The Hindrance of Escalation
The Industrial Revolution brought with it a new form of class distinction; society did away with feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, and serfs to embrace that of the bourgeoisie proletariat relationship. The bourgeoisie class, consisting of the modern capitalists, are the employers of wage laborers and owners of the means of production. The proletariat class is the much less fortunate modern wage-laborer; they do not have their own means of production and therefore must sell their labor in order to survive. Karl Marx expresses these ideas in the “Communist Manifesto” along with the theory of proletariat redemption and across the board equality. Orestes Brownson and Henry Ward Beecher, also writers of the time, express views that coincide with Marx’s concepts and ideas. The Industrial Revolution, birth of new class distinction, and the consequential societal norms framed Rebecca Harding Davis’ short story “Life in the Iron-Mills”.
Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, and sociologist, as well as a political revolutionary. In 1843 he began constructing the “Communist Manifesto” alongside his companion Friedrich Engels. The Manifesto began by arguing class struggles and elaborating on the exploitation of one class from another throughout history. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” (__) Marx explains that throughout history we see the oppressor and the oppressed in constant opposition to one another—sometimes openly and others concealed. Each time the fight ends between the two either a revolutionary reconstruction is implicated or in the classes demise. The Manifesto continues to show that the modern bourgeoisie is the product of several of these revolutions in the mode of production and exchange. (cite) While Brownson, Beecher, and Davis use religion as a central focus of their essays and story, the Manifesto suggests that history is shaped by economic relations alone. Elements such as religion, culture, and ideology play a very little role and that rather, history moves according to impersonal forces and is inevitable. (cite) Marx also seems to have an exterior view of those involved in the bourgeoisie-proletariat relationship. He discusses the quandary of the modern laborer and argues that the worker is commodified, transformed into goods or services of things that would not usually be transformed to, and seen as part of the machine. The worker matters only in so far as he produces and does not have control over the fruits of his labor. He explains the appalling exploitation that Brownson also recognizes.
Orestes Brownson, editor and author, advocated many different viewpoints in his lifetime. Through his own experiences with life and spiritual reckoning, he expanded his life’s experiences and his own ideologies. Brownson criticizes those who blame the problems of the laboring classes, proletariats, on their innate shortfall of the individual members of...