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Loyola Marymount University Maintain Tradition and Hierarchy Historians Questions

Loyola Marymount University Maintain Tradition and Hierarchy Historians Questions

Question Description

The decades after the French Revolution were characterized by opposing forces: on the one hand people insisted on expanding democracy and the political power of ordinary people; on the other hand, authorities desperately shored up tradition and hierarchy.

1-Those who wanted to maintain tradition and hierarchy historians call conservatives. Provide a definition of this 19th-century ideology in your own words.

2-There were many in Europe who opposed these conservative goals and supported at least some of the changes associated with the French Revolution. Those who believed in the concept of individual liberties were the liberals. Provide a definition of this 19th-century ideology in your own words.

3-Liberalism grew in influence, even touching Russia, which was ruled by an autocratic czar, or emperor.

Read the following texts: Liberalism in Russia documents.pdf

How do we see the influence of liberalism? How do the authors characterize the 19th century?

4-Though the Decembrist revolt in Russia had primarily been carried out by military officers, ordinary people had made the liberal revolutions elsewhere possible, with workers, artisans, and peasants enacting protests. What forms of protest did the peasants of the Ariège employ? Why did they dress up as women during their protests?

5-Liberals focused their efforts on advancing liberties rather than equality. Guaranteeing liberties to all, such as freedom of speech, was not the same thing as political or social equality. Many liberals were educated members of the middle class and they looked down upon uneducated manual laborers. Such people, they believed, were not suitable for politics. In France, they viewed such people as responsible for the violence that they believed had derailed the Revolution.

To gain an understanding of a liberal’s view of equality, read the following texts.

François Guizot (1787-1874) was a leading politician and a liberal who served under King Louis Philippe in France.

Speech of October 5, 1831

I have heard equality much spoken of; we have called it the fundamental principle of our political organization. I am afraid there has been a great mistake. Without doubt there are universal rights, equal rights for all, rights inherent in humanity and which no human being can be stripped of without injustice and disorder. It has been the honor of modern civilization to redeem these rights from that mass of violence and force under which they had long been hidden and to bring them back to light. There you have personal rights, universal and equal for all, from which stem equality in civil order and in moral order. But will political rights be of this order? It is through tradition, through heredity that families, peoples, and history subsist; without tradition, without heredity you would have nothing of that. It is through the personal activity of families, peoples, and individuals that produces the perfectibility of the human race. Suppress it, and you will cause the human race to fall to the rank of the animals. I say that aristocracy is the condition of modern societies, a necessary consequence of the nature of modern democracy. Upon this aristocracy two conditions are to be imposed: First, it is to be constantly submitted to the control and examination of democracy; second, it must recruit itself constantly from the people.

Speech of February 15, 1842

I am, for my part, a decided enemy of universal suffrage. I look upon it as the ruin of democracy and liberty. If I needed proof I would have it under my very eyes; I will not elucidate. However, I should permit myself to say, with all the respect I have for a great country and a great government, that the inner danger, the social danger by which the United States appears menaced is due especially to universal suffrage; it is that which makes them run the risk of seeing their real liberties, the liberties of everybody, compromised, as well as the inner order of their society.

What was the difference between universal rights and political rights, according to Guizot? Why was he an enemy of universal suffrage?

6-Liberals, who generally held “white collar” jobs such as lawyer, had a different understanding of economic liberty than “blue collar” workers, such as peasants or artisans. For liberals, liberty meant the individual right to property and the right to control the land, business, or wealth you owned without restrictions from the King, the Church, or the community. How did the peasants of the Ariège understand liberty?

7-There were other forces of change transforming Europe, not just new ideas stemming from the French Revolution. How did capitalism, an economic system based on the concepts of economic liberalism and private property, impact the peasants of the Ariège?

For a description of capitalism (written by proponents of the system), see: IMF – What is Capitalism?

8-There were other forces of change transforming Europe, not just new ideas stemming from the French Revolution. How did capitalism, an economic system based on the concepts of economic liberalism and private property, impact the peasants of the Ariège?

For a description of capitalism (written by proponents of the system), see: IMF – What is Capitalism?


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