The Magic Lantern

Three Points:

1) Timothy Ash’s accounts begin in Warsaw, Poland. He describes the progression of the Solidarity movement, and how it came to replace communism. With Hungary, the end of communism came with the funeral of Imre Nagy, thirty one years after his death. However, this did not result in any type of extensive mobilization on the behalf of Hungarian society. Ash names several traits as being distinctive of Hungary’s government at this time. Its government contained multi-party politics, composed of members of the old-new party, and the economic crisis had worsened as a result of the “refolution” occurring.… Read the rest here

Declaration on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

Three points

1) The United Nations starts out by reaffirming the dignity and worth of the human person, the yearning for freedom in dependent peoples, the equal rights of men and women, and the need for better standards of life.

2) According to the UN, an end must be put to colonialism and all practices associated with it. Exploitation in colonies is a violation of human rights.

3) People and nations have the right to self-determination.… Read the rest here

Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech

Three Points

1) Churchill identifies the US as being at the pinnacle of its world power. With this power comes a sense of duty and responsibility for the future of the world.

2) Churchill sees Russia as posing a threat to the relative peace of the world that follows World War II. He believes that Russia doesn’t necessarily want a war, but they desire expansion of their power and the “fruits of war”. He sees Russia as having the potential to repeat events similar to those that Germany sought in World War II.… Read the rest here

Civilization and Die Weltanshauung

Three Points:

1) Weltanschauung offers a solution to all problems in existences by way of a comprehensive hypothesis and construction. That way, everything finds a place.

2) Religion is a negative influence on civilization, as it inhibits thought and exerts power over human emotions. Furthermore, religion is dismissed by Freud as outdated and ignorant.

3) Civilization progresses due to economic situations, and is comparable to an organic process. Evolution of civilization is brought on by the struggle for life of humans.… Read the rest here

Darwin and the Origin of Species

Author: Charles Darwin (1802-1882) was an English naturalist and geologist, whose contributions to evolutionary theory were significant. He was born into a wealthy family, and his father was a doctor, which Darwin almost pursued as a career path. His family was largely Unitarian. Darwin was highly critical of the Bible as a source of history, and traveled the world in order to disprove many of the Bible’s scientific stances.

Context: 1859, when much of the world believed in the Bible as an explanation for the science of the natural world.… Read the rest here

The Subjection of Women

Author: John Stuart Mill was an Englishman, living from 1806 to 1873. He worked as a philosopher, political economist, civil servant, and member of Parliament. Taught by his father, he experienced a rigorous, home-schooled education. His close relationship with his wife influenced his writings on women’s rights. Mill was an atheist.

Context: 1869. Britain was prosperous and was continuing to experience effects of industrial revolution. During period of British imperialism.

Language: Mill writes in a tone that is intelligent, thought-provoking, and subjective.… Read the rest here

The Theory of the Leisure Class and Conspicuous Consumption

Author: Thorstein Veblen was an American economist and sociologist, along with being the leader of the institutional economics movement. He was born to Norwegian parents, and studied at well-known American colleges.

Context: The Theory of the Leisure Class was written in 1899, following the Industrial Revolution and during a time of more widespread prosperity as a result of industrialization.

Language:Using a didactic, matter-of-fact tone, Veblen uses the repetition of words such as “consumption”, “leisure”, “vicarious”, “superior”, “servants”, and “classes” to instill the key message of the work into readers’ minds.… Read the rest here

Count Cavour and Nationality

In “The Program of Count Cavour” from 1846, around the beginnings of the Italian Unification, Count Cavour expresses that “no people can attain a high degree of intelligence and morality unless its feeling of nationality is strongly developed. This noteworthy fact is an inevitable consequence of the laws that rule human nature”. As a powerful figure in the unification of Italy, Cavour makes purposefully strong statements such as these to fuel a sense of determination and obligation in the peoples of Italy.… Read the rest here

Consequences of the Industrial Revolution through “Silesian Weavers”

“A curse on this lying father-nation/ Where thrive only shame and degradation”

With a great deal of good always comes a fair amount of bad. So when the Industrial Revolution took off, along with the economy and development of machinery, the poor treatment of workers came to light. This neglect for the welfare of laborers is brought to attention by Heinrich Heine, author of “Silesian Weavers”. In this poem, Heine uses strong negative diction to impassion his audience, in turn sparking the development of a constitution for Prussia.… Read the rest here

Nationalism and La Marseillaise

Nationalism, according to Halsall, is the “most successful political philosophy of the modern era”. In order to be considered a nation, a state or group of states must have a language, tradition, or common history that binds the people, which, as stated by von Herder, must be honored by the ruler. Also, a nation is considered more legitimate in its basis than other forms of government labeled “theocracies”, “empires”, and “dynastic rights”. As a German himself, von Herder recognizes Germany’s characteristics to compile those which resemble a nation, but discerns that they are unique, “peculiar”, and different from typical attributes of a nation.… Read the rest here