• However, following the revolution , there was a growing debate about individual rights and social power in many parts of the world , including Europe and Asia .
  • In India, Raja Rammohan Roy and Derozio talked about the significance of the French Revolution, and many others debated the ideas of post-revolutionary Europe.
  • In turn, these ideas of societal change were reshaped by developments in the colonies .
  • However, not everyone in Europe wanted a complete transformation of society
  • Some respondents agreed with the need for some change , but wished for a gradual shift , while others wished for a total restructuring of society
  • Some were conservatives , others were liberals’ or ‘radicals ’.
  • These terms do not mean the same thing in all contexts or at all times. 
  • We'll quickly review some of the key political tenets of the nineteenth century and consider how they impacted progress .
  • Then we will focus on one historical event in which there was an attempt at a radical transformation of society
  • Through the revolution in Russia , socialism became one of the most significant and influential ideas to shape society in the twentieth century .

Liberals, Radicals and Conservatives

  • European nations frequently discriminated against certain religions. 
  • Britain favoured the Church of England ,
  • Austria and Spain favoured the Catholic Church .
  • Liberals desired a country that respected all religions .
  • They were opposed to dynastic monarchs' unchecked power .
  • They aimed to defend individual liberties from tyrannies .
  • They advocated in favour of a representative , democratically elected parliamentary government , governed by laws that were adjudicated by an impartial judiciary with appropriate training .
  • However, they were not democrats ’.
  • They did not support everyone's right to vote , or the universal adult franchise .
  • They held the opinion that only males with property should be allowed to vote .
  • They opposed women having the right to vote as well.
  • Radicals , on the other hand, favoured a society where the majority of the populace governed .
  • Many backed the suffragette movements for women .
  • They rejected the privileges enjoyed by powerful landowners and affluent manufacturing owners , in contrast to liberals.
  • The concentration of property in the hands of a small number of people bothered them more than the existence of private property itself.
  • Conservatives were opposed to radicals and liberals .
  • But following the French Revolution , many conservatives began to see the necessity for change
  • Conservatives had previously usually rejected the idea of change in the eighteenth century.
  • By the nineteenth century , they had come to terms with the fact that change was necessary but believed it needed to be gradual in order to preserve the past .
  • During the social and political upheaval that followed the French Revolution , such disparate views on societal development came into conflict .
  • The numerous attempts at revolution and national transformation during the nineteenth century contributed to the definition of these political movements' potential and bounds .

Industrial Society and Social Change


  • These political trends were signs of a new time .
  • It was a time of profound social and economic changes
  • It was a time when the Industrial Revolution took place, new cities sprouted up , and newly industrialised regions grew
  • Industrialisation brought men, women and children to factories. 
  • There were frequently long workdays and low pay .
  • It was normal to experience unemployment , especially when there was little demand for manufacturing items .
  • The rising urbanisation of towns created issues with housing and sanitation .
  • Both liberals and radicals looked for solutions to these problems .

The London poor in the mid-nineteenth century as seen by a contemporary - Teachoo.png

  • Almost all industries were owned by certain people .
  • Many times, liberals and revolutionaries themselves were landlords and employees.
  • Having amassed their fortune through commerce or industrial endeavours , they believed that such effort should be promoted because its advantages would be realised if the population was educated and the workers in the economy were in good health .
  • They genuinely believed in the value of human work , labour , and industry and were opposed to the privileges the old aristocracy received by virtue of their birth .
  • They held that society would advance provided people's rights to freedom , the ability of the poor to work, and the unrestricted use of wealth by those with means were all guaranteed .
  • In the early nineteenth century , a large number of working-class men and women who desired social reform rallied around liberal and radical clubs and parties .
  • Revolutions were desired by some nationalists , liberals , and radicals to end the type of governments that had been formed in Europe in 1815 .
  • They become revolutionaries and worked to overthrow the ruling monarchies in France, Italy, Germany, and Russia.
  • Nationalists envisioned revolutions establishing new "nations" in which everyone would enjoy equal rights.
  • An Italian nationalist named Giuseppe Mazzini plotted to accomplish this in Ital y after 1815 .
  • His thoughts were formerly studied by nationalists in other countries , such as India .

The Coming of Socialism to Europe

  • One of the most far-reaching visions of how society should be structured was socialism .
  • By the middle of the nineteenth century , socialism had gained widespread recognition in Europe and was a well-known set of concepts.
  • Socialists opposed private property and believed that it was the cause of all current societal issues.
  • Individuals owned the property that gave employment but the propertied was concerned only with personal gain and not with the welfare of those who made the property productive.
  • Therefore, if society as a whole controlled property rather than a single person , social interests as a whole would receive more attention .
  • Socialists wanted this change and campaigned for it.
  • Socialists had different visions of the future
  • Some believed in the idea of cooperatives .
  • Robert Owen (1771-1858), a leading English manufacturer , build a cooperative community called New Harmony in Indiana (USA).  
  • Other socialists felt that cooperatives could not be built on a wide scale only through individual initiative so they demanded that government should encourage cooperatives.
  • For instance, Louis Blanc (1813-1882) wanted the French government to encourage cooperatives and replace capitalist enterprises .
  • Cooperatives are associations of people who produce goods together and share profits according to the work performed by members.
  • To this collection of arguments, Karl Marx (1818–1833) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) added further theories.
  • According to Marx , the industrial civilization was " capitalist ."
  • Workers produced the profit for capitalists , who owned the capital used to build industries.
  • As long as private capitalists were able to amass enormous wealth , wor king conditions could not change .
  • The private property system and capitalism have to be overthrown by the working class.
  • Marx held that workers needed to create a truly socialist society where all property was collectively managed in order to be freed from capitalist exploitation .
  • This society would be communist .
  • In the struggle between workers and capitalists , he was certain that workers would prevail.
  • The future society that made the most sense was a communist one .

Support for Socialism

  • By the 1870s , socialist ideas spread through Europe .
  • Socialists established Second International as an international organisation to coordinate their efforts .
  • To fight for better living and working conditions , workers in England and Germany began forming associations .
  • They established funds to support members during difficult times and requested a shortening of working hours as well as the right to vote .
  • These organisations helped the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany obtain seats in the parliament by cooperating closely with it.
  • By 1905 , socialists and labour activists in Britain and France established the Labour Party and the Socialist Party , respectively.
  • However, socialists were unsuccessful in creating a government in Europe until 1914 .
  • Although they were well-represented in legislative politics and had an impact on legislation , governments were still led by conservatives , liberals , and radicals .

The Paris Commune - Teachoo.png

  • This painting depicts the 1871 Paris Commune .
  • It depicts a scene from the uprising of the people that occurred in Paris between March and May 1871 .
  • During this time, a " peoples' government " made up of workers , regular citizens , professionals , political activists , and others took control of Paris' town council ( commune ).
  • Growing unhappiness with French state policies served as the backdrop for the rebellion .
  • The ‘Paris Commune’ was ultimately crushed by government troops but it was celebrated by the socialist world over as a prelude to a socialist revolution .
  • The Paris Commune is also well-known for two significant contributions: first, for its connection to the workers' red flag , which the communards ( revolutionaries ) in Paris adopted; second, for the " Marseillaise ," which was originally composed as a war song in 1792 but later came to represent the Commune and the fight for freedom.



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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.