By Susan Steider & Mallory Grams Table of Contents

The Nineteenth Century: Isms and Revolutions

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The Nineteenth Century: Isms and Revolutions


FRQ: Compare and contrast liberalism and socialism. Include beliefs and some of the main people in each one.
There are many different belief systems and what they believe in ranges a lot. Liberalism, Socialism, and anarchism are a few that come to mind. Liberalism and socialism are good for comparisons because sometimes they are similar and other times that are totally different. Liberalism is one belief and it focuses mainly on individual freedom. One person who affected liberalism is Adam Smith. Another belief system is socialism, which is mostly about economics. An influential socialist is Charles Fourier. Also, socialism and Liberalism can be split into many different branches.

Liberalism, unlike socialism is very straight forward. Liberalists emphasize individual rights, and there are many principles they believe in. Freedom on thought and speech is a main one. A few more would include power limitations for the government, mixed economy, and a free exchange of ideas. Those are some of the basic principles all socialist believe in. When it comes down to things like human rights each different part believes in them to some extent. Some of those could include the right to life, property and liberty. The economic policy of laissez-faire is a main belief of liberals. Laissez-faire can also be called free market economics and the state has to maintain individual liberty, security, peace and property rights. Adam Smith wrote a book called Wealth of Nations. Smith was a laissez-faire advocate, and he also was a very well known professor. His major point of the book was about what the government can and cannot control. There were many other believes but he is one that stands out the most. Liberalism is all about individual rights for citizens.

Socialism is a socio-economic system of beliefs. Socialists do not have a specific doctrine or book that they believe in but generally they are similar among socialists. Socialists believe in a system where distributions of wealth and property are controlled by the community. This makes for a very unfair way of division usually. The poor would most likely get more than they deserve and the rich should get more than they probably would. It would be a good way to make sure everyone gets exactly what they need, but you don’t get what you work for. That idea has been claimed by many political parties which is an interesting concept, because it is very unfair for the rich. Even thought the poor would like it very much. Typically socialists can be split into two groups the revolutionaries and reformists, but there are more branches than that, too many to name. Charles Fourier is a very influential socialist. He came up with the idea of phalanxes, which are communities of about 1600 people. They work together to farm and also in workshops. Each person would get to pick whatever job they enjoyed, so that they wouldn’t get bored. Also, jobs would change quite frequently, so it everything would be fair. Fourier thought that someone would establish a phalanx, but it never happened. They were used in other countries but not very often. Fourier’s idea was good if it would have worked, it was a way to make socialism fair for everyone, and everyone could have the job they wanted. It was a lot different than a regular town, which may have been why it never caught on to people. Socialism is all about economics and how goods and wealth are distributed.

In conclusion, liberalism and socialism are very different topics; they are similar in a few ways thought. Liberalism covers a whole system of beliefs. While socialism is all about the economics of how things should be divided in a community. There are many influential people that believed in these two systems. A major person for liberalism is Adam Smith, and Charles Fourier was all about socialism. They two belief systems are similar in very few ways, and are different in many ways.


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