Emancipation In The "Long Nineteenth Century"

1549 words - 6 pages

Emancipation in the "long nineteenth century" The "long nineteenth century" as the period from 1750 to 1914 is commonly known is famous for the formation of many of today's political, social and cultural ideals. The French, American and Industrial Revolutions in this period could be considered to be the precursors upon which modern day society is based. The individual and family saw a massive change in their lives. The abolishment of serfdom in England, changes in property and working laws under Enlightened Despots such as Joseph II of Austria saw the proletariat gain liberties, although sometimes short-lived, that were inconceivable in the preceding generations. The long held theory of absolute monarchy, "L'etat c'est moi: I am the state" , began to be questioned. Although some would see this period of massive upheaval as a time in which the masses were liberated and indeed "emancipated" upon closer inspection this is not so clear. Some theorists believe that the seeds of 19th Century socialism which were sown in the period were a direct precursor to Stalinist terror, a growth in slavery and a new wave of injustices, whilst others such as Marxists see a hope for a better world. Be it the terror of the French Revolution in the 18th century to the Stalinist purges and Hitler lead genocide's of the 20th century, the outcomes of many emancipatory ideals was seen to have massive negative implications on society. "The scientific community ceased to exist during the terror". In this light we must ask ourselves whether indeed the long nineteenth century could be summed up as a period of liberation or whether it would be better viewed as the starting place for modern day capitalism. A new form of global dictatorship in which a small bourgeois class now controls power, well beyond the realm of absolute despots realm the "long nineteenth century" than ever thought imaginable.There were many occasions in this period where it can be seen that Europe was in the process of liberating itself. The Emancipation of many groups and ideals from a long period of suffering and reprisal was very apparent. There is no doubt that the long nineteenth century saw not only the liberation of many peoples but also that of thought and culture through the aftermath of the Enlightenment. The leaders of most of Europe's countries had adopted enlightened ideas as was necessary in this new era of mass production. The growth in size and power of the proletariat as well as the bourgeoisie and a decline in the ancien regimes of Europe were another social restructure undertaken in this period. Emancipation can be defined as being liberated from a particular restraint. In the long nineteenth century there were indeed many restraints on society and the individual, many of which were loosened to various extents. Controls of government, property, religion and culture were changed. Indeed so were the borders of many countries. "Europe was...

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