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Jeremy Welling
Tao Peng
History 302
Three Isms Paper
Three Isims Paper
Nationalism, Liberalism, and Socialism. These words hold a lot of power in the world today and
have helped Western civilization as well as non- western countries become modernized, so lets
take a look at how we got here. First we will start off with Nationalism and its significance, then
we will move into Liberalism and why its important, and then we will move into Socialism and
why it mattered. Finally, we will end with how the three isms impacted modernity and what the
future holds for them.
First, Nationalism got its first little boost when the American Revolution happened. This
is one of the first times in history that a tyrannical government had moved the masses to rebel.
One of the shining examples of nationalism is the sheer fact that America even dared to
challenge the strongest power in the world at the time. With a powerful 80,000 soldiers and no
Navy we battled an army of professionally trained soldiers and one of the best naval forces in the
world (Silvers ET. All). The Americans faced impossible odds facing the British, but with a little
help from the French we were able to defeat England.
Now, the French Revolution is where modern Nationalism starts to come in. It wasnt
just a movement that just was about swearing your allegiance to a church or a family. This
movement was about swearing your life to a nation and rallying behind a cause that would help
further the nation. It was a really powerful movement of the masses because the peasant class
had members of the nobles who were able to be a voice of the people and in turn, a voice for the

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movement. With this the Third Estate was able to turn themselves into the National Assembly
and pass some pretty radical reforms like abolishing serfdom, and abolishing guilds which no
longer let institutions as a whole bully the lower class people.
After this little victory in France the revolutionaries began declaring war on its enemies
which bolstered the glowing spark of nationalism even more. This Allowed for Napoleon
Bonaparte to take over and run France as well as spread the fires of revolution even further. He
was able to expand Frances power and soon became a light to inspire other countries to fight for
their independence and further spread Nationalism. (Rowe)
This movement led to smaller countries like Greece and Belgium to fight for their
empires and becoming independent states. It also called for dramatic reforms to other huge
countries to look at the flaws in themselves. Count Camillo Di Cavour was able to aid in the
unification of Italy by helping Victor Emanuel II come into power. He also gained help from
Giuseppe Garibaldi and was able to unify Italy as a whole. Otto von Bismarck was the prime
Minister of Prussia and was able to unify Germany by waging war on France which allowed him
to absorb the German federation and after winning the war with France was able to annex
Alsace- Lorraine and complete the unification of Germany. Also after the triumph of World War
I, tons of countries were freed from oppression as it lead to the fall of the Russian, Austrian, and
Ottoman Empires. This movement had an impact on non- western civilizations like Asia and
Africa. In China Sun Yat-sen inspired a huge nationalist movement by helping to over through
the Qing and also became a huge inspiration to the nationalists that would form the Chinese
Communist Party which established the only successful communist nation that is still in
existence. (Silvers ET. All)

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Liberalism got its start as some liberal ideas were mentioned by some of the ancient
Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. They were very ecstatic about the polis and how it
treated it citizens fairly and protected there freedom. Then the reformation came around and
inspired Individualism, which became one of the core components to Liberalism. The real start is
when the Enlightenment happens and you get guys like John Locke. One of Lockes key ideals
was that individual rights are more important than state rights that would infringe individual
rights. Locke also suggested than the natural law of human rights was separate from divine law
which again incorporates ideas from the Reformation. Locke also suggests that humanity is
naturally good and should be entrusted with liberty and that people deserve to be equal and are
naturally free. He also posited that humans have property rights not only over things they own,
but intangible concepts they own, like there labor power. He along with others, also suggested
that the government she be of a self-governed social contract. This ties in to Lockes arguments
about the ruling people giving their consent and where the authority of the government ends.
Liberalism got a lot of its fundamental beliefs from earlier revolutions like the American
and French Revolutions. Ideas, like preventing certain classes from placing crazy restrictions on
another and removing distasteful categorical names like peasant or commoner. Again we see
direct connection to the French revolution and the so called Third Estate showing that they did
have power when they rallied together for a cause in this case Nationalism, which helped to fuel
their Liberalist Idea. Another French Revolution idea was the freedom from institutional
privileges. The clergy and guild members had special privileges that gave them an unfair

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advantage and the National assembly abolished those along with serfdom. Also the French freed
there people from the ability to be punished unfairly be arbitrary acts like taking your property
you own with no just reason. All of these things together lead to some pretty revolutionary
liberal ideas like basic freedoms, civil rights and private ownership. (Pang)
Liberalism did spread as Latin America as it had some success in the 19th century, as an
example Columbia had a very liberal constitution in 1853 that granted universal male suffrage.
Also the populist movement spread which wasnt exactly democracy but it did have some liberal
policies like setting a minimum wage and increasing pension plans. Japan had the Tashio
Democracy for a while which expanded suffrage and also passed very liberal security laws. In
Africa as well as Asia there were a lot of little countries that were once part of huge empires,
which were given freedom like Egypt and India. India Specifically had Gandhi who was
following what he called the Swaraji which he believed was the right of the Indian people to selfrule. This lead him to lead the 24 day salt march in protest of the British control of India and the
monopoly they had on salt. Gandhi asked his fellow people to pan their own salt from the river
which the British couldnt tax. (Silvers ET. All)
Another form of Liberalism shot up from this which was Democratic Liberalism, which
not only cares for voting and basic human rights meant that the state was also responsible for the
social welfare of the state. (Pang) It fallows a simple system with public insurance avoiding
financial risks by having everyone pay in money, but you get benefits based on your health
needs. Thus people who are dependent on you get free coverage based on what you make to
ensure that everyone is covered. They also address certain health risks that would lead to

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mortality and then base what your coverage is and how much you will pay for your coverage.
This applies to employed people only and thus also affects businesses. (Pfaller)
Also, college and schooling is free. The main idea of the welfare system is to have a
prosperous environment for all of its people. This concepts limits some things but aims to
provide reliable health and provide decent wages that allow for an adequate lifestyle. (Pfaller)
Most nations that have any form of Liberalism generally have a welfare program in place, some
better than others. Most European nations have some form of welfare along with the United
States. (Pang)
Socialism had some of its most basic principles established from some very famous
principles established by philosophers like Plato in 4th century BCE, which promoted
collectivism or public ownership. Socialism really arouse from the industrial revolution. It was
the first time that the people of the lower class grasped the idea that they had power, in the fact
that they owned their labor power. Also a lot of urbanization was happening which lead to poor
people moving in to find jobs. This set up for people to see the huge gap in wealth distribution
and see how much of a problem poverty was. This lead to a huge problem of class struggles
mainly the fighting between the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat class. Then you have Karl Marx
and his friend Fredrick Engels who come up with modern Socialism. The big idea behind it is
analyzing the flaws of capitalism. One big flaw that Karl Marx saw was addressed in the Surplus
Value theory in which Marx basically states that the surplus value is the money that, some say
was profit should be going to the workers because it is there labor power that is providing the
source of the profit. Instead the goods value of the good they produce is higher than the wage
they are getting, so they cannot afford to purchase the good. If you apply to every good that

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exists in a capitalist market then people cannot afford to buy all of the goods they need and that
will lead to under consumption and an unavoidable economic crisis. This led them to establish
the International Working Mans Association, which although it failed, helped to spread
Socialism. America has a communist party and also had some socialist programs that were
established back when the New Deal was being formed, like Social Security. Great Britain and
Germany along with several other countries in Europe as well as the U.S. all have communist
political parties mostly in the form of Social-Democratic Parties. (Pang)
As an example of how successful it spread to non-western nations, I would say it wasnt
quite successful as the other two isms, but is still notable. In Latin America, Fidel Castro led a
rebellion to over through the government which he believed was corrupt due to American
business being there and established a Communist form of government. (Silvers ET. All)
Communism is a higher form of socialism and was what Karl Marx was envisioning when he
first developed Socialism. (Pang) Another shining example of how Socialism has flourished
would be Lenin and his October Revolution. Vladimir Lennon lead the revolution to over
through the tsarist government and establish a communist nation under the hammer and sickle
flag. Lenin died in 1922 and his successor was Joseph Stalin. Under Stalin the farms of Russia
got turned into giant state farms as a need to mechanize the production of farm goods, with some
farmers rather than turn over there goods decide to kill their livestock and a lot of them were
killed for refusing to turn over their farms. He also heavily modernized production and removed
private ownership as a whole. The whole system was less than perfect and even though the
Soviet Union collapsed, its legacy is still felt in Russia today. However, one of the best
examples of Socialism in the modern day has to be China. Under Mao Zedong, China was swept

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by the communist movement. Mao passed a land reform act that led Chinese party cadres to
enter Korea and take the rural land and split it up among the peasants. Any farmers that resisted
were often killed or brutally beaten. Mao also launched the Great Leap Forward plan in an
attempt to mechanize agricultural but ultimately lead to a huge famine and the death of 30
million people because of the forced labor. China as a communist nation is still around today and
is the only world power that is a communist nation. (Silvers ET. All)
As for where these three isms are taking us and whether or not they modernized western
and non-western civilization, this is mostly opinions based on the information presented above. I
feel like these three isms definitely helped to transform western civilization. If you look at the
United States, Nationalism had to take place for us to even become an independent country in the
first place. We also requested to the king to gives us certain natural rights which just happen to
be liberal Ideas inspired by enlightenment thinkers. We also had Socialist programs in place
from the New Deal, so yes even Socialism played a role in developing the United States. Also,
Europe certainly was brought into the modern world with Nationalism and Liberalism playing a
huge role in the French Revolution. As for non-western countries, I think that they did play a
huge part in helping nations across the world becoming independent and for some to be huge key
players but that doesnt mean all of them became modern. Mostly this has to do with dependence
on larger nations. I feel like for a country to be modernized, it has to have a stable means of
production and be able to take care of itself as a society. I feel as though a lot of non-western
countries cannot take care of their society as a whole and rely on foreign aid to be able to survive
as an independent country and to me that is a sign of not being modern. There are some countries

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that managed to become modern in non- western society, but I feel like that is because they were
big enough and able to build very efficient economies to help take care of themselves. Also as
Professor Pang stated in his lecture, society in a modern age is moving into more of an olive
shape with a rising middle class. Pre- modern society was a dumbbell shape where you had a
very big amount of people that were poor, and then a large amount of the countrys wealth
distributed to successful businessmen and women. I feel like some non-western countries
havent moved out of that state with an overwhelming amount of impoverished people and their
wealth is now distributed among corrupt business leaders and corrupt politicians in their country.
Again this is mostly a problem of smaller countries because they dont have an economy to
support a modern country.
As for the Future of the isms in the world. I feel like Liberalism and Socialism are going
to be battling it out for a while and then eventually we will have an ism that is a mix of the two, a
lot of the programs they have are similar, but obviously one is a little more radical. That doesnt
change the fact that they almost seem like they are supposed to go together so I feel they will
eventually mix. As for Nationalism, I feel like it is here to stay because there is nothing of my
knowledge that can crush the soul of Nationalism. When someone gets behind a cause enough
that it starts to move masses of people. It is an inextinguishable fire that burns within all of the
individuals that support the cause. To me it seems like a foolish act to fight against people who
are willing to give up there life in order to support a cause and make sure that it is fulfilled
because they believe it is for the good of the nation. I also feel that Nationalism inspires people
to have a certain pride in their country and I highly see that fading away. I feel like being proud

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of your country is worked into our daily lives. We say the pledge of allegiance every day at
school and learn about our past in history class. We sing a song known as the national anthem at
the beginning of every sporting event that we have in America, which is another form of us
incorporating it into our daily lives. Also we have an army program that unless there is a draft,
we have brave men and women that lay their life down for their country as an act of patriotism
so we can be free. We also have an entire day that is devoted to the day we were freed from
England. This is just from an American point of view, but I am sure there are many examples of
other nationalist practices that happen all over the world like the fact that other countries have
national anthems.
I already discussed Socialism above, but I also think I needed to address the issue on its
own since we had to countries that were examples of modern socialist government. Again as
stated before I feel like this term will eventually mix in with Liberalism in western civilizations,
but I am not so sure about it in non-western civilization since China is still thriving as a nation
and it is a Communist nation. I dont think socialism will ever be wiped out in the non-western
culture because the impact of the Soviet Union is still being felt in Russia today. Also, even if
the communist government collapses in China, that doesnt mean that it wont leave a legacy.
Also there are a lot of smaller countries that dont have a stable government very often and are
often switching between democratic government and Communism, so Socialism is still bearing
its teeth in those regards. Also thinking kind of a big picture wise, I dont think any of these Isms
will ever fully die out. Even if everyone just stopped practicing them one day, there effects
would still be felt from how they impacted both western and non-western civilizations.

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Realistically the only one I can ever see dying off is Socialism, and that is because it has such a
negative connotation to it. People are so afraid to embrace new ideas that might challenge the old
idea of thinking that is might just dry out and die because no one uses it. As I said before
however, its effects will still be felt on western and non-western civilization.
Overall, I think that these three isms helped sculpt the way the world is and gave my
views on the future of the world. It is truly amazing to see how much three little words changed
the world.

Works Cited
Pfaller, Alfred. "The German Welfare State after National Unification." The German Welfare
State after National Unification. Fredrick Ebert Stiftung Library, Mar. 2008. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
Rowe, Michael. "French Revolution, Napoleon, and Nationalism in Europe - Oxford
Handbooks." French Revolution, Napoleon, and Nationalism in Europe - Oxford Handbooks.
Oxford Handbooks Online, May 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

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Silvers, P. V., Desnoyers, C. A., & Stow, G. B. (2015). Patterns of World History (2nd ed., Vol.
Combined). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Peng, Tao. "WESTERN SELF-TRANSFORMATION." Minnesota State University Mankato,
Mankato MN. 4 Apr. 2016. Lecture
Tuckness, Alex. "Locke's Political Philosophy." Stanford University. Stanford University, 09
Nov. 2005. Web. 19 Apr. 2016