Sunday, February 15, 2009

How did Europeans define civilization? Do you agree? Do you have an alternative definition?

On this subject I really feel like I must agree with what Sam is saying as well as the comment Hanjae gave. I think that because the Europeans were ahead of the curve compared other countries in terms of the "modern" society, they used this idea to set the standard for what a true civilization actually was. This of course seems and was unfair to other countries such as Japan and many others, so no I definetely do not agree with how they defined civilization. If I were to give my input on what I think civilization is, I think that the best definition I could give would be generally any group or community of people who are characterized by the customs and settlements that involve and relate them. This may seem sort of general but I think that is the important thing to remember; that maybe the Europeans overcomplicated what they thought civilization was and it should be defined in a much more simpler and general way.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How did Europeans define civilization? Do you agree? Do you have an alternative definition?

Europeans considered only those cultures that were similar to theirs to be "civilized". European countries, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia were the only ones who received "civilized" status in the eyes of Europe. I disagree with their definition. European civilization is not the only form of civilization, and Europeans did not alot any respect for other cultures. The Japanese, for example, had a highly organized and structured society. However, Europeans considered countries like Japan to be "backward". In my opinion, civilization is better defined as any kind of structured society.

Monday, February 9, 2009

What if the 1848 Revolutions succeeded?

Well we all know that France was the first to revolt, (no surprise) and had the revolt been successful we would have no model to base modern dictators off of, that is Napolean III being classified as the first modern dictator. With out N.III France would have made a weal attempt at a liberal and democratic government and upon their success the rest of Europe would have fought harder for their independence with the nationalist spirit raging. France would have ultimitely failed and recolted again, whether the Parisians were revolting against the rest of France or vice versa it most likely would be happening in succession for the next several years until a strong leader or dictator socialist came around. If France had succeeded it most likely would have granted help to the Balkans and the Romania/Serbia/Moravia areas and they might have won their independence, not just autonomy which is periodically revoked and regained. If they had won their total independence then there would have been no nationalist to kill the Archduke of Austria and no WWI. If Germany had succeeded then also there would have been less complaining from the Volksgeistists about how Germany was a scattered collection of people thanks to the Treaty of Westphalia and the other treaties and there would have been no nationalist movement under Kaiser Wilhelm because that would have already been achieved presumably, so the Germans would not have been so hot to attack and conquer if there still was a WWI. There also would have been a great power vacuum becasue Prussia would have been strengthened by all the German states if Frederick would have accepted the Frankfurt assemblies offer, but then there would have been one great last war where Austria rose against Prussia only to be utterly crushed once and for all and to become a satelite to Prussia.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What kinds of comparisons can you draw between secessionists in North America and nationalists in Europe?

The secessionists in North America and the nationalists in Europe actually shared quite a few desires and motivations. But for the fact that we (as US citizens) view the South's secession from the Union with a nationalistic surprise, the South's movement for independence is no different from the various entities of Germany in 1848, trying to make it their own way in Europe. Around the time of the civil war, the United States as a nation state (the one we all love dearly today) did not exist as strongly as the individual political, economical, and cultural interests of the various states. The South had a system of life that was very different from the North because of the virtually free labor-based plantations. As the North continued to gain diversity from the various immigrants, the South had very few free workers, since none could hope to compete with slave labor. The South developed the independent cultural identity that fired up all the nationalistic urges in Europe, and they acted on those interests by seceding from the Union.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What if the Frankfurt Assembly had succeeded?

If the Frankfurt Assembly had succeeded then Germany would have formed a democratic, liberal, self-governing, and federally unified "empire". Friderick William IV would've been named the first emperor of Germany, which would have been a territorial combination of the smaller states plus Prussia. There are a couple extreme scenarios for the effect of this accomplishment. The first is, of course, is the antagonistical view. In this view all of friedericks worst fears would have been realized: Because he imposed himself by force on the lesser states they will gain a feeling of nationalism/ revolution and revolt against him, Austria may declare war on the newly formed state in the hopes of taking over, and/or he may have been disowned from the Hohenzollern because of his willingness to accept a position of a constitutionally limited and revolutionary representative position. These would lead to anarchy, the collapse of the empire, and possibly even the end of the hopes for a unified germany. On the other hand, however, is a brighter outlook. The Frankfurt Assembly tag-teaming with emperor William could have led to a peaceful and very liberal conscientious regime. Maybe a success story comparable to that of America, in which all the different nationalities could be treated as equally and justly. All would depend on the actions of the radicals.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Was the 1848 revolution in Paris a proletarian revolution?

Marx himself and Marxist historians argue the 1848 revolution in Paris was a proletarian revolution. Was it? Was there a working class movement in France in 1848?

I would say that the 1848 revolution in France was definitely a proletarian revolution, but it was not the global proletarian coup de etat or the working classes easy take-over of centralized management. The 1848 revolution was, after all, a class war to an extent, and when the working men and women take up arms against their bourgeoisie oppressors, I would certainly say that there is a proletarian uprising. As to a working class movement, there were definitely elements within the rebellious factions that were fighting/rioting with a pro-working class agenda, but I think that in the end, any working class movement was mainly in the minds of the rank and file of the revolution. As always, it was primarily the laborers that did the fighting but the professionals and intellectuals that did most of the deliberating afterwards. The initial radicalism of the revolution got watered down after the overly-romantic period wore off, and once again the business of actually writing a constitution that provides liberty, justice, and happiness proved to be a little difficult.