Lecture for Week Eight Chapter 21
The conservative movement was a backlash over the excesses of the French Revolution. Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France emphasized the need for stability. Conservatives felt that an authoritarian state led by monarchs, aristocrats and the clergy were time-tested and the best.
The Congress of Vienna in 1815 advocated the principles of legitimacy and stability. This meant a return of the old regimes and maintaining a balance of power in Europe.
The revolutionary period had stirred up the ideologies of liberalism and nationalism which threatened the goals of the conservatives. Liberalism had a few basic assumptions. They included:
- Individualism and equality before the law
- Limited role for government
- No religious interference
- Nationalism rather than blind loyalty to a king
- Voting only for the property owning class
Among the writers who advocated liberal ideology were
- Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations. Laissez-Faire economics and the law of supply and demand
- Thomas Malthus and the Essay on Population. The poor are responsible for their own plight because population outpaces the food supply
- David Ricardo and the “Iron law of wages”
- John Stuart Mill and his work On Liberty
- Robert Owen – Cooperative Communities
Nationalism refers to a feeling of cultural identity where one is loyal to a country rather than a king. Factors that promote nationalism are language, traditions, religion and defined territorial boundaries.
Utopian Socialists believed in cooperation rather than competition
Romanticism was a reaction to classicism and reason. It extolled the role of emotion, feelings, spontaneity, and religion. It emphasized nature and the mystical middle ages. Its effect was seen in paintings, poetry and literature of the time.