Survival in Auschwitz

In Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi, Levi argued that one survived in Auschwitz by maintaining his humanity. In Auschwitz, everything possible was done to strip people of their humanity: upon arriving, people were robbed of their clothes, belongings, and money. They were then shaved and tattooed with numbers that replaced their names. People in Auschwitz lived without food or proper medical treatment; most were separated from their families. Everyone was forced to do back-breaking labor day after day with little to look forward to or hope for.… Read the rest here

The Economic Consequences of Peace

The Economic Consequences of Peace addresses the effects of the Versailles treaty on the already fragile German system. It described provisions of the Versailles treaty and then illustrates the tragic effects. Keynes explained how before the war the population was living “without much margin of surplus” (Keynes), and in the aftermath people had to restore this system before starvation became a huge issue. Keynes also issued the warning that “men will not always die quietly”, directing this at politicians and men in power and saying that the negative temperaments brought on by starvation/desperation could be fuel for future issues.… Read the rest here

Socialist Opinions in an Industrial Society

Robert Owen

Author

  • Robert Owen
  • English cotton manufacturer
  • “Utopian” socialist and workers’ rights advocate
  • Headed England’s Revolutionary Trades Union movement in 1830s
  • Worked in America/England

Context

  • Industrial Revolution is booming
  • Working conditions are not good and there are few laws in place to protect them
  • In United States, President Andrew Jackson defunded Second Bank of U.S. on March 28 (much to many peoples’ disapproval)

Language

  • Negative opinion on the flaws of the system
  • Persuasive with extended flowery (yet still understandable) language

Audience

  • Literate upper/middle class
  • Voters, landowners, business owners (people of everyday influence)
  • Great Britain’s people

Intent

  • Explain why the current system is so flawed
  • Incite change in a bloodless revolution

Message

  • Unite as Consolidated Union
  • By holding a strong moral influence, help man reach its full potential outside the evil grasps of the current flawed system

Karl Marx

Author

  • Karl Marx
  • Wealthy middle class
  • When this was published he was working as the editor to a paper in Paris

Context

  • Industrial Revolution
  • Very poor conditions for workers
  • France during the July Monarchy

Language

  • Very philosophical… breaks down each basic element and defines/redefines to reach a certain conclusion
  • Rational
  • Easy to understand and follow

Audience

  • Workers
  • Lower classes of Paris

Intent

  • Reach the workers and convince them of a socialist system where they are not devalued

Message

  • Political economy based on greed and competition
  • Workers are objectified, estranged, and treated poorly in a system based on greed
  • People are alienated from their products by the system which contradicts their nature
  • Private property causes this estrangement

Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon

Author

  • Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon
  • Scientist, businessman, and theorist
  • Writing had more influence after his death

Context

  • France under Napoleon’s constitutional monarchy
  • Industrial rev with poor working conditions and a lot of angry, hungry workers

Language

  • Emotional and persuasive
  • Many questions

Audience

  • Working class and middle class

Intent

  • Offer an opinion against laissez-faire economics

Message

  • Personal and social interests do not always coincide, which is why laissez-faire economics don’t always work
  • Those at the top become corrupted while those at the bottom suffer
Read the rest here

The French Political and Cultural Revolutions

****Response to Friday’s prompt that I was having issues posting
The transition from absolutism to enlightenment brought a new set of societal ideals that impacted both the political and social structure of France. By turning the hierarchical political system on its head, a significant cultural revolution was bound to accompany it.
Kant, in his analysis of enlightenment described it as man’s ability “to make use of understanding without direction from another” (Kant 1). This new emphasis on reason and self-reliance very directly confronts the old absolutist hierarchy, where everyone is reliant upon those higher in the social/political estate system.
Read the rest here