Jacobin Radicalism: Utopian Socialism Experiment
of The U.H. System Originally submitted 15 FEB 2003 File Reference: World Political Science Papers
The seeds of socialism were deeply planted in the cataclysmic events of the French Revolution by the Jacobin government's radical policies aimed at rapidly changing political-economic-social conditions. Overtly, these guerilla revolutionaries sought to implement an improved social system by usurping control of state power. Despite their original democratic intentions their modus operandi began leaning more toward authoritaranism. Universal male suffrage was instituted but later repealed, and the experience or political taste of mass democracy motivated radicals to zealously campaign for broader voting rights. Jacobin socialist policies even extended into economic reforms with the forceful seizure of aristocratic properties which were distributed to peasants in an effort to bolster equitable land ownership. Their methods were radical redefinitions of classical liberalism and forged an interventionist, active government model for future socialist revolutionaries.
Jacobin politics and philosophy became misguided by avarice and the dictatorial by-any-means-necessary methodology of its coercive center. Although they were influential in regaining and restributing wealth, land, food, and social class, the Jacobins could not sustain their brutal idealism as anarchists, resisting fiscal responsibility and embracing political terrorism. I view Jacobin radicalism as an early form of utopian socialism. They fed on the fear and ignorance of the people, strayed from stable democratic principles, and bankrupted a national economy. Their objectives could not be entirely met due to the rampant, wanton violence at the height of their influence, contributing significantly to the erosion of Jacobin legitimacy.
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