*Cities become larger, filled with filth and crime
*Wealthy people move to the country
Initiating Event The Birth of Capitalism
Capitalism: the idea that a nation’s economy must run without interference from the government. Trade and industry are controlled exclusively by private owners.
Capitalism is the first point of conflict because:
Without interference from the government, there were no rules regarding minimum wage or the number of hours people worked each week.
Factory owners set long hours and low wages. They could do this because of the large workforce that was available.
Factory owners become very rich very fast. They paid their governments (taxes and soft money) to stay out of their way.
No social mobility existed. Wealth controlled by a small percentage of the population.
Poverty skyrocketed. Hopelessness lead to resentment.
Given the situation so far, what do you think happened?
Factory conditions became dangerous
Lawsuits- Government reaction: If you don’t like the conditions, don’t work there.
Riots against factory owners
Violent, often deadly reaction from the factory owners who argue that they were only protecting their property. The government agrees. Triangle Shirt waist Factory Fire (owners locked the doors to be sure no one was taking extra breaks).
Resentment against the factory owners turned to resentment against the government.
Travels throughout Europe and observes the situation of the working class.
Settles in London
Writes political and economic philosophy.
An IDEALIST- one who sees a way to make a better world (in theory)
Work is funded by a wealthy friend, Friedrich Engles.
The Communist Manifesto (1848)
The title refers to two words:
1. Commune- a group of people who SHARE all property and goods. No private property exists; therefore (ideally), everyone is equal.
2. Manifesto- a public declaration of principles and philosophy.
Bourgeoisie and Proletariats
Marx interpreted history as a struggle between two classes:
The Bourgeoisie –those who own the means of production, AKA: the employers, the “haves”, the upper class, the Capitalists.
The Proletariat – those who won nothing, but whose work produces wealth for the bourgeoisie. AKA: the employed, the “have-nots”, the working class.
The Communist Manifesto con’d
Marx accuses the bourgeoisie of:
Reducing the family to a relationship based on money.
Replacing local business with large corporations.
Destroying the worker’s sense of individual identity and turning him/her into a machine.
Forcing nations to become dependent upon one another through trade.
Forcing the world to accept their way or else collapse into poverty.
Being responsible for the sabotage, riots, and violence taking place in factories around the globe.
Marx calls for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie capitalists. They will be replaced by the communists.
Communism- a government in which property is owned by the nation instead of individuals. Each citizen works for the common benefit.
Communist Manifesto Cont’d
Two disturbing aspects of communism:
1. No religion. Marx saw religion as a bourgeoisie tool of propaganda to keep the proletariat weak and without power.
No liberal arts (literature, music, drama) unless they express the ideals of communism.
The Communist Manifesto
“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by FORCIBLE OVERTHROW of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have the world to win.
Workers of the world, unite!”
If you were a “bourgeoisie,” how would you respond?
Business people and politicians realized that Marx was right about one thing-they were outnumbered by an angry and potentially powerful working class. They suddenly started listening to the problems of workers in the lower classes.
New reforms rose up in a few nations:
1. Laws passed regulating wages.
2. Laws passed regulating hours in a work week.
3. Workers gained the right to form unions and negotiate contracts.