- Robert Owen
- English cotton manufacturer
- “Utopian” socialist and workers’ rights advocate
- Headed England’s Revolutionary Trades Union movement in 1830s
- Worked in America/England
- 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)
- Negative opinion on the flaws of the system
- Persuasive with extended flowery (yet still understandable) language
- Literate upper/middle class
- Voters, landowners, business owners (people of everyday influence)
- Great Britain’s people
- Explain why the current system is so flawed
- Incite change in a bloodless revolution
- 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
- Wealthy middle class
- When this was published he was working as the editor to a paper in Paris
- Industrial Revolution
- Very poor conditions for workers
- France during the July Monarchy
- Very philosophical… breaks down each basic element and defines/redefines to reach a certain conclusion
- Easy to understand and follow
- Lower classes of Paris
- Reach the workers and convince them of a socialist system where they are not devalued
- 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
- Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon
- Scientist, businessman, and theorist
- Writing had more influence after his death
- France under Napoleon’s constitutional monarchy
- Industrial rev with poor working conditions and a lot of angry, hungry workers
- Emotional and persuasive
- Many questions
- Working class and middle class
- Offer an opinion against laissez-faire economics
- 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
Author:(1760-1825), Also known as Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon was a French economist who challenged his nation’s traditional economic composition. He believed that the economy should be strategically industrialized eather than run it a Laissez-faire manner. This was one of the earlier writings advocating socialism. His thinking that the common man was a hard worker demonstrates his positive reflxtion on human nature.
Context: France had always had a capitalist economic structure. Comte de Saint-Simon was a rising political figure in France. He believed that it was more beneficial to society to fit the needs of the working class rather than the wealthy or “idle” class. He felt that through an enlightened industrial class, products could be raised to fit the needs of the poor.
Language: Comte de Saint-Simon uses a persuasive tone that is design to appeal to the reader’s sense of emotion. He uses words that attempt to convice the audience that people should be hard workers dedicated to the betterment of society rather than their own interests.
Audience: Saint-Simon is addressing the common people of France. Wants to convince the majority of society that his new economic system is better than the old Laissez-fair system. He realizes that the wealthiest class will not support his system so he does not attempt to reach them. In fact, he even blames their own greed for the flaws in French society.
Intent: The essay is intended to create support for his alternative to France’s existing economic structure. He intends to spread his belief in the common man’s hardworking nature to the middle class in French society. He believes this composition as opposed to the existing capitalist structure would raise the standard of living for society. Likewise, he realizes that if his political system is implemented, he will likely be viewed as the face of French economics.
Message: The message of the essay is that society be tailored around the working man. He asserts that the working class is the cornerstone of the economy, however, the elite, or idle class, benefits the most from it. He advocates an economy that is based around virtues rather than the cut-throat nature of capitalism and he believes that it would make society better as a whole.
In George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London and chapter four of The Road to Wigan Pier he writes about groups of destitute people in Britain who live on the fringes of society under hideous circumstances. Down and Out in Paris and London focusses on the homeless epidemic that has afflicted the country. Orwell depicts how these so called “tramps” live a mundane existence that does not contribute in any way to the good of society. He seeks to inform the public of the difficulties that these people face in order to combat some of the prejudices that exist towards them. In The Road to Wigan Peer Orwell describes the horrendous housing conditions that the impoverished class of industrial workers are forced to inhabit. The shortage of adequate housing forces these inhabitants to cram into overcrowded, dilapidated, and oftentimes condemned houses because they are the only available housing options of any sort. Many of these people would have gladly moved into different housing situations had the opportunity existed.
It was interesting how Orwell addressed the the much higher proportion of homeless men compared to homeless women. Many of Orwell’s contemporaries had failed to take this discrepancy into consideration when evaluating the homeless problem. It was nearly impossible for men to meet women because there were very few women who lived amongst them and it would be quite rare that a women of a higher economic class would desire a male from the lower class. Orwell writes “the evil of poverty is not so much that it makes a man suffer as that it rots him spiritually and physically… And there can be no doubt that sexual starvation contributes with this rotting process,” in order to empathize with their predicament. I found this quote fascinating because it states how although sexual pursuit is not as important to human wellbeing as food, water, and shelter, it is still an important aspect of a person’s health.
Orwell proposed a solution to lower the expense that homeless individuals had placed on the state by putting them to work. He argued that they would be able to settle down and live a decent and structured life. Although they would be working and contributing to the good of the whole of society, aren’t the conditions experienced by the working class as described in The Road to Wigan Pier nearly as impoverished and grief stricken as those suffered by the tramps. Does this housing situation really constitute a decent and settled life in your opinion?