Lenin – Mouthpiece for the Future

Vladmir Lenin, a Russian Communist and revolutionary, was one of the most crucial, yet controversial, individuals of the twentieth century. Despite being born into a wealthy middle class family, he became interested in socialism and communism after Russian officials executed his brother in 1887.[1] Lenin wrote the text, What is to Be Done, just before the split of his party, the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, into the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.[2] In his writing, Lenin depicted the type of revolutionary and system of organization that he wanted most and thought would work the best.… Read the rest here

Kandinsky’s Push Against Materialist Culture

 

In the introduction to his book, “Concerning the Spiritual in Art,” Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) contradicts contemporary middle class values through a verbal assault on materialist culture, and more specifically, artwork. During this phase of his life, Kandinsky lived in pre-WWI Germany. Originally a scholar in law and economics, he only started studying art at age thirty.[1] It was likely his background in law and economics that enabled him to understand better the relationship between art and consumerism.… Read the rest here

A Manifesto So Compelling, Intriguing, Controversial, and Most Importantly, Still Relevant Today

The Communist Manifesto (1848)

Author: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

  • One of the most important and influential intellectuals of the nineteenth century
  • Economic situation was very volatile, but usually in poverty
  • Banned from entering many locations due to his radical ideas

Context:

  • Published in 1848
  • Industrial Revolution is either in full swing or starting to take hold, depending on location
  • The Communists has become feared by many in Western Europe, yet the group itself does not have a clear purpose, direction, or organization
    • Many of its members are not that knowledgeable of the complexities and history that Marx was able to notice
  • Western Europe is on the verge of revolution in many different locations – especially Germany

Language:

  • The Manifesto seems to be split into two in this regard:
    • Some sections are very dense with heavy academic wording and style → hard to read
    • Some sections are very straightforward and easy for everyone to understand
      • The list Marx made towards the end of the second section
      • The last words of the Manifesto, which are in all caps and are in simple terms
    • Marx, who ran his own newspaper, likely did this on purpose.
Read the rest here

ACLAIMing a Great Method for Primary Sources

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations:

 

Author: Adam Smith (1723-1790)

  • British philosopher and key member of the Scottish Enlightenment period; the “father of modern economics”; lots of higher education at the University of Glasgow and Oxford (although he preferred to study on his own when at Oxford).
  • Born into a relatively well-off family; father worked for the government; Smith was able to attend a relatively prestigious school.
  • Close relationship with David Hume, a fellow Scottish intellectual
  • The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) made Adam Smith well known in his area
    • Gets him a tutoring job with a young Duke
  • Tutoring job enabled Smith to travel and meet various intellectual greats in the areas he traveled to
    • One of which was Turgot!
Read the rest here

La Marseillaise

The French Revolution is often considered one of the most important revolutions in world history, because it was one of the most violent and yet romanticized series of events, and one of the most influential and impacting revolutions in history. For many, it served as a cautionary tale of what could happen to a country or a state if class struggles and separation became too great. (In fact, the French Revolution later impacted Karl Marx’s views toward capitalism and elitism.… Read the rest here