- In gatherings of the Estates General – a representative body in late medieval and early modern France – and in French society as a whole, the country was divided into three groups called ‘Estates’.
- The First Estate was comprised of the clergy, the Second Estate the nobility, and the Third Estate everyone else.
- The Third Estate was thus a vastly larger proportion of the population than the other two estates, but in the Estates General they only had one vote, the same as the other two estates had each.
- This dramatic inequality in voting led to the Third Estate demanding more rights in 1789 and led to the creation of a new National Assembly to better represent them.
- In turn, they also effectively started the French Revolution.
- Bourgeois indicates a person or group which is essentially middle class / “white collar”.
- The term has been used heavily throughout recent writing, and is perhaps best known for its use by Marx.
- In European history, it is commonly used to describe the middle class in France – the non noble professionals like lawyers – during the French Revolution.
- In socialist theory, the Proletariat were a class of exploited and degraded urban workers who would rise up and seize power in a final class war.
- The term was vitally important to those involved in the Russian Revolution of 1917, and to a lesser extent 1905.
- In Prussian history Junkers were members of the landed nobility in Prussia.
- They owned great estates that were maintained and worked by Slavic peasants with few rights.
- They were a dominant factor in the Prussian and, after 1871, German military, political and diplomatic leadership.
- The most famous Junker was Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
- They were expelled by the Soviets after 1944 and their lands confiscated.
- The Paris Commune or Fourth French Revolution was a socialistic government that briefly ruled Paris starting from the middle of March 1871.
- Though elected as the city council (in French, the "commune"), the Commune eventually proclaimed its own authority to govern all of France.
- Its controversial governance, its break with the elected government of France and the violence with which it exercised power led to its brutal suppression by regular French forces in "The Bloody Week" beginning in May 28, 1871.
- Debates over the policies and outcome of the Commune had significant political repercussion both inside and outside France during the 20th Century.
Means of Production
- Under communism, none of the "means of production" - factories, land, etc. - are owned by individuals. Instead, the government controls the means of production, and all of the people work together. The wealth produced is shared out among the people based on their needs, rather than on their contribution to the work. The result, in theory, is a classless society where everything is public, rather than private, property.
- The theory of socialism, while similar in many ways to communism, is less extreme and more flexible. For example, although government control of the means of production is one possible solution, socialism also allows for workers' cooperative groups to control a factory or farm together.
- Utopian socialism is a term used to define the first currents of modern socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Henri de Saint-Simon,Charles Fourier, and Robert Owen, which inspired Karl Marx and other early socialists.
- However, visions of imaginary ideal societies, which competed with revolutionary social-democratic movements, were viewed as not being grounded in the material conditions of society and as reactionary.
- Although it is technically possible for any set of ideas or any person living at any time in history to be a utopian socialist, the term is most often applied to those socialists who lived in the first quarter of the 19th century who were ascribed the label "utopian" by later socialists as a negative term, in order to imply naivete and dismiss their ideas as fanciful or unrealistic.
- Forms of socialism which existed in traditional societies are referred to as primitive communism by Marxists.
- Religious sects whose members live communally, such as the Hutterites, for example, are not usually called "utopian socialists", although their way of living is a prime example.
- They have been categorized as religious socialists by some.
- Likewise, modern intentional communities based on socialist ideas could also be categorized as "utopian socialist".