21 April 2009
Revolutionary Means of Modernization
Through the mid-19th century and into the early 20th century, people began to desire change in existing societal structures, which led to movements with revolutionary new ideas. These movements usually involved progressive change and eliminating repression, looking towards ideas established in the Enlightment period for guidance. The goals of the Marxist, Feminist, and Chinese Nationalist movements were similar in the fact that all desired equality, opportunity, and self government.
Marxism, Feminism, and Chinese Nationalism all express the belief that the government should represent the people governed. Marxism stresses the need to eliminate social hierarchies and the turning of power to the Proletariat working class. Feminists desired equal representation in their governments. The Chinese Nationalist movement stressed that the ethnic Han Chinese should be governing themselves. These points are readily proved through prominent readings of movement leaders.
Karl Marx believed that the populous, powerful Proletariat class needed to rise up and equalize the elite Bourgeois class, rather than an elite few to usurp all the benefits of industrialized life. Marx states that communists support every revolutionary movement against existing social structures. He offers his communist call-to-action in the Communist Manifesto. “…their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!” Marx believed that the working class should not be ruled by an elite capitalist class, but rather they should be in control. Another movement centered on one group in a society gaining their rights is the Feminist movement.
The Feminist movement in the late 19th century was largely focused on gaining political equality, the right of representation, and suffrage. The Ohio Women’s Convention of 1850 drafted many resolutions, or rights, that they wished to achieve. Among them was right to participate in legislation and political office, or if not that, then freedom from taxes since they were not represented. There is a very strong sentiment throughout the resolutions of women desiring political authority and a seat in the democratic process, as men did not make laws with concern for women’s agendas. Along the same lines, Chinese Nationalists felt that only the Chinese could govern China
The Chinese Nationalist movement was rooted in the belief that in order for China to become a great country again, the Chinese themselves needed to be in charge of China’s affairs. Sun Yat-sen states simply, “As for the Principle of Democracy, it is the foundation of the political revolution.”  He explains that since China has been governed for centuries as an autocracy, and that the previous dynasties of China had failed to maintain sovereignty. The solution, according to Yat-sen, was a major political revolution leading to the creation of a constitutional democracy. The Chinese Nationalists were disenchanted with centuries and centuries of autocratic rule and felt that the only way to exalt China to its right stage on the international scene was by establishing a democratic government. Closely related with democracy and self government is another key principle, opportunity.
Opportunity for all is key focus of the three movements. Marxists believe that all people should be equal, that one should not be more advantaged due to money or land ownership. Feminists believed that women should have the opportunity to full participate in legislation and government just as men did. The Chinese Nationalist movement promoted democracy and system based upon merit rather than power.
Marxism held the belief...