Chip Taylor Communications

Subject: History

Europe and America in the Modern Age Series

Stanford University Professors James Sheehan and David Kennedy present in-depth lectures on the concept of liberalism as a theoretical framework for examining the interrelationships between the histories of Europe and America. Produced by the Stanford University Channel. Programs available on 20 individual Click for more

5. Origins and Development of European Marxism

05. Origins and Development of European Marxism

In the late nineteenth century, Marxism emerged as a revolutionary response to aristocratic rule and as an alternative to American democracy. Marxism appealed to factory workers and intellectuals alike, all of whom fervently embraced its goal of proletariat control of the means of production in a classless society. In this program James Sheehan discusses the social, political, and intellectual context surrounding the birth and development of Marxism in Europe. Karl Marx, strongly influenced by Friedrich Hegel, believed that societies underwent change in an effort to resolve social conflicts and to improve upon the status quo. Like Alexis de Tocqueville, Marx saw how extant social institutions were ill equipped to deal with the demands of burgeoning populations. Marx postulated that that all meaningful history was the result of class struggle to control the means of production, and he predicted that the working class proletariat would eventually wrest control of the means of production from the wealthy bourgeoisie and create a society devoid of property ownership, self-interest, and class distinction. Though Marxism showed unusual flexibility and appeal, gaining widespread popular support in Germany and Russia, it lacked the focus and resilience necessary to sustain a grandiose revolutionary purpose, and it failed to deliver the promised fruits of industrialization and modernization for its constituents. 99/10DE SCA 50 min.

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