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Politics In The 19th Century Essay

1459 words - 6 pages

In the 19th century, the political climate could be closely related to a tooth gritting earthquake or a tremendous volcanic eruption. As Europe transitioned into Romanticism, socialists and classical liberals started rising from all over Europe with many different ideas. In America, slavery and social reforms were a hotbed of debate sparking many controversy’s, one of which almost lead to the secession of South Carolina. No one besides Charles Fourier, Alexis de Tocqueville, and John C. Calhoun represented the potent cocktail of varying social ideas and political theory of the 19th century better. These three were unique in their ideas and have a very impacting legacy.
Charles Fourier was a Utopian Socialist according to Karl Marx. Fourier was one of the earliest known utopian socialists who found out that while industry could produce wealth, its methods of work were alienating. Fourier proposed that work should be done in what he called a phalanx; this means that work was distributed on a rational and rotating basis. Several of these Phalanxes were set up within the United States, although none succeeded for long. The idea, however, took ahold of the institution of the Kibbutz among the Zionist settlers in Palestine. Fourier thought that within a matter of a few years the entire world could be organized into these Phalanxes’ . However unlikely this may sound Fourier wrote many books about an idea that still fascinates us today. Fourier believed vehemently that a Divine social order should be created on Earth to organize the social and domestic relations of the human race, “Liberty, unless enjoyed by all, is unreal and illusory”. Charles Fourier dominated the first quarter of the 19th century as Europe underwent a change to the Romantic era. Fourier was influenced by the culture of the time and this may have led to his chaotic ideas of a utopian society . The Romantic era was plagued with irrational thought, nostalgia to the medieval times, and a desire for a homogeneous state; emphasis on the individual was not so prominent. Fourier demonstrates (in more cases than one) a typical romantics irrational thought . For example, Fourier rejected industrialism was occurring in England. He also thought that industrialism was a passing phase and that the society in his head was a vision of the not so distant future . Much of what Fourier wrote makes no sense at all; he left us a chaotic, confused, repetitive, contradictory, and pretension diary of his thoughts as well as many publications to prove this. On top of his diary, Fourier was a numbers man and predicted that the earth would last 80,000 years, the world would have 37 million people, and every woman would have four lovers or husbands simultaneously. Fourier demonstrated and clearly shows the most drastic effects of the Romantic Era, a time plagued with irrational thinking and radical new ideas.
While Utopian Socialists theorized about their perfect societies, liberalism in the 19th century...

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