Origins Of Communism

Origins Of Communism

Length: 1521 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Throughout the history of the modern world, man has sought out the perfect government. An invincible system of order. And in our search for this ideal system, the idea of holding property in common has been a reoccurring thought. From early Christian communities to modern Marxist states, socialism and more specifically, communism has had an important role in the development of this ideal system.
     After the Great French Revolution of 1789-1794, the roots of modern-day communism can be clearly seen. In 1795, Gracchus Babeuf wrote the “Plebeians’ Manifesto” which stated, for full social and economical equality:
      “ establish a common administration; to suppress individual property; to           attach each man to the employment or occupation with which he is acquainted; to oblige him to place the fruits of his labor in kind into a common store; and to establish a simple administration for food supplies, which will take note of all individuals and all provisions, and will have the latter divided according to the most scrupulous equality.” - “Plebeians’ Manifesto”1
     Because of this and other acts considered to be threatening to the Directory, Babeuf was executed in May of 1797. Babeuf was not forgotten though, others followed in his footsteps. Another 19th century French reformer, Charles Fourier, shared many of Babeuf’s ideas, but where Babeuf favored immediate political change, Fourier was for longer-term social reform. The Comte de Saint-Simon, another political thinker of that time, was similar to Fourier in many respects, although he valued a mixed society of capitalist thinkers and socialist workers which he believed would triumph in future French communities.
     Meanwhile in England, Robert Owen, a Welsh industrialist, was developing his own brand of Socialism. Unlike many philosophers of his time, Owen based his ideas on experience rather than speculation. He managed a factory and realized that labor was the essential “factor of production”. He looked to the workers rather than government for solutions to economic problems. He proposed “cooperative societies”, or self-contained communities of producers and consumers which he hoped would prove his theories. But his socialist experiment never took place because adequate funding was denied.
     In the mid-1830’s, the term “Communism” was introduced to the world of French politics. First used to describe Saint-Simon and Fourier’s egalitarian slant on socialist ideas, Louis Blanc built on the ideals of Fourier to establish an important point of modern-day communism. He stated the principle, “...from each according to his capacities, to each according to his needs”, where as the old principle stated, “.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Origins Of Communism." 16 Jun 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Communism: Its Origins and World Impact Essay

- Communism, a Basic Human Perspective. To this day people who were ruled by communist government still feel the pain and results from it. Communism can be seen as a theory and a system of both political and social organization that has had a great impact on the world through most of the twentieth century. Let us begin by defining what communism is, where it all began, who were some of the key people that played a major role in communism, and when it fell apart. There are many different definitions of communism....   [tags: Politics]

Research Papers
1027 words (2.9 pages)

The Historiography of the Origins of the Cold War Essay

- The Historiography of the Origins of the Cold War There have been many attempts to explain the origins of the Cold War that developed between the capitalist West and the communist East after the Second World War. Indeed, there is great disagreement in explaining the source for the Cold War; some explanations draw on events pre-1945; some draw only on issues of ideology; others look to economics; security concerns dominate some arguments; personalities are seen as the root cause for some historians....   [tags: History Historical Communism Papers]

Research Papers
2675 words (7.6 pages)

The Basics of Socialism and Communism Essay

- The Basics of Socialism and Communism The radical political essay, Communist Manifesto- written by the German revolutionary philosopher Karl Marx, addresses numerous sociological problems of the 1800’s. In it, Marx basically calls for a proletariat, or working class, revolt and the installation of communism. Communism, also known as “scientific socialism”, like the latter name points out, is derived from socialism. These two complicated theories both yield a government that as autonomous political system has the responsibility to govern its country with the people's best interest as the priority....   [tags: Government History Socialism Communism Essays]

Research Papers
1087 words (3.1 pages)

The Origins of Fascism Essay

- The origins of Fascism as a political ideology and party are often attributed to Benito Mussolini who pioneered the concept in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Kallis, 2000). The Fascist ideology viewed the nation as an all-embracing entity; outside of the state no one person is inherently valuable (Kallis, 2000). Fascism utilises the totalitarian style of governing and is therefore opposed to the socialist doctrine which advocates a cooperative society (Kallis, 2000). There are several definitions of the word Fascism and it is defined by The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary (2013) as "a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual...   [tags: Political Ideology, Benito Mussolinii]

Research Papers
1268 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Socialism and Communism Midterm

- Socialism and Communism Midterm Question #1 Marxism was created by Karl Marx and Federick Engels; they both sought out a better future for the working class. Marx, who was born in Germany in 1818 and died in London in 1883, lived in a world where he disagreed with capitalism whole heartedly. Frederick Engels was also born in Germany in 1820 and died in London in 1895. With this, they created their own philosophical and economic thought which was called Marxism. The problem with Marx was that he was always ready to change his mind about certain theories or ideas which he created....   [tags: marxism, capitalism, socialist movement]

Research Papers
2454 words (7 pages)

Essay on The Origins Of The Vietnam War

- The origins of the Vietnam War can be traced back to the Cold War and Word War II. In short, one of the main reasons the United States entered the Vietnam as in outcome of U.S strategy of containment during the Cold War, which aimed to prevent the spread of communism throughout the world. If wee look at the United States national interest it is defined by four basic principles: securing American power, building economic prosperity, promoting democratic principles, and seeking international peace....   [tags: Cold War, Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II]

Research Papers
882 words (2.5 pages)

Origins of the Cold War Essay

- The Cold War was the ongoing state of tension between the Soviet Union and the United States that occurred from 1946 to 1991. The hostility between the two countries was evident through political affairs, military and weaponry intensification, and economic rivalry. At many points in time, the two sides were on the verge of nuclear confrontation, which would have vastly altered the world as people know it today. Fortunately, the two countries never engaged in major warfare, thereby coining the state of friction as a cold war....   [tags: History, Tension, Weapons Race]

Research Papers
1028 words (2.9 pages)

The Origins of the Cold War Essay

- The Origins of the Cold War The Cold War period from 1945 to 1985 was a result of distrust and misunderstanding between the USSR and the United States of America. This distrust never actually resulted any fighting between the two superpowers but they came very close to fighting on several occasions. The Cold War was a result of many different events and factors including the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Potsdam Conference of 1945, the differences between communism and capitalism, the 'Iron curtain' speech and Marshall Aid....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
831 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on The Origins of the Cold War

- The Origins of the Cold War Yalta - February 1945 This took place before the end of the war, but the Allies knew they were going to win. Churchill · He recognised the danger and wrote to the US urging that action be taken to stop the USSR's "onward sweep." · He did not trust Stalin, although he tried to have good relations with him. · He did not dare criticise Russia too much as the public in Britain had been impressed by Russia's courage and sacrifice against the Nazis....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1066 words (3 pages)

Essay on Origins of the Cold War

- Origins of the Cold War Revisionist historians tend to regard the outbreak of the "Cold War" as a result of American hostility or, at least , diplomatic incompetence, while the more traditional view lays the responsibility squarely at the feet of the Soviet Union. Assess the validity of each view. The Cold War,said to have lasted from the end of World War II to the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1991, was one of the most significant political events of the 20th century. For nearly 40 years the world was under the constant threat of total devastation, caught between the nuclear arsenals of the United States, Great Britain, and France on one side and the Soviet Union and the People...   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1172 words (3.3 pages)

Related Searches

..from each according to his capacities, to each according to his works.” This would prove necessary to later philosophers such as Marx and Engels whose fundamental ideas were largely based on such principles.
     Even more influential, though, was German thinker Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel introduced “radical” ideas to European politics in the early 1800’s, but they would not be fully realized by others until after his death in 1831. He was convinced that all life evolves from total unconsciousness to full self-consciousness. By this he meant that we as a race of people are gradually becoming more aware of our existence. At his intellectual peak, Hegel said, “The real is the rational.” And although this may not have been Hegel’s intent, many 19th and 20th century followers interpreted this as a outward rejection of religion which in itself is centered on faith.
     But to fully understand the evolution of modern-day Communism, we must first understand it’s beginnings as a communal system. It wasn’t until about the 6th century B.C. that the Buddhist monks who made up the “Sangha” tried to abolish the “caste” system. During this time in Greece, Pythagoras and his disciples believed that friendship was the basis for a good society, and to them is attributed the phrase, “friends should have all things in common.” But for obvious reasons, this system could never work on a larger scale.
     The idea gained momentum in late 5th century Greece when Plato recorded his predecessor’s dialogue in The Republic. Socrates outlines two types of communism in his dialogue. The first was a “utopian” communism which basically describes a peasant society not complicated by luxuries. He goes on to say that such a society would work for “pigs” but not a civilized 4th century Athenian. For this he explained a sophisticated communism, one that would do away with the hardships caused by a wealthy ruling class. Plato then goes on to lay out a community in which wealth and power is separated, factoring social class out of the ruling equation. But Socrates argues the impracticality of Plato’s system being introduced to an Aristocratic Greece.
     Over a thousand years later and over a thousand of miles away, Sir Thomas Moore wrote Utopia. An assessment of modern political ideals, Moore’s book started an uprising in 16th century Europe. The Great Peasants War of 1524-1525 threw a radical Protestant, Thomas Münzer, into the public eye. He preached of Heaven on earth; a world without private property or power. Münzer’s realization was short lived though. Anabaptist communities in Germany drew attention away from Münzer. By the mid-1600’s, communism resurfaced in England, spawning the creation of The Law of Freedom in a Platform by Gerrand Winstanley, a preindustrial communist. He said, “True freedom lies where a man receives his nourishment and preservation, that is in the use of the earth.” To Winstanley, this meant that common ownership must be established and the sale of human labor abolished.2
     Following the many peasant uprisings in Europe and more specifically, the French Revolution, Karl Marx entered the world of European politics. Collectively, Marx, Ludwig Feuerbach, and Friedrich Engels left an impressive mark on this world. Marx and Engels are commonly recognized for their book, The Communist Manifesto, but Feuerbach is often forgotten. Although Feuerbach didn’t participate in communal experiments or political action, he was very active in the advocation of education for the working class. Feuerbach did disagree with Marx on a few points, and most notably, religion. Feuerbach was for atheist education where as Marx saw religion as a necessary component to the proletarian lifestyle. He viewed it as an assisting force in man’s self-consciousness.
     Both Marx and Feuerbach were powerful spokesmen of the proletariat. They both knew that labor was an indispensable factor of production as Robert Owen did in the early 19th century. Throughout the class struggles of the late 20th century, Marx stood by the proletariat. He argued that the providers of a nation, the working class, should be treated fairly, democratically. This lead to the development of the Paris Commune in 1871. It was said by Marxian Communist’s to be the first attempt to establish a democratic workers’ state. Unfortunately, the commune ended with tens of thousands of men and women being executed or deported.
     In the years that followed the failed Paris Commune, a rivalry grew between Marx and his followers and those of Mikhail Bakunin, a founder of modern anarchism. A wave of anti-communist thought swept over Europe. The Communist Party adopted the name of the Social-Democratic Party to escape the stigma that went along with communism.
     When attention shifted from Marx to the development of a Communist state in Russia, leaders like Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and later, Joseph Stalin lead the Soviet Union into the 20th century and through two world wars. And as the economic situation worsened in China, the U.S.S.R. came to their aid and soon, a Communist party was established with Mao Tse-tung at the helm. The process continued. Next, Cambodia, under the power of the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge, experimented with Communism until they were invaded by Vietnam in 1978 which resulted in a short war between Vietnam and China. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union went through more changes and by the 1980’s, a new leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, was in control. He introduced many new reforms which attempted to modernize and liberalize the system rather than destroy it. But by 1991 the Soviet Union was dissolved. Communism had failed.
     Today, Communism is hardly anything but a footnote in history. It is no longer a “threat” to the United States as it once was during the Cold War. China is one of the last countries of any significance to be under the reign of Communism, and yet several reforms have modernized the country even further. The future of Communism is an uncertain one. And a comeback in the 21st century is unlikely, according to most.3 So what will come of Communism, no one is sure.
     The spread of Communism was one that passed through time as well as boundaries. Through thousands of years and thousands of miles, Communism has survived. It was a journey traveled by many, but only a few have survived. The survivors: Plato, Socrates, Babeuf, Fourier, Owen, Blanc, Hegel, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and all of the others that line the pages of history books. They are those who were able to advance a system that was destined to fail. So were their efforts done in vain? Of course not. It was all done with the intent of finding the perfect system. Is it likely that we will find that system? Of course not.
Return to