Tyranny And The Social Wellbeing Of Citizens

1750 WordsFeb 11, 20177 Pages
During the 19th century, in the age after the French Revolution, the vast majority of political and philosophical thinkers concerned themselves at some point with the issue of tyranny in society. Such writers spanned from Alexis de Tocqueville, to John Stuart Mill, to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The interpretations and approaches taken to the subject of tyranny and how to protect against it, though, were as varied as the collection of authors who addressed it. From de Tocqueville’s stringent observations in Democracy in America, the concept of a purely political tyranny is delineated. In contrast, Mill’s essay On Liberty focuses on a particular strain of despotic oppression that threatens the social wellbeing of citizens. Yet another…show more content…
In contrast, John Stuart Mill’s essay On Liberty focuses almost entirely on Mill’s idea of how forms of tyranny have evolved throughout history, and how the most pressing form is a new “tyranny of the majority” in which the force of the public opinion is used to silence individuals. Mill seeks to describe how in the past, “protection against the tyranny of political rulers” was necessary to ensure the liberty of individuals, but the problem now has evolved from tyrannical political leaders to an oppressive public that “may desire to oppress a part of their number” (Mill 7). Similar to Mill, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels make the subject of tyranny the focus of The Communist Manifesto; choosing to utilize the manifesto to dissect the tyrannical ways that the bourgeoisie operates in society. Written as an observation of the struggles of the working class stemming from the Industrial Revolution, The Communist Manifesto delineates how bourgeois society “has established new classes, new conditions of oppression, [and] new forms of struggle” for the working class proletariat (Marx & Engels 3). As Marx and Engels were commissioned to draft the manifesto for the Communist League, it makes sense that the piece is intended to provoke the common citizen into recognizing their potential exploitation. Additionally, the actual definition that each author
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