Reassessing Socialism

Eduard Bernstein composed “Evolutionary Socialism” as a response to the stigma the “Communist Manifesto” had created, while also addressing the problems he saw with this specific work.  Almost fifty years after the “Communist Manifesto” had been published, Bernstein saw many of Marx’s predictions to be incorrect and out of touch with the changing world.  Bernstein came from modest means as a jewish child growing up in Germany, which perhaps helped lead him against capitalist economics.  He starts off by addressing how the average person does not really understand the ramifications of socialism and would eventually end up repeating some random phrase he heard on the street1.  … Read the rest here

The Battle against Victorian Values

Emmeline Pankhurst, the founder of the “Women’s Social and Political Union,” was an integral contributor to the women’s suffrage movement in Britain. Born in Manchester to politically active parents, Pankhurst was introduced to the suffrage movement at a young age. She subsequently married Richard Pankhurst, a supporter of women’s suffrage who supported her activist work. In her 1913 writing “Militant Suffragist,” Pankhurst asserts that the suffrage movement in England, unlike its counterpart in the United States, had progressed past the state of advocacy into a revolutionary and civil war.… Read the rest here

Victorious Victorian ideals?

Samuel Smiles, a Scottish reformer involved in the Chartist movement, declared that individualism leads to success of society. Written in 1882, his book Self-Help inspired progress through rationality, attention to detail, and “patience and perseverance.”1 Smiles, a Victorian who promoted Victorian ideals, detested inheritance and rather believed that success should be determined through—or rather achieved by—relentless determination. Victorian ideals practiced in Britain during this time period separated Britain from the rest of the world, notably countries such as France, who dabbled through numerous Revolutions seeking to find the truth to society’s success.… Read the rest here

Females on the Front: The Evolution of Women’s Rights and Societal Roles

Mrs. John Sandford’s work Woman in her Social and Domestic Character was published in 1833 from Industrial England.  The work is difficult to comprehend as its intent reach out to every wife in the country.  The intent of this work was to inform women of the ways in which they are influenced and who they influence as well as their responsibilities as the familial matriarch.  Sandford’s message comes directly from the text when she wrote “Domestic life is a woman’s sphere, and it is there that she is most usefully as well as most appropriately employed”1. … Read the rest here

Smiles’ Contradiction

Samuel Smiles was a firm believer that growth comes from the individual; hard work, perseverance, and application all made an individual strong and knowledgeable.1 Smiles was a Scottish writer who learned the importance of self reliance from his childhood; as one of eleven children with no father, he learned from his mother the meaning of individual strength. When he was a little older he moved to England where he joined the chartists in fighting for worker’s rights.Read the rest here

Defining Etiquette

In the nineteenth century as capitalism was established in many developing countries around the world, the middle class grew significantly. People began to have more money and high society and socializing became something that was not just for the aristocracy. Thorstein Veblen discussed this phenomenon in his Theory of the Leisure Class where he wrote that this upper class consumes just for show and as a performance to solidify their social standing. He also briefly mentioned that women were responsible for consuming and demonstrating on their own behalf, but also to show the wealth and stature of their husbands.… Read the rest here

The Soviet Circus Welcomes all Nationalities

The film Circus, produced by the Soviet Union in 1936, was made in order to propagate the Union’s ideals and acceptance of all nationalities. The main hero, Marion Dixon, is chased out of the United States because of racial intolerance against her black son, Jimmy. Marion stumbles across Fronk Kneishitz, a wealthy German, who offers to take her traveling around the world and conceal the identity of her son in order to avoid persecution. Marion and Fronk Kneishitz end up on tour in Russia, where she soon meets an exemplary Soviet man, Martinov, and falls in love with him.… Read the rest here

Life’s a Circus

The 1936 Russian Soviet film, Circus, directed by Grigori Aleksandrov and Isidor Simkov, tells the story of a famous American performer, Marion Dixon, as she flees from the United States after persecution from giving birth to a black child. She goes with a corrupt theatrical agent, Franz von Kneishitz, who looks suspiciously like Adolf Hitler, to Russia where she becomes a circus performer. After falling in love with another performer, Ivan Petrovich Martinov, von Kneishitz becomes jealous and not only prevents her from staying with Petrovich, but actively abuses Marion, despite claiming to love her.… Read the rest here

Come one, come all

Aleksandrov and Simkov’s 1936 work of “Circus” combines the elements of farce, comedy, vaudeville, and melodrama in order to produce a ubiquitously enjoyable, light-hearted tale of heroism in the face of adversity laced with prominent themes of existing world politics and the Soviet socialist cause. The simple plot revolves mainly around the exploits of a fictitious American circus performer, Marion Dixon, and her engagements in love and peril as she tries to seek sanctuary in the Soviet Union in an attempt to escape the bigoted derision she faces in America at the cause of her being the mother to a black child.… Read the rest here

The Great Russian Melting Pot

The 1936 Soviet film “Circus” follows Marion Dixon, an American woman who flees to the USSR after giving birth to a biracial child. Once in Russia, Marion becomes a popular circus artist and falls in love with a fellow performer, Petrovich Martynov. The film was laced with comical antics and melodramatic, intertwining romances, but the end blatantly revealed underlying political messages concerning race and nationality, and the power of the Soviet government to inspire and mobilize its population.… Read the rest here