19thCentury Political Ideologies


Itis a doctrine in the 19th century that looks at enhancingand protecting the freedoms of individuals an integral role of theruling class. Liberalism was at the heart of the French revolution,and it sought to carry the philosophy of the revolution. &quotLiberalsasked for a constitution that defended individual liberty anddenounced censorship, arbitrary arrests, and other forms ofrepression.&quot Liberals reject aspects of the Old Regime they didnot accept the special treatment of the clergy and the aristocracy.Liberals also maintained that person should be judged based on whatthey have achieved not by the families they were born in. They alsoheld that if an individual is not forced by the church and thegovernment, they can end up being productive and good individuals.

Nineteenth-century liberals emphasized a lot on the freedom ofexpression and thought. One noticeable British philosopher JohnStuart Mill (1806-1873), highlights that no government or individualhas control over truth since all the human beings are imperfect.Liberalism holds that no one has the authority to quash views,however not accepted. They hold that no government should interferewith an individual`s freedom as long as the actions of the individualdo not affect or cause harm to other persons.

Liberals believe that the only reason power should be exercised onpeople is for the sole purpose of preventing them from causing harmto others. They hold that each and every individual is sovereign andshould not be coerced to do something he is not willing to do. Anindividual should not be made to do something just because in otherpeople`s thoughts it is beneficial to them or will make them happy.An individual should be in a position to pursue what they think isgood to them in their way as long as they do not harm others orobstruct them from exercising their freedom.


Conservatismas an ideology entails people who value traditions and are notwelcoming to change. It was the principle doctrine after 1815 for thepeople who rejected Enlightenment and the French Revolution.Conservatives place more significance on tradition over reason,clerical and aristocratic authority above equality, and an individualfalls under the community. Edmund Burke (1729-1797), an Anglo-Irishpolitical thinker shaped the conservative outlook. In his works,Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), he firmly attacks theviolence and all the main principles of the Revolution.

Another prominent conservative is Joseph de Maistre (1953-1821) hecriticized Enlightenment for propelling the French Revolution. DeMaistre also defended the clergy and the churches as whole by sayingthat they act as civilization agents claiming that they makeindividuals aware of their social duties. He also defended traditionsclaiming that they are more valuable than instantaneous reformsexemplified in a constitution.

Burke was against the revolution and contended that it just uprootedthe established tradition, institutions and authority. According tohim, the revolution made France fall into anarchy. Burke holds thatwithout an established authority in place, people result intosavagery. To him, Christianity, aristocracy, and the monarchy wererepresentatives of forces of civilization that controlled the beastlyhuman nature. Burke also claimed that since the French Revolutionistsundermined the esteemed institutions in place, they brought uponthemselves terror and anarchy. To him the Revolutionists had it allbefore they let it go he says, &quot…you decide to act as if younever been molded into civil society, and had everything to beginanew. You began badly because you began by hating everything thatbelonged to you.&quot


Feminism is the notion that women should have equality of rights sameas men on the grounds of economic, social and political aspects.Flora Tristan (1803-1844) did not live long enough to see theWorking-class Revolution of 1848. It was through her pleas for socialjustice that fueled the unrest of French workers. In her variousaddresses to people in different French cities, she advocated for theunification of workers to form a national worker`s union. Tristan,however, was a founder French feminist.

Tristan talks about the pivotal role of women in the life of workers.She describes the woman as a caregiver and above all the provider.She talks highly of the women and says if a woman fails, everythingelse fails. Tristan says, &quotThe woman makes or breaks the home.&quotShe then tries to give out the predicament that women encounter sincebirth. She says that after being born a girl is left to the mother orgrandmother to bring her up yet, they received no educationwhatsoever. Most of the time, one of her guardian ends up being hottempered and brutal and beats her up or ill-treat her. A girl doesnot go to school but is left at home as her brother goes to school.Due to lack of education, she is paid minimal wages.

Tristan further explains the kind of humiliation a woman continues toface in her marriage life. She says since the husband is moreeducated and earns more than the wife, he thinks he is more superiorto the wife and treats her poorly. The woman becomes resentful andirritable and the man to escape reality goes to drink with hisfriends. The family money goes down the drain as the man drinks thegreater part of the income. Amidst all the ill-treatment she becomespregnant and sick, and poverty comes in. Tristan tries to show thesuffering that a woman goes through and how she faces all thesesituations since birth to adult life. Therefore, the great need toadvocate for women`s right so as to have education and be able tocompete equally with men.


Marxism is a system of social, economic and political ideology and ittends to view social change in the terms of economic issues. It wasdeveloped by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Freidrich Engels (1820-1895).It advocates that class structures are supposed to be overthrown byforce. It says that feudalism was replaced by capitalism that willalso be defeated by the workers, (proletariat), also to be calledsocialism. It will then result to a classless society that will nothave a governing structure or class.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) who was a leading statesman warnedofficials in the French Chamber of Deputies about the mood of theworking class. He talks about the danger of overlooking the workers’plight. He says that they might not be rioting or bringing aboutdisorders, but they need to be listened to. He says that if notchecked thing will go out of hand and will move even the societyitself. In his speech he asks, “Do you not see that their passionsinstead of being political have become social? Do you not see thatthere are gradually forming in their breasts opinions and ideas whichare destined not only to upset this or that law, ministry or evenform of government, but society itself until it totters upon thefoundations it rests today.”

At that time, de Tocqueville talks and says that the people have cometo a moment they see the government as unworthy of governing them.Also, the workers claimed that the circulation of goods is unjust. Hesays that workers who are humiliated are just like a sleeping volcanoand can erupt at any time. In the year 1948, in France, a workers’revolution became a reality as the workers staged an uprising in Juneof that year.


Among the five ideologies put across, liberalism stands out as mypersonal favorite. I support it because liberals have a lot ofoptimism not just for their times but even for the future. I firmlybelieve that it is quite important to have a stable government inplace so that it can be in a position to protect the rights of thecitizens under them. Also, the people should be protected from harmfrom other people by the government. The government should not imposethoughts on its subjects. Additionally, societies are quite dynamicand prone to changes over time, so as the people we must also embracechanges from all spheres starting from the top. A person should notbe limited to the extent of which they would want to expressthemselves and enjoy their freedoms.

Liberalism is a real ideology since it puts a lot of weight onindividual liberty. Liberals assert that individual liberty is one ofthe most vital political goals and stresses on equality ofopportunity and individual rights. They also hold that the governmentis entirely necessary with the task of protecting the rights of thecitizens they are all united in the support of issues such as thefreedom of thought and speech and confining the power of government,a democratic and transparent system of government and a mixed economywith both state and private owned enterprises. That`s why I supportliberalism as an ideology as opposed to the others.


Backman, Clifford R.The Cultures Of The West. New York: Oxford University Press,2013. Print.