Western Civilization II
24 November 2015
A Locked Society?: An Analysis of John Locke’s Writings
“And thus all private judgement of every particular member being excluded, the community comes to be umpire […]” (Barker 50) These words of John Locke’s suggest a differing opinion to the form of government that his theories aided in creating here in America. John Locke, a philosopher during the Age of Enlightenment, has been known to society as having his theories used to create the government of United States of America. Did Locke’s theories really aid in the creation of the United States government, or were just a few of his ideas used and twisted into what we now define as democracy? Careful study of Locke’s writings will tell if his ideas are what we have been made to believe or if his views entailed something else entirely.
John Locke’s works and writing have transcribed and or reprinted over the years into various books and archives. One such book that contains his views on civil government is Social Contract which was authored by Ernest Barker and includes the essays of John Locke, David Hume, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Though this is a book that was written in 1960, it is simply a republishing of the works and views and of great philosophers by an English political scientist.
When Locke wrote the essay that is contained in this book there had been many events that had transpired that would have influenced him. These events include, but are not limited to the settling of the Puritans, the settling of the Quakers, the English Civil War, and the restoration of the English monarchy following the Puritan Commonwealth led by Oliver Cromwell.
Perhaps the most famous thing John Locke is remembered for is providing the basis for one of the main points found in the Declaration of Independence. In the Declaration the document within the first paragraph “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration of Independence). Most of this stated idea did indeed come from Locke, aide from one clear distinction. In Locke’s works he suggest that the unalienable rights are life, liberty, and property. When taking this slight change into account in today’s society there is a loophole that many people fail to realize. In this instance one is guaranteed to live, be governed, and pursue a meaning in life. When Locke’s original idea is observed and his definition of property taken into account, the fact that one now has a right to their own body, which is part of his definition of property, there arises a great contrast. By excluding the right of property a potential problem of everyone having equal property has been diverted, but in terms of definition nowhere in the Declaration does it say that an individual has a right to their own body. This creates an issue when it comes to laws and punishments according to those laws. If the Constitution and its amendments are disregarded momentarily and the concept of capital punishment is observed, under Locke’s ideas no form of torture would be allowed as man is guaranteed and property and his body is part of his property, yet without the guarantee of property there is no clause denies the ability to torture or perform cruel punishments which would therefore effectively cancel out the eight amendment of the Constitution.
To switch ideas for a moment, Locke’s ideas are well defined in his essay, whereas the founding documents of the United States are rather vague. In a description of the state of nature Locke states that “being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions” (Barker 5). When compared to the current documents of the United States government nowhere does it state that individuals should not harm one another. There are laws that imply this, yet once again the documents are rather vague on various matters. The issues found in today’s society are due greatly to the vagueness of the laws and statutes that are the very foundation of the country. The ideas and theories that were taken from Locke and used to form a government were not even intended for a democracy or capitalist society, which may be the reason that large debates and issues are arising today.
When one reads Locke’s essay on civil government they will discover that his ideas cannot be simply cherry-picked and expected to work in any given scenario. His theories and ideas flow and connect with each other much like puzzle pieces connect to create a bigger image. The image that Locke’s theories present is a society that embodies capitalism, yet incorporates socialism and communism as well. Locke theorizes that maintaining society and mankind outweigh any form of competition when he says that “preservation comes not in competition, ought he as much as he can to preserve the rest of mankind” (Barker 6). Clearly Locke does not suggest that society eliminate private property like socialism and communism, but the competition found in capitalism is also not desired. What he suggests is to combine elements of these three different types of society, which are defined now but were not then, and prosper as a single people instead of competing against one another. There is a quote by Locke that suggests that he does not approve of the pursuit of happiness and that quote is “Americans are of this, who are rich in land and poor in all comforts of life; […] for want of improving it by labour” (Barker 25). When translated into society today this quote explains why there is poverty and global issues present. We as a people have the opportunity we need, yet are never satisfied with the result of work and are therefore making our lives more difficult by always pushing to achieve something more than we need.
Another source that points to Locke’s theories of an equal man and society is one of the few portraits of him available today. His portrait is accessible via the internet as the original paintings are most likely taken by history. Through examination of his portrait one can see a sort of collection of wisdom that is readable through his face and facial features. His poise and expression suggest that he has experienced much through his life and that he offers his opinions so that future conflict may be avoided. His garments signify decent wealth, but nothing extremely luxurious or expensive. In the photograph he appears calm and collected and seems as if he is a being of peace and that is all he desires.
From analyzing Locke’s perceived encounters between human beings and nation states with other nation states, he could be described as a pacifist as well as a utopianist. Wherever a situation that Locke describes in his essay has the potential of becoming violent he always follows that situation with a quote about peace that suggests that men should “join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living” (Barker 56). This idea not only applies to men, but it applies to their government as well as. “God hath certainly appointed government to restrain the partiality and violence of men” (Barker 9). These ideas and theories most definitely suggest that Locke was a pacifist and wanted a perfect society, but there is no blatant evidence that confirms this.
Government has long been an issue that has plagued mankind since the beginnings of society. With the introduction of societies comes the issues of laws and governing bodies for those societies. Over the course of history many different types of government have existed and many philosophers have published their opinions on the aspects of government. One of the most important philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment and a key figure whose theories were used to craft the founding documents of the United States of America was John Locke. While Locke’s theories have been believed to have been used to craft those founding documents this is not the case. His theories and ideas were cherry-picked by the writers of these documents and they were modified to cover a large basis of topics while being vague at the same time. Looking at the ideas that were taken from Locke’s theories, it is revealed that his ideas go into much more depth than the iterations that were used in the United States’ founding documents. While many of Locke’s ideas were successfully incorporated into the government of America, he has in a way been discredited and misunderstood through history as the ideas found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have taken some of his ideas and twisted them into a version that differs enough from the original that they cannot be viewed as his own.
Barker, Ernest. Social Contract: Essays by Locke, Hume, and Rousseau. London: Oxford University Press, 1960.
“Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed November 18, 2015. http://www.iep.utm.edu/locke/.
“The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription.” National Archives and Records Administration. Accessed November 18, 2015. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html.
Primary Source Paper:
The 19th century marked a turning point in European history. The industrial revolution was in full swing and was quickly transforming all aspects of society. Skilled workers saw their individual crafts reduced to anonymous assembly line manufacturing. These workers were forced to adjust to a new working class standard with incredibly long working hours and minimum pay. As conditions worsened, many workers turned to the ideas put forth by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. These men promoted the idea of communism, as well as defined the development of two new social classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletarian. Their pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto, helped to inspire the 1871 Paris uprising that established the Paris Commune. Even though the Paris Commune only lasted a total of three months, this event would hang over Europe for the next twenty plus years, as well as inspire the works of many artists and help to further develop the communist theories put forth by Marx and Engels.
Prior to the Paris Commune, Napoleon III ruled over France from 1852-1870 in the Second French Empire. When Napoleon III took the throne, he hired Georges Haussmann to rebuild Paris. Haussmann widened all the streets in France creating large boulevards which were disadvantageous in the building of barricades, unlike the previous French streets of the French Revolution. This process took about seventeen years to complete, but forever altered the process of uprisings within Paris. During Napoleon III’s rule, the public in France gained the freedom of assembly and the right to strike, which had been illegal until 1864. A wave of strikes occurred in early 1870. That summer, Napoleon III entered into a war against Otto von Bismarck, starting the Franco-Prussian War. During the war, the civilians still living in France suffered from insufficient amounts of food and the spread of diseases. This war resulted in French defeat and Napoleon III was exiled. Prussia demanded that France annex Alsace-Lorraine to Germany as well as pay an indemnity. In February 1871, the French Third Republic began to take shape under Adolphe Thiers, who would later be elected president. Another demand of Prussia’s was that Thiers disband the French Army. He complied with this demand, but the men of the French National Guard did not surrender their guns after the war. Thiers sent troops to collect these guns, but the National Guard had been warned of their arrival by women sympathizers in the nearby market (Merriman). The National Guard then promptly executed two of Thiers’ generals by firing squad. After learning of the executions, Thiers evacuated his troops from Paris. The National Guard and sympathizers then took control of Paris and declared the beginning of the Paris Commune.
The Paris Commune began on March 18, 1871. Those in charge of the Commune refused to accept Thiers’ government’s authority. Since Thiers evacuated his troops before the civilians took over Paris, he was able rally his troops to regain control of Paris – using Haussmann’s boulevards to his advantage. On May 21, Thiers and his troops surrounded the city and began murdering civilians with the smallest connections to the Commune. This began “La Semaine Sanglante” or “The Bloody Week” where over 20,000 people were executed. The Paris Commune was officially dissolved on May 28. A famous French saying that came out of this terrible time was, “A Paris, tout le monde ètait coupable,” (a Paris, everyone was guilty) (Merriman). This would become the largest mass murdering of people by their state until the Armenian genocide in WWI.
One of Edouard Manet’s famous paintings depicts the results of the Paris Commune. His painting The Barricade (1871) is a watercolor that displays “socialist defenders of the Commune [that] were caught and shot at the barricades they patrolled…the soldiers carried out the shooting with detached ruthlessness, which Manet showed to convey the measured approach the government took to eliminate the Commune” (National Galleries). Manet is speaking out against the actions of Thiers’ government, but realizes that in a time so politically violent he cannot afford to publish this painting while still living in France. The significance in this painting does not lie solely with its depiction, but with the context in which Manet received inspiration for it. He watched, and drew, the summary execution as it took place. Rather than just being a painting, it is transformed into an early form of frontline journalism. This painting shows Manet as a war photographer. He gives the audience an insight to the horrors people in Paris were experiencing. Manet eventually published The Barricade which now hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.
The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The pamphlet was written in order to distribute a cohesive communist theory and potential guideline for achieving a classless society. The edition used here was found in the Simpson Library and contains The Communist Manifesto, a translation of the first draft of Friedrich Engels’, The Principles of Communism, and a final section entitled, The Communist Manifesto After 100 Years. In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels define two new social classes that have emerged from the industrial revolution and capitalist economy – the bourgeoisie and the proletarians. They state “that the first step in the revolution of the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy” (39). In The Principles of Communism, Engels restates that “[the industrial revolution] has to an ever greater degree ruined the old middle class…and two new branches have been created which are gradually swallowing up all the others – big capitalists and the wholly propertyless” (68).
The Paris Commune was one of the first successful examples of the proletariat class overthrowing its oppressor, the bourgeoisie. Although only lasting three months, the Paris Commune helped Marx and Engels to further develop their theories toward a real world application of Communism. After witnessing the events surrounding the rise and fall of the Paris Commune, Marx and Engels “added a principle of great importance which was absent from the original, namely, that ‘the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes’” (90). When asked in The Principles of Communism, “What will this new social order have to be like?” Engels responded that “above all, it will have to take control of industry and of all branches of production out of the hands of mutually competing individuals, and instead institute a system in which all these branches of production are operated by society as a whole, according to a common plan, and with participation of all members of a society” (74).
The Paris Commune may not have had long term success, but it had long lasting effects for communist revolutions around the world. Huberman and Sweezy state that “in their last joint preface, Marx and Engels [argued that] by 1882, Russia formed ‘the vanguard of revolutionary action in Europe,’ and this development inevitably gave rise to new questions and problems which did not and could not arise within the framework of the original Manifesto” (91). This did not mean that the general principles put forth by the Manifesto were obsolete, but that as society changes, so too will the non-textual application of Communism.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. 3rd ed. New York, New York:
Monthly Review Press, 1964. 1-66.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “The Principles of Communism.” In The Communist
Manifesto, 67-86. 3rd ed. New York, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1964.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “The Communist Manifesto After 100 Years.” In The
Communist Manifesto, 87-113. 3rd ed. New York, New York: Monthly Review Press,
Merriman, John. “2. The Paris Commune and Its Legacy.” YouTube. 2007. Accessed November
24, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clDZl40CJik.
“National Galleries of Scotland.” La Barricade − Edouard Manet − M − Artists A-Z − Online
Collection − Collection −. Accessed November 24, 2015.
Primary Source Assignment
November 24, 2015
Analyzing three primary sources from the years 1886 through 1940, about John D. Rockefeller and his impact on the Industrial Revolution shows how he dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. Business Trust. The first primary source is an article from a historic newspaper called the Chicago Daily Tribune. The second is a photo of John D. Rockefeller playing gold in 1921, entitled “The Richest Man in the World – John D. Rockefeller on gold links”, and the third is a book found in The Simpson Library’s collection titled “John D. Rockefeller: Robber Baron, or Industrial Statesman?”. These sources explain the history, the social and period context about the source, and give an overview of the context of the history within which it was produced.
My first primary source, a news article, entitled “Oil in Aladdin’s Lamp: John D. Rockefeller, The Richest Man in America”, written in 1886, Rockefeller’s was called “The Aladdin of the age” (Chicago Daily Tribune). This article stated how influential John D. Rockefeller was in the oil industry. The main points that the article covers is how Rockefeller started working from bottom and then moved his way upward through odd jobs, then becoming one of the richest men in the world, from the Standard Oil Trust and the amount of stock the company held (Chicago Daily Tribune).
The historic content in this source shows how recognized Rockefeller was and how significant his company was, especially when compared to the lack of other oil companies in the time. This demonstrates that the people of the era truly cared about this topic. The content of this article is from a face to face sit down interview between the reporter, John D. Rockefeller, and other inventors and investors of the era. A look inside of the companies’ management and which companies the people should invest their money into helps the consumers realize if it would be successful and whether or not to move forward in capitalizing.
The second primary source is a picture of John D. Rockefeller playing golf sometime between the years of 1895 and 1921. This picture showed that John D. Rockefeller did recreational activities as well as founding and building a company based off his money and new discoveries with oil. This photo is displayed with other photos under the category of “Gold, Recreation, and Sports” and also with photos of other famous people playing recreational sports in the Smithsonian Museum of History (Smithsonian Museum of History).
This photo of John D. Rockefeller demonstrates the need for people to see just how “normal” famous and influential people are and that they experience simple daily pleasures as well. Individuals of the time period needed to be re-assured that the big time leaders of the popular companies have other things on their mind than money and business. Even though Rockefeller was classified as “The Richest Man in the World”, this picture shows he was still ordinary.
The last primary source, I found in the Simpson Library. It is a book entitled, “John D. Rockefeller: Robber Baron, or Industrial Statesman?” by author Latham. This book, written in 1940s just after the death of Rockefeller, has chapters titles “The Muckrakers”, “The Standard Oil Company”, “The Robber Barons”, “Some Experiences in the Oil Business”, “Rebates and Standard Oil”, “The Old Self Interest”, A General Evaluation”, “An Academy Portrait”, and “Wealth against Commonwealth”. These chapters and what they contain inform the reader about the political side of the business and life (Latham).
This book, along with the period’s context surrounding the source, demonstrates a natural flow through the time period. Starting with Muckrakers, which were the investigative journalists of the time who wrote about the public known facts as well as information that was not meant for the public. The book then starts going through rebates and the standard oil prices and rise and fall. The sections informs the reader about the money put in and invested as well as the money made from the oil industry.
These primary sources help shape an overview of John D. Rockefellers impact the economy and oil business. Him impression that he left on the Industrial Revolution made him to be the first great U.S. Business Trust. His domination is shown through this newspaper article, photo, and book and will leave a mark on all of the viewers who use them as research.
Chicago Daily Tribune. “Oil in Aladdin’s Lamp: John D. Rockefeller, The Richest Man in America.” Chicago Daily Tribune (1886): 1. Article.
Latham. John D. Rockefeller: Robber Baron, or Industrial Statesman? Boston, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, San Fransisco, London: D.C. Heath and Company, 1949. Document.
Smithsonian Museum of History. 1895-1921. The Richest Man in the World- John D. Rockefeller on golf links. Underwood and Underwood Glass Stereograph. Photograph. 20 November 2015.
The first source that I found is a picture of a newspaper article from World War II. The newspaper is The New York Times and they tell the public what is going on in the world. Even though it took a long time for the United States to get involved in World War II we were still informed about what was going on. We did not step into the war because we did not want to be involved with war. In this article the United States was made aware of what was happening all around the world. In 1939 Hitler invaded Poland and this catalyzed the rest of World War II. The United States did not realize that Hitler’s plans were to take over the world. He tried to do this by first trying to unify Europe and he got pretty far with his plan. Americans were not aware that this event would start another world war. Not only were we informed of Poland being invaded but we also found out about all the cities that were being bombed.
The second source that I found is an article from 1947. It is called the Marshall Plan in which the secretary of state gave a speech at the University of Harvard regarding the aftermath of World War II. He talks about the situation and how we can all see what has happened and how it is so difficult for anyone to wrap their heads around it. He goes on to say that it is hard for us to understand it because we are so far removed from the situation. He continues to talk about the destruction and loss of lives. The European economy is completely destroyed because of the preparations for war. Most businesses, insurances companies, banks, shipping companies, were lost or disappeared. Even confidence in the European currency has been shaken to the core. All of this has affected current production of goods and food. Both the citizens in the city and the country are struggling to survive. He says that we have to help Europe and try to return them to their prior economic state. He says that we are striving to fight poverty, hunger and desperation. We need to help revive the working class so they can get back on their feet. He suggested a program for the United States and Europe, where we could start to help Europe immediately.
Source one: “Primary Source Document Analysis.” Miss Schlegel’s Social Studies Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
Source two: Marshall, George. “Marshall Plan.” Marshall Plan (Primary Source Document) (2009): 1. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
During the very early stages of the Enlightenment a new art form arose in France that quickly spread to all of Europe. This form of art was known as Rococo. Differing from Baroque art, Rococo art focused on using bright colors, paying attention to detail, and ornamenting objects to display beauty. Even though the form differed from country to country, it still appealed to all those who were wealthy and served a symbol of wealth if one owned a piece of Rococo art.
Theatre during the Age of Enlightenment became very popular and flourished across Europe, particularly in England. New theatres were built and citizens of all sorts flocked to them to see whatever play was being performed. Also during this time Shakespeare’s plays became very popular and were performed often, but were rewritten slightly to better relate to the current time.
Music during the Age of Enlightenment has been labeled today as being Baroque and Classical. Since the Baroque and Classical eras overlap one cannot be labeled as the prominent type during this age. Many of most famous composers of orchestral music were born and or produced masterpieces during these eras. Some of the composers who are associated with this era include Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Joseph Haydn. The music during this time, which was Baroque and Classical, dominated all other forms of music across Europe. Also the characteristics of music changed as dynamics, tension and release, and more prominent use of rhythms were used.
The Women’s Patriotic club, gouache, was painted by Jean-Baptiste Lesueur during the French Revolution in the 18th century. The image is of the Women’s Patriotic Club which is a Club of Republican Women. In the year 1791 through 1793, women form these groups helped the Republican regimes and the liberal constitutional as well as argue to have the same political rights as men. In the picture, women are shown adding coins to the patriotic donations of the assembly. In 1792, Olympe de Gouge offers an assembling cause in the Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizens.
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of 13 trials that were held in Germany in 1945. These trials were for the purpose of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice. Some of the defendants were doctors and high-ranking Nazi officials. They were being charged on crimes against the peace and crimes against humanity.
John D. Rockefeller was the founder of the Standard Oil Company. His establishment controlled about 90 percent of US refineries and pipelines in the early 1880s. As he started to modify his business he then moved his oil wells westward for new endeavors. Entering foreign markets in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, Rockefeller had become one of the richest persons in the world because of his dominance in the oil and railroad industries. His wealth and success made him a target for journalists and politicians who saw him as a sign of corporate greed and criticized his methods. In the late 1930s, a quote was published concerning him, his methods, and his way to success: “He was accused of crushing out competition, getting rich on rebates from railroads, bribing men to spy on competing companies, of making secret agreements, of coercing rivals to join the Standard Oil Company under threat of being forced out of business, building up enormous fortunes on the ruins of other men, and so on”
The French Revolution was a major event in not only french, but world history as well. Scholars, historians, and students alike often study and discuss the time period in great detail. The significance of this time period is not limited to just when it was happening but it has long lasting effects still felt today. The slogan most identified with the revolution was “Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite”. This slogan outlines the changes and effects of the revolution.
During the revolution many changes in thinking came through in regards to the role of the state. The dynamic shifted during the revolution from the people of the state being subjects, to now being citizens. These citizens now declared their rights instead of simply having them told to them, as shown in works such as “Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen”. The monarchy was thrown out and made the transition to a republic. Another long term effect of the french revolution is the churches decline of power within France. France was mainly Catholic before the revolution and the Pope and the Vatican were a huge source of influence in France. The revolutionary ideals caused people to distrust the church and simply not allow the church to have power over them.
The people no longer wanted to be ruled by a small percentage of the population, which leads to the second point in the slogan, Egalite. Leading up to the revolution there was a very uneven distribution of the country’s wealth. The revolution sparked many labor party movements to try to combat this imbalance. Also the idea that everyone pays taxes. Another effect of Egalite is the idea that all citizens are equal under the law and have certain rights. A key effect of the Revolution was the rise of Nationalism. People took the idea of Fraternite and banded together under one national identify. They took pride in their country and no longer held allegiance to a ruler, but to a state instead. Politics were also radicalized at this time. The revolution was the spark that led to some infamous political upheavals, such as the reign of terror. This extremism lead to the demonization of the monarchy and by association the death of many monarchs.
The revolution had several long lasting effects. The overthrow of the monarchy facilitated the rise of Napoleon, and by association the Napoleonic code. The Napoleonic code was spread to some Latin American countries and still is in use today .Also the ending of the feudal system with the Monarchy allowed emergence of the middle class. The effect of Nationalism could be felt in the future pushes to unify other European countries such as Italy and Germany. The French Revolution took place over 200 years ago, however its effects can still be identified today.