Flocking to Success – Immigration

For me, this essay brings up an enduring question throughout much of history: “What to do with immigrants or newcomers?” It also leads to the follow up question: “Who should be doing these actions?” The fact is that when a country starts becoming successful, like Germany in the late twentieth century and like the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century, people will flock to that nation. For them, it represents the possibility of opportunity or escape from a potentially bad homeland (refugee).… Read the rest here

European Common Market (1957)

This document is a press statement written from the United States’ perspective that described a potential European Common Market and free rade area. This common market was to be comprised of Belgium, France, the German Federal Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The intent of these negotiations was to eliminate trade barriers between member countries and to establish a common external tariff towards outside countries. Both the United States and Great Britain favored this initiative because it would further the political and economic strength of Western Europe by unifying this market.… 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

ACLAIM: Dadabhai Naoroji, British Rule

Author: Dadabhai Naoroji was the first member of the British Parliament from Asia.  He was born in Bombay before British colonization.  Along with being a MP he was a social and political leader and a cotton trader.  Arguably his most important impact on Indian society was that he was one of the founding members of the Indian National Congress.

Context: The piece was written in 1871, well into the British occupation of India.  The beginnings of a new middle class and the Indian National congress was developing.… Read the rest here

Housing Problems

Housing Problems is a 1935 document about housing problems in Britain. The video is very similar to Orwell’s piece entitled ‘Road to Wigan Pier’. It depicts the poor conditions that the lower class in Britain had to live in. It is also interesting to notice that the people who are interviewed are wearing what appears to be decent clothes, with one man even wearing a three-piece suit, without the jacket. I don’t know if this was common attire, but in my opinion it looks like these people did their best to look good, despite the fact that this was a film documenting their poor living conditions.… Read the rest here

Poverty in Interwar Britain

Following the First World War, the general British attitude toward the poor and their situations changed. It was then thought that it was people’s own fault for being poor. They were too lazy to work hard enough to afford better living quarters. In his writings “Road to Wigan Pier” and “Down and Out in Paris and London”, George Orwell, argues against this idea. Those who are poor, for the most part, are not well educated, and perform unskilled labor.… Read the rest here

The “Seeds” of Eugenics

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In this overt example of interwar propaganda, the practice of eugenics is promoted through a poignant visual and textual analogy to agriculture.  The double meaning of the key term “seed” is utilized in a comparison between spreading healthy plant seed for a bountiful harvest and spreading healthy human “seed” for the purposes of procreation, specifically the creation of a physically fit, mentally proficient, racially pure population.

The first block of text that appears at the top of the poster, “Only healthy seed must be sown!”, alludes to the exclusionist principles of eugenics.  … Read the rest here

Eugenics and Citizenship

In Leora Auslander’s ‘National Taste’? she explains how the German and French populations addressed questions about the conceptions of citizenship by examining the tastes and preferences of various citizens within specific regions and also the nation-state as a whole. Although each country had its own unique concept of citizenship; the French interpreted citizenship using a just soli policy (citizenship determined by region of birth), whereas in Germany citizenship was determined by ancestral lineage and blood lines, both cultures developed their own “language of goods.” This “language of goods” enabled citizens to look beyond the mere race or appearance of a person and instead focus on their material possessions to gain a cohesiveness between distinct social groups and form a national identity.… Read the rest here

Eugenics and National Identity

In Breeding Superman, Dan Stone aims to describe and resolve the confusion that still surrounds eugenics in inter-war Britain.  Many people are under the impression that the study of eugenics in Britain was based primarily on class, and was less focused on race.  However, Stone argues vehemently against this belief, stating that race and class eugenics were virtually interchangeable in Britain.

Stone notes several influential British eugenicists, including Robert Reid Rentoul, Charles Armstrong, and C.P.… Read the rest here

National Identity: the Role of Eugenics and Culture

Leora Auslander’s “’National Taste?’ Citizenship Law, State Form, and Everyday Aesthetics in Modern France and Germany, 1920-1940” described the way in which the French and German nations had dealt with the issue of identity and citizenship, specifically in terms of the Jewish populations. This text illustrated the similarities between Parisian and Berliner Jews and the larger French and German populations. These groups were marginalized in various and different ways in each country, but, through analyzing personal belongs and furnishings, Auslander discovered a cultural cohesion throughout the groups.… Read the rest here