Chapter 18 • Revolutions of Industrialization



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Lecture 2: Socialism

The topic of this lecture is socialism—where it came from, its principles, where it flourished, and why it was feared. The lecture strategy’s objectives are:

• to help students understand that socialism is a phenomenon with a long history

• to explore the thought of Marx and Engels and their influence in world history

• to examine what it was that socialists wanted

• to investigate whether the fear and hatred that the upper classes and governments felt toward socialism was justified in the nineteenth century



Begin by reading a short excerpt from Plato’s Republic, in which he outlines the ideal society. Ask students what they think the source is (leave out any specific reference to ancient Greece that could give the game away). With any luck, somebody will think it is Marx’s Communist Manifesto. This can lead to a presentation on the early socialists. Some points to include are:

• a careful definition of socialism

• precursors of socialism (such as Plato, or Thomas More’s Utopia)

• the radicalizing effect of the Peterloo Massacre (1819)

the Chartist movement

• the writings of intellectuals such as Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, and Louis Blanc

Go on from there to examine Karl Marx and his legacy. Some important points are:

• Marx’s biography

• his collaboration with Friedrich Engels

• his historical approach to the problem of industrialization

The Communist Manifesto: what it says, why it says it, and what impact it had

In the remaining time, you could address additional points such as:

• what socialism had to offer women

• whether socialism had anything to offer peasants

• what means socialists advocated to realize their goals for society

• whether all socialists were violent

• whether Marx would have recognized the form of socialism that initiated the Russian Revolution of 1917

It may be useful to refer to the chapter’s Documents feature during your lecture.






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