The Constitution Vs. The Communist Manifesto
Thomas Jefferson was a member of a colonial government during a time of turmoil and heated politics. Karl Marx was a Prussian philosopher and journalist with radical ideologies. Though living in different time periods (Jefferson during the 18th Century, Marx during the 19th Century), both writers have something in common. Directly or indirectly, Thomas Jefferson and Karl Marx both sparked a revolution by their writings. Jefferson s piece The Declaration of Independence proclaimed the freedom of the original Thirteen Colonies from England, which lead to the American Revolution. Vladimir Lenin embraced Marx s work The Communist Manifesto and eventually overthrew the Russian monarchy in the Russian Revolution. Though the contexts of the writings are different, both writers emphasized parallelism (Jefferson in paras. 5-29, Marx in paras. 24-30) to present their grievances in an effective way.
In The Declaration of Independence, Jefferson attacks King George III (by using the adverb "He") and his management of the colonies. The delegates of the colonies, including Jefferson, knew that with this document they are showing rebellion against England and have put their political careers as well as the welfare of the colonies in jeopardy. In the years leading up to this point, the British have taken away the colonies identity, its rights to govern the land and imposed unfair taxation on the citizens. Jefferson believed that the break between England and the colonies was inevitable, and was justified by the inequitable policies of British rule. Thus the American Revolution began.
The Communist Manifesto is Marx s attempt to propagate Communism as the perfect solution to pauperism. Unlike Jefferson, Marx was not writing about the flaws in government; rather the Manifesto exposed the flaws in a Capitalist economy. Marx believes that Capitalism is just an upgraded version of a feudal society, with civilians placed into two main classes, the bourgeois (modern Capitalists) and the proletarians (wage laborers). He defines the characteristics of the bourgeois and tries to explain its faults. Marx also wrote a 10-point Communist measure that would provide for an ideal socialist economy, as well as reasons why socialism is the utopian society nations should strive to become. Lenin exploited Marxist ideals to connect with the Russian citizens, and convinced most of them that a socialist society was better than the Czar s government. Thus the Russian Revolution began.
Though addressed to different audiences, the writings of Jefferson and Marx both stressed the equality of individuals and freedom from the bondage of tyranny. Jefferson used the Declaration of Independence to stir up the colonists into action against the British. Marx hoped that the Communist Manifesto would stir up a wider audience, mainly the poverty-stricken wage laborers of Capitalist governments. Not until after his death had this happened, with Lenin in Russia in 1917. I believe that the writings of both authors were significant in their time, but it was the Declaration of Independence that brought forth a democratic government, which has shown to withstand the test of time. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the pitiful conditions of the remaining Communist nations in the world, I think Marx s proletarian-based economic system is unsuitable for this world. Though Marx s ideals were logical, I believe humanity will never achieve a fully socialist society due to man s greed and competitive nature.
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