Apr 4, 2019 in Exploratory

History Paper

John Locke and Adam Smith 

Both Locke and Smith are outstanding political philosophers, whose system of views regarding the role and functions of the state is currently called liberalism. Both of them were the great theorists in the fields of philosophy, economy, ethics, and politics. Locke was one of the greatest thinkers of the Enlightenment, whereas Smith considered himself to be Locke’s disciple. However, despite a variety of similarities and differences between them, the current paper emphasizes the ideas of classical liberalism that unite Locke and Smith. 

John Locke is considered to be a father of classical liberalism, whose position on it was stated in Second Treatise of Government written in 1690. The foundation of his ideas may be expressed as the following: “Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself”. It means that the first and the greatest property can be taken from its owner only in extreme cases. Recognition of individual’s freedom is the foundation for recognition of freedom as the key value of the state. In his treatise, it is argued that the government’s responsibility is to protect citizens’ natural rights, including ‘lives, liberties and estates’. Such views were developed by French school of the Physiocrats in terms of laissez-faire philosophy of economics that was also supported by Adam Smith. For example, later, in The Wealth of Nations he wrote that the government should not be allowed to use law or other sources to force any economic outcome. In other words, he supported the idea of free markets based on the people’s own prerogative to direct their economic interests to certain purposes: “In that original state of things, which precedes both the appropriation of land and the accumulation of stock, the whole produce of labour belongs to the labourer. He has neither landlord nor master to share with him.”  The most favorable outcome for the society may be achieved through free-market competition, which provides organic transformations of the market. 

Neo-Confucianism and Protestantism

  Neo-Confucianism and Protestantism are the phenomena of the same origin. Every religion originated on certain historical circumstances, including a variety of political, economic, and social factors. Due to such factors, favorable environment for certain religion was established, which provided development and acceptance of such religion. For example, Christianity was accepted in Western Europe due to decline of Hellenistic culture accompanied by economic and social crises. Christianity became widespread because it provided the solutions for poor and scared people: the poor people were promised to be granted with eternal life in Heaven, so people should not worry about poverty in temporal existence on Earth. 

Similarly, Confucianism was accepted and practiced by people of certain mind within specific historical circumstances. However, society experiences changes, and religion should satisfy people’s needs that appeared due to such transformations. In case religion does not follow society’s transformations, it is doomed. As Confucian views were no longer adequate for new generations, Neo-Confucianism appeared as transformed standards of Confucian political and moral philosophy in the middle of the 9th century due to Zhu Xi. Neo-Confucianism is similar to Reformation, as it was also aimed at expressing public disagreement on fundamental issues of faith and governance. Both Reformation and Neo-Confucianism appeared and developed due to the appropriate environment for cultural explosion of numerous painters, doctors, pets, writers, philosophers, historians, political theorists, and local reformers. Reformation and Neo-Confucianism were supported by the society’s disagreement on the current state of things. Regardless of disagreement shared by a variety of people, such phenomena have its leaders, who are Zhu Xi and Martin Luther. Appearance of Reformation and Neo-Confucianism proved that public views on topical issues change and that the government or Church must not force people to engage in ineffective and useless practices. Both phenomena resulted in intensive cultural development that has affected each sphere of human life. 

 

Otto von Bismarck and Emperor Louis Napoleon III

Bismarck and Napoleon III were contemporaries, who headed Prussia and France in the second half of the 19th century. They were military and political leaders, whose historical significance should not be underestimated. To be more precise, the common thing for them is maintenance of nationalism via Franco-Prussian War in 1870-1871. 

Due to Napoleon’s policies towards economic, political, social, and cultural development of France, the Second French Republic became the most powerful and flourishing state of Western Europe. Germany was composed of numerous territories, and its leaders intended to unite it via creation of the strong state, citizens of which would share the same religious beliefs, language, and ideology. Bismarck realized that it is impossible to gather effective army in case the soldiers do not want to fight and to give their lives for their state. Therefore, to gain economic and political power in Europe, German government was determined to emphasize nationalism as the core of German ideology and political strategy. At the same time, in France, where Napoleon’s policies have contributed to cultural, political, and social improvements, nationalism was also encouraged and popularized. Considering the fact that Germany could not gain military and political leadership in Europe due to its might neighbor France, it was strategically important for Bismarck to gather German territories against France: “I knew that a Franco-Prussian War must take place before a united Germany was formed”. Louis Napoleon III was provoked to start the war, though the society demanded it to begin. People were sure regarding France’s victory, which would help solve disunity issue. Despite people’s patriotic support of fight with Germans, Napoleon doubted war’s outcome for France. His failures regarding inability to form army led to Bismarck’s victory and the Treatise of Versailles in 1871. Through the war, French and German forces were headed by Napoleon and Bismarck, so the enemies have shaped contemporary Europe. 

League of Nations and United Nations

The League of Nations is international organization founded in 1919 during Paris Peace Conference to maintain the world piece. The organization was created after horrible consequences of the First World War, and was aimed at preventing further wars by the efforts of the world communities. However, The League of Nations was not able to prevent the Second World War. After the world community experienced another war, the need for international organization that would provide peace was still inherent. Therefore, the United Nations were established in 1945 based on the League’s advantages and disadvantages. The organizations have the same core idea based on its purpose to prevent war in the world. Nevertheless, the differences between the two organizations are seen from the circumstances of their creation. 

League of Nations was founded when the hostilities were over, whereas the United Nations were created during the World War II. League of Nations was created as part of Convent with Germany, which has left little opportunities for the U.S. to join the League. It is worth mentioning that League’s failure to maintain peace is frequently associated with absence of the U.S. as its member because at that time the U.S. led isolationist policy. Taking into account the U.S. importance in the end of the World War II, the United Nations would unlikely be created and operate successful without the U.S. efforts. Thus, the core of connection of both organizations is desire to create mechanisms to maintain peace at international level. The final session of the League in 1946 involved the liquidation of the organization and its transition to the United Nations: “The League is dead. Long live the United Nations” .

Fascism and Communism

Fascism and Communism are political philosophies and doctrines that became prominent in the 20th century. Though the ideologies seem to be so different – one of them is extreme left and other is extreme right – they lead to similar consequences. Ownership is the common aspects for them, which proves that both are utopias incapable of forming might state in reality.

According to communism, disagreement between peoples and nations is based on their desire to own as much property as possible. To stop opposition, one should remove private ownership and replace it by collective property. Communism involves collectivization of all spheres of life, including property rights and thinking. Consequently, such policy makes it very dangerous. Under fascist political doctrine, people retain ownership rights. However, they are not allowed to act freely and to decide the destiny of their property. In fact, both ideologies take property from people and make it the property of the state or, to be more precise, property of political authorities. It means that de facto people are not allowed to make decisions and to decide their own destiny without force of political leaders. The problem is that to survive, people have to follow ruling minority’s policies independently from their effectiveness. Modern history proves that both fascism and communism cannot bring sufficient improvements as they do not consider ‘the real’ circumstances that differ from utopic state of things. The public good is the greatest value for such ideologies: efforts to reach public good are the mission of every citizen. Such ideologies demand religious obedience, whereas achievement of communism and fascism may be compared to Christian concepts of salvation and Heaven. For instance, according to  O’Malley, Mussolini wrote that “fascism is a religious conception in which man is seen in his immanent relationship with a superior law and with an objective Will [sic] that transcends the particular individual and raises him to a conscious membership in a spiritual society ”. In reality, attempts to implement both ideologies lead to cruelty, lawlessness, and millions of victims. 

Korean War and Vietnam War

Both events are the result of the Cold War, which may be defined as latent war between the Soviet Union and the United States. Both states have fought for world political, economic and military dominance since the World War II. When the consequences of War, including the territory and contribution issues, were decided, the most powerful states of the world were rivals. Each of them wanted to transcend the other state. Therefore, the military and political conflicts of the middle of the 20th century are the each party’s attempts to reach dominance. Both Korean and Vietnam Wars are the manifestations of the Cold War. 

The cause of Korean War in 1950-1953 was rivalry between its Southern and Northern parts. Northern part was supported by China and the Soviet Union, whereas the Southern part received support of the U.S. and the United Nations. Vietnam War took place from 1955 to 1975 between Northern and Southern parts of Vietnam. China, the Soviet Union and other communist alliances supported the North, whereas the U.S. and anti-communist alliances supported the government of the Southern Vietnam. Both wars took place when official peace was declared, which witnesses formal character of the world community’s initiatives to stop the war. 

The wars resulted in a number of victims and demonstrated that both parties were not able to make appropriate conclusions from the previous events. One of the American architects of the war noticed the following: “first, we didn't know ourselves. We thought that we were going into another Korean War, but this was a different country”. 

Interpretations Change and Its Reasons

Ideology serves political strategies and particular decisions of every country. Consequently, it is impossible to unite the society without ideology. However, it is necessary to note the extent to which ‘ideologization’ should be encouraged. Societies change and people’s political, religious views, and values also change. As a result, the ideologies change, as well. Considering the fact that every generation lives within certain economic, political, social, and cultural situation, their views are shaped by the events they experience at a specific time. Nevertheless, people living at the same time on the same territory may have completely different views on the same issues. Essentially, historians’ interpretation of certain events depends on the features of their time and place, as well as dominant discourse regarding the issue. 

History is extremely rich for examples that illustrate significance of ideology and its impact on generations’ judgments. In the middle of the 19th century, Bismarck recognized the importance of ideology of nationalism as irreplaceable component of a might, which united the country. Later, before the beginning of the World War II Hitler created ideological foundation of his further policy regarding home and international affairs. After the First World War Germany experienced numerous economic difficulties and the only way to re-build the state was the wave of nationalism, which later turned into Nazism. Mein Kampf written by Adolf Hitler was the object of admiration and ideological foundation of his political career. Historians of that time accepted Hitler’s interpretation of historic events as the only true, though in twenty years historians have denied most of Hitler’s assertions. However, maximum of economic, political, and military rivalry gained via ideology resulted in the Cold War. 

Since the World War II, the U.S. and the Soviet Union attempted to succeed by any means to demonstrate superiority and dominance. Korean and Vietnam Wars were the events during which many American and Soviet soldiers died or became cripples. At the same time, the participants of the World War II were proud of their contribution to international fight with Nazism and were glad to be useful. They realized that the enemy existed and that the enemy should be defeated. Otherwise, the world community would be doomed to be destroyed. On the contrary, Korean and Vietnam Wars were the wars of communist and anti-communist ideologies, where no real enemies were established. Due to propaganda of communist ideology in the Soviet Union with support of contemporary historians, communism was considered to be the true doctrine that could bring Paradise, and the key task was to set the dominance of communism in the whole world to guarantee the access to such Paradise for everyone. On the other side of Atlantic Ocean, capitalism was considered to be adequate and appropriate way of living, whereas communists’ attempts were believed to be manifestations of evil. Each party has sent hundreds of its people to fight in Vietnam, who died serving ideology instead of real purposes that were worth dying for. 

Historians on the 1970s used manipulated historical facts to support the ideology. Today, when science is given autonomy from the state’s policy, a wave of criticism regarding historical prejudices of the past may be observed. I think that the current situation in international policy is critical and the historians accompanied by other intellectuals attempt to show how dangerous any war can be. Wars in Iraq, Syria, as well as numerous local military conflicts are given different interpretations, which witness that people do not consider their mistakes done in the past. Different historic events illustrate that it is worth listening to history’s lessons to avoid such mistakes in the future. 

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