European History: Marxism and Darwinism

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Chad McKeegan
Mr. Horner
AP European History
10 April 2013
Marxism Essay
Life for Europeans during the 1800s only contained two possibilities of economic wellbeing because, as Marx would note, the wealth was not evenly distributed between the social classes. The majority of the wealth was obtained by the upper class or people with power, such as business tycoons as a result of the capitalistic economy that existed. Based on the paintings presented, Marxism theorists would exemplify that the economic differences between the two families is a result of class conflict, but Social Darwinists would argue that differences are primarily caused by their biological disadvantages to the environment.

At a glance people tend to associate Marxism as basic communism, but it was Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles’ ideologies of the proletariat evolving society into one of economic and social equality that eventually developed into what people commonly refer to as Communism. Marx and Engles believed that a proletariat revolution was necessary in order to lay the base line for a communist society, which is further explained in the Communist Manifesto. In contrast Social Darwinists philosophize about a “survival of the fittest” society, in which individuals whom have environmental advantages will obtain economic and social advantages, and those at a disadvantage will fall off the ladder. Both Marxism and Social Darwinism are based around completely different ideals, but both philosophies do not expurgate the ideologies needed to sustain a stable society.

Upon analyzing the contrasted paintings it is evident that there are major economic differences between the two families. When examining the painting of the wealthy European family the degree of wealth is clearly visible in both the environment and the people. The wealthy family seems to be surrounded by various items of wealth, such as paintings, ritzy furniture, fancy curtains, and the prestigious clothing they wear all...
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