Posts Tagged: revolution

Review: Ideology and the American Revolution

The empire-wide political crisis of the 1760s, generated in great part by the success of British commercial and political ambitions, forms the backdrop to the American Revolution. While the end of the Seven Years War in 1763 marked a defeat of France by the British Empire, domestic opposition within Britain reached a new height. The empire’s territorial gains, a growing imperial debt, and a greater bureaucratic centralization of the military commercial empire intensified tensions in the already-existing continental opposition. The political culture of the 1760s and 1770s was driven by debates over the nature of government and its dealings in commercial affairs. Country Whigs in England looked with “great nostalgia to when men of independent means controlled the destiny of Parliament” (Bailyn, Origins of American Politics, 50), while a new voice of radicalism, the adopted son of the colonies, Tom Paine, blamed the regressive conditions of the Old World for stifling liberty.

Review: Ideology and the American Revolution

The empire-wide political crisis of the 1760s, generated in great part by the success of British commercial and political ambitions, forms the backdrop to the American Revolution. While the end of the Seven Years War in 1763 marked a defeat of France by the British Empire, domestic opposition within Britain reached a new height. The empire’s territorial gains, a growing imperial debt, and a greater bureaucratic centralization of the military commercial empire intensified tensions in the already-existing continental opposition. The political culture of the 1760s and 1770s was driven by debates over the nature of government and its dealings in commercial affairs. Country Whigs in England looked with “great nostalgia to when men of independent means controlled the destiny of Parliament” (Bailyn, Origins of American Politics, 50), while a new voice of radicalism, the adopted son of the colonies, Tom Paine, blamed the regressive conditions of the Old World for stifling liberty.

Literature Review: The Reconstruction of the North

In an astute observation, Cohen writes that the history of liberal politics is “a tale of relationships, most important, of the triangular struggle for power between liberals, conservatives, and socialists.” All three ideological forces were active in the conflicts of the postwar era. And while the transformation of objective conditions were guided by forces more extensive than domestic Republican policies, the subjective conditions of political transformation where shaped by responses to social unrest by laborers and Southern freedmen. The legacy of this transformation in American politics has provided the direction of liberalism (or “liberal reform”) well into the twentieth century.

Literature Review: The Reconstruction of the North

In an astute observation, Cohen writes that the history of liberal politics is “a tale of relationships, most important, of the triangular struggle for power between liberals, conservatives, and socialists.” All three ideological forces were active in the conflicts of the postwar era. And while the transformation of objective conditions were guided by forces more extensive than domestic Republican policies, the subjective conditions of political transformation where shaped by responses to social unrest by laborers and Southern freedmen. The legacy of this transformation in American politics has provided the direction of liberalism (or “liberal reform”) well into the twentieth century.

Review: Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History

The problem with Buck-Morss’s argument is that in replacing freedom with “humanity” (unfreedom with “inhumanity”), and political judgment with “moral judgment” the link between political consciousness and history is severed. In this way, the politics of “resistance” has a depoliticizing effect. The defense of “humanity” throughout time as the guiding beacon for historiography falls short of addressing the problem that, historically, has been at the center of political revolutions the world over: how can humanity be transformed?

Review: Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History

The problem with Buck-Morss’s argument is that in replacing freedom with “humanity” (unfreedom with “inhumanity”), and political judgment with “moral judgment” the link between political consciousness and history is severed. In this way, the politics of “resistance” has a depoliticizing effect. The defense of “humanity” throughout time as the guiding beacon for historiography falls short of addressing the problem that, historically, has been at the center of political revolutions the world over: how can humanity be transformed?

Two Steps Back

Imagine the composition of the more than twelve hundred member audience, on a March evening in 1950, packed into New York’s Webster Hall to hear a public debate on the subject “Is Russia a socialist community?” The event, organized by the Eugene V. Debs Society, was chaired by the then thirty-three year old sociologist, C. Wright Mills, and pitted Earl Browder, deposed General Secretary of the Communist Party, still a staunch Stalinist, against the leader of the Trotskyist Workers’ Party, Max Shachtman. This event is a fascinating relic of American radical politics and an exemplary one, considering how little interest there is on the Left today in engaging in public debate.

Two Steps Back

Imagine the composition of the more than twelve hundred member audience, on a March evening in 1950, packed into New York’s Webster Hall to hear a public debate on the subject “Is Russia a socialist community?” The event, organized by the Eugene V. Debs Society, was chaired by the then thirty-three year old sociologist, C. Wright Mills, and pitted Earl Browder, deposed General Secretary of the Communist Party, still a staunch Stalinist, against the leader of the Trotskyist Workers’ Party, Max Shachtman. This event is a fascinating relic of American radical politics and an exemplary one, considering how little interest there is on the Left today in engaging in public debate.