Paper2 - Jessica Gimbel History 120 Liberalism at the...

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Jessica Gimbel April 20, 2011 History 120 Liberalism at the Fin-de-Siécle Liberalism began as an institution influenced by revolutionary ideals to promote individualism and freedom. As the modern era progressed, liberalism was critiqued for its false presentation of freedom. The crisis of liberalism in the early 19 th century allowed writers such as Franz Kafka who wrote “A Report to the Academy” and Erich Remarque who wrote All Quiet on the Western Front to give insight on liberalism and its failure to explain human nature and progress successfully. Liberalism was critiqued as modernism took the stand because liberal values broke down in the presence of war during the early 20 th century. According to Kafka, liberalism failed human nature because mankind presents an artificial approach to freedom and according to Remarque, liberalism has failed because destruction and war disintegrate the ideals of progress, rationality and humanity. The breakdown of liberal values is rooted in the Dreyfus Affair, the Scramble for Africa and colonialization. The Dreyfus Affair fueled anti-Semitism in modern Europe and enhanced the breakdown of liberal values because when people cannot be free when others suppress them. Similarly, the Scramble for Africa, which began in 1890 and ended in 1914, denoted power as a value that was superior to liberal ideals of progress and freedom. The White man was obsessed with the idea of civilizing the uncivilized because it was their burden. Africans were retained of their nature of life to become more like Europeans simply because the white man was more powerful. Liberalism does not emphasize this kind of behavior in mankind and therefore, the Scramble for Africa
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illustrates the crisis of liberalism and liberal values in the early 19 th century. Colonization that therefore followed the Scramble for Africa further strengthens the argument against liberalism because colonization sanctioned new expanding ideas of a nation rooted in the notion of race. This proposal heightened the critique of liberalism because liberal values do not agree that race should divide a nation or separate one because liberalists see all of mankind as equal and colonization divides mankind based on race. Colonizationists felt it was their duty to instill their values on Africans yet liberalism encouraged freedom of individual thought. Franz Kafka wrote, “A Report the Academy” in 1917. In his essay he discusses
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Paper2 - Jessica Gimbel History 120 Liberalism at the...

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