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The Industrial Revolution

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The Industrial Revolution

Imagine living in a world in which rights governed society. The people participate in a free market, and property is seen as "an inviolable and sacred right" that cannot be taken away.(1) This glorious idea is called liberalism. Liberalism emerged whole-heartedly during the Nineteenth-century Industrial Revolution. Followers of liberalism believe in the rights of the individual, especially the right to property. Early in its developement, this idea caused deep clashes between the middle class, called the bourgeoisie, and the working class, called the proletariat. These clashes created opposition to the liberal movement; communism became the supporter of this opposition.

Many philosophers pushed the development of liberalism. The most persuasive were Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill. Smith is often considered the founder of liberalism. Smith "looked forward to a new world, which would escape the sophistry and meanness of medieval Christian thought, but would recourse to...authoritarian political oppression."(2) Smith wanted to make profits with little risk involved. He also believed a constitutional government would prevent government intervention with markets. Free markets allowed for more and cheaper goods, and they would benefit the greatest amount of people the greatest amount of the time. This was called laissez-faire. Smith also believed the state should be responsible for the "stipends of the priests."(3) This was government intervention of an individual right, freedom of religion. Because of Smith's beliefs towards religion, he was somewhat unpopular among Nineteenth-century liberals. These liberals chose to disregard Smith as the founder and preferred to regard David Ricardo...


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...irtue; The Moral and
Political Foundations of The Wealth of Nations, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 193.
- Athol Fitzgibbons, Adam Smith's System of Liberty Wealth. and Virtue, 159.
- Donald Kagan, Steven Ozment and Frank M. Turner, The Western Heritage, Brief Edition,
Volume II, (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1996), 523.
- Rogers, Aspects of Western Civilization, 141.
- Rogers, Aspects of Western Civilization, 141.
- Rogers, Aspects of Western Civilization, 125.
- Rogers, Aspects of Western Civilization, 126-7.
- Kagan, The Western Heritage, 519.
- Dr. Darrow. Lecture notes. 10/2
- Dr. Darrow. Lecture notes. 10/14
- Karl Marx, "The Communist Manifesto," in Sources for the Humanities: Hisotory and
Religious Studies, First ed., 48.
- Kagan, The Western Heritage, 515.
- Rogers, Aspects of Western Civilization, 30.

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