Chapter 2: Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution
The Age of Social Change
Very Short Answer Type Questions. [1 Mark]
- What did the liberals believe in?
Ans. They wanted a nation which tolerated all religions. They argued for an elected parliamentary
government, subject to the well-trained judiciary.
- What were the views of radicals?
Ans. They wanted a government which was based on the majority of a country’s population. Many of them supported women’s right to vote.
- Who were conservatives?
Ans. Conservatives were opposed to radicals and liberals. They believed that the past had to
be respected and change had to be brought about through a slow process.
- What were the ill effects of industrialisation?
Ans. Industrialisation led to exploitation of men, women and children in factories. Long working hours, low wages and unemployment became common.
- In which countries of Europe, revolutionaries wanted to overthrow existing monarchs?
Ans. France, Italy, Germany and Russia.
- Who were Socialists?
Ans. Socialists were against private property and considered it as the root of all evils.
- What did Louis Blanc of France want?
Ans. They wanted the government to encourage cooperatives and replace capitalist enterprises.
- What were the views of Karl Marx?
Ans. He believed that workers had to overthrow capitalism and the rule of private property.
- What were the associations of workers called in Germany?
Ans. Social Democratic Party.
- When did the Paris commune occur?
Ans. It occurred in 1871 between March and May.
Short Answer Type Questions. [3 Marks]
- Differentiate between the ideas of the liberals and radicals in Europe.
Ans. The liberals did not believe in the universal franchise. In contrast, radicals wanted a nation in which the government was based on the majority of a country’s population. Liberals felt men of prosperity mainly should have the vote. They did not want the vote for women. On the other hand, the radicals supported women’s suffragette movements and opposed the privileges of great landowners and wealthy factory owners. They were not against the existence of private property but disliked concentration of property in the hands of a few.
- Why do we say that liberals during this time could not be called ‘democrats’?
Ans. The liberals opposed the uncontrolled power of dynastic rulers and wanted to safeguard the rights of individuals against governments. They also argued for a representative,
elected parliamentary government, subject to laws interpreted by a well-trained judiciary that was independent of rulers and officials. But, however, they could not be called democrats. They did not believe in universal adult franchise and also did not want the vote for women. They felt right to vote should only be for men of property.
- How should society, according to liberals and radicals, develop?
Ans. Liberals and radicals were often property owners and employers. Having acquired wealth
through industrial ventures and trade, they firmly believed that such efforts should be
encouraged — that its profits would be reaped if the workforce in the economy was
healthy and citizen were educated. They put forth that societies could develop if the poor
could labour, freedom of individuals was ensured and those with capital could operate without restraint.
- Why were socialists against private property and saw it as the root of all social ills?
Ans. The people who propagated socialism said that individuals who owned property, did provide employment to many people but they were concerned with personal gains only and did not bother about the welfare of the people. They felt that if society controlled the property, more attention would be paid to collective social interests.
- What was the basic principle of the Marxist theory?
Ans. Marx believed that the condition of workers could not improve as long as profit was accumulated by private capitalists. Workers had to overthrow capitalism and the rule of private property. Workers must construct a radically socialist society where all property was socially controlled. This would be a communist society and a Communist Party was the natural society of the future.
- Why socialists were against the private property?
Ans. Socialists saw private property as the root of all social ills of the time. Individuals owned
the property that gave employment but the propertied were concerned only with personal
gain and not with the welfare of those who made the property productive. So, according
to them, if society as a whole rather than single individuals controlled property, more
attention would be paid to collective social interests.
Long Answer Type Questions. [5 Marks]
- What were the different notions of Liberals, Radicals and Conservatives regarding the formation of the new Government in Russia? Discuss.
Ans. Liberals opposed the uncontrolled power of dynastic rulers. They wanted to safeguard the rights of individuals against governments. They argued for a representative elected
parliamentary government with an independent judiciary.
Radicals wanted a government based on the majority of a country’s population. Unlike liberals, they opposed the privileges of great landowners and wealthy factory owners.
They disliked the idea of the concentration of property in the hands of a few. Conservatives were opposed to radicals and liberals. They believed that the past had to be respected and change had to be brought about through a slow process.
- Explain how a society, according to socialists, can operate without property. What would be the basis of a socialist society?
Ans. Socialists had different visions of the future. Some such as Robert Owen, a leading English manufacturer, sought to build a co-operative community called New Harmony in Indiana (USA). Other socialists felt that co-operatives could not be built on a wide scale only through individual initiative. They wanted that governments must encourage co-operatives and replace the capitalist enterprise. This was propagated by Louis Blanc in France. They said that co-operatives were to be associations of people who produced goods together and
divided the profits according to the work done by members.
More ideas were added to this body of arguments. These ideas were added by Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels. Marx argued that industrial society was capitalist. Capitalists owned the capital invested in factories. The profit which came to them through these factories was produced by the workers. The workers contributed to the profits but did not gain anything. Their condition could improve only if the workers freed themselves from capitalists exploitation. For this, the workers needed to construct a radically socialist society where all property was socially controlled. This would be a communist society. The Second International was the body
- set up to coordinate their efforts.
- What developments took place in Europe in support of socialism?
Ans. By the 1870s the socialists formed an international body, namely the Second International to coordinate their efforts. Associations were formed by workers in Germany and England to fight for better living and working conditions. To help members in times of distress,
they set up funds and demanded a reduction in working hours and the right to vote. In Germany, these associations worked closely with the Social Democratic Party and helped it win parliamentary seats. By 1905 socialists and trade unionists formed a Labour Party in Britain and a Socialist Party in France.