied to liberalism. Both shared a spirit of optimism, believing that their goals represented the inevitable, historical progress of humankind. In the non-unified lands of Germany and Italy, occupation by Napoleonic France had helped to foster a spirit of nationalism. Under Napoleon’s rule, Germans and Italians came to think of their own disunity as a weakness. The best early examples of this kind of nationalism are the works of German writers Johann Gottlieb Fichte, whose Addresses to the German Nation (1808) urged the German people to unite in order to fulfill their historical role in bringing about the ultimate progress of humanity, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who argued that every nation had a historical role to play in the unfolding of the universe and that Germany’s time to take center stage in that drama had arrived.
Like the Romantics, early-nineteenth-century nationalists emphasized the role that environment played in shaping the character of a nation and sentimentalized the past. A good example of Romantic nationalism is the work of Ernst Moritz Arndt, who urged Germans to unify through a shared heritage and through love of all things German. In a similar vein, the Grimm brothers compiled traditional German folk stories to celebrate the beliefs and traditions of ethnic Germans. Strains of Romanticism can also be seen in the work of the great Italian nationalist of the early nineteenth century, Giuseppe Mazzini, whose nationalist movement, Young Italy, made appeals to unity based on natural affinities and a shared soul.
The socialist notion that competition was unnatural was countered by yet another nineteenth-century ideology that came to be known as social Darwinism. In 1859, the British naturalist Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, which argued that all living things had descended from a few simple forms. In On the Origin of Species, Darwin described a complex process in which biological inheritance, environment, and competition for resources combined over millions of years to produce the amazing diversity in living forms that exists in the world.
The philosopher Herbert Spencer argued that Darwin’s theory proved that competition was not only natural, but necessary, for the progress of a society. Spencer coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” (a phrase adopted by Darwin in the sixth and final edition of On the Origin of Species) and argued along liberal lines that government intervention in social issues interfered with natural selection and, therefore, with progress. By the last decades of the nineteenth century, social Darwinism was being used to argue that imperialism, the competition between nations for control of the globe, was a natural and necessary step in the evolution of the human species. Eugenics, the notion that a progressive, scientific nation should plan and manage the biological reproduction of its population as carefully as it planned and managed its economy, also flourished in the last decades of the nineteenth century.
Violent Resistance of the Laboring Classes
When the increased use of machines in industrial and agricultural production threatened the livelihood of skilled laborers, workers responded with violent resistance. In Britain, textile workers resisted the introduction of stocking frames, spinning frames, and power looms by destroying the machines, giving birth to what became known as the Luddite movement. In the countryside, workers resisted the introduction of threshing machines by burning hayricks in what became known as the Swing Riots.
Questions 1—3 refer to the following passage:
WHERE is the German’s fatherland?
The Prussian land? The Swabian land?
Where Rhine the vine-clad mountain laves?
Where skims the gull the Baltic waves?
Ah, no, no, no!
His fatherland’s not bounded so!
Where is the German’s fatherland?
Bavarian land? or Stygian land?
Where sturdy peasants plough the plain?
Where mountain-sons bright metal gain?
Ah, no, no, no!
His fatherland’s not bounded so! . . .
Where is the German’s fatherland?
Then name, oh, name the mighty land!
Wherever is heard the German tongue,
And German hymns to God are sung!
This is the land, thy Hermann’s land;
This, German, is thy fatherland.
Ernst Moritz Arndt, The German Fatherland, c. 1812
1. Arndt was a supporter of which nineteenth-century ideology?
2. What is the most-likely purpose of the poem?
A. To celebrate the unification of Germany
B. To urge German-speaking people to seek unity
C. To indicate the superiority of Prussian culture
D. To celebrate the beauty of Germany
3. According to the poem, Arndt believed what about the German kingdoms of Prussia, Swabia, and Bavaria?
A. They were German nation-states.
B. They were part of a German empire.
C. They were part of the French Empire.
D. They were part of the true Germany.
Chapter Question (Causation)
4. Briefly explain the cause of the Romantic art movement and illustrate it with TWO examples of Romantic art or literature.
Answers and Explanations
1. C is correct because the passage indicates that Arndt believed that the true boundaries of a nation were shared language and culture. A is incorrect because the passage does not extol the virtues of tradition as a nineteenth-century conservative would. B is incorrect because the passage does not extol the virtues of individual liberty as a nineteenth-century liberal would. D is incorrect because the passage does not identify the state as the enemy of liberty as a nineteenth-century anarchist would.
2. B is correct because the passage urges German-speaking people to ignore the political divisions and provincialism of their current situation and to understand that a German fatherland exists wherever German is spoken and German customs are observed. A is incorrect because the passage cannot be celebrating a unification that would not come until 1871. C is incorrect because the passage is praising German-ness, not Prussia. D is incorrect because the poem does not speak of beauty.
3. D is correct because the passage indicates that all of the customary German and German-speaking kingdoms are really part of the true Germany. A is incorrect because the passage says that one will not find a fatherland in those kingdoms, and because those kingdoms are not nation-states. B is incorrect because nothing in the passage indicates that Arndt thought in terms of a German empire. C is incorrect because nothing in the passage refers to the French Empire.
4. Suggested answer:
Thesis: Romanticism was the nineteenth-century ideology that reacted against the rationalism of the Enlightenment by urging the cultivation of imagination and emotion by reconnecting with nature and with the (idealized) past. Two examples of Romantic works in the nineteenth century are Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther and the works of English lake poets.
I. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) illustrates the Romantic cultivation of sentiment by the way in which it glorified the “inner experience” of its young protagonist.
II. The works of the lake poets, such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, illustrate the Romantic call to reconnect with nature by the way in which they extolled the almost mystical qualities of the lake country of northwest England.
In the nineteenth century, intellectuals articulated numerous ideologies in order to make sense of a rapidly changing world. By the end of the century, a thinking person could choose from a spectrum of ideologies, which included and can be categorized and summarized as follows:
• Conservatism: championing tradition
• Liberalism: urging reform
• Anarchism: scheming to bring down the state
• Utopian socialisms: emphasizing the collective over the individual good and well-being
• Scientific socialism and communism: espousing the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production
• Romanticism: encouraging the cultivation of sentiment and emotion
• Nationalism: preaching ethnic, linguistic, and cultural unity
• Social Darwinism: advocating the benefits of unfettered competition
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice—Romanticism
Charles Darwin, Origin of Species—Darwinism
Charles Dickens, almost anything, but especially Oliver Twist—industrialization