Western Civilization Mercantilism Was a Direction Essay

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Western Civilization

Mercantilism was a direction of economic thinking that promoted governmental control over industry and trade in the interest of national strength. National strength was to increase, with government-regulated exports being greater in volume than imports.

Adam Smith, on the other hand, promoted a paradigm of commercial interdependence, and trade according to the greatest strengths of a country's industries. In this way, he disagreed with ideal of Mercantilism to provide governmental forces with full control of trade. Smith held that it would be more beneficial and appropriate for the governing authority to establish a laissez faire policy regarding industry and trade. At its basis, Smith's theory related to the economy and the self-interest of individuals. Individuals dedicated themselves to gaining the greatest economic reward from their activities. This translates to the greatest overall economic reward for the country; it follows that individuals should then be left to pursue their economic goals in the way that suits each best.

2. The Constitution of the Year VIII was incepted by Napoleon when he overthrew the French government during 1799. The Constitution provided for the Consulate, of which Napoleon was named first consul. This Constitution provided Napoleon with powers that bordered on the dictatorial, even though the Tribunate and the Corps Legislatif remained. True power belonged to the first consul.

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The system worked well while it lasted, with Napoleon gaining victory after victory for France, and solving the problems the country faced at the end of the century. At the beginning of the year 1802, Napoleon had become the most popular dictator in the history of his country. There was little protest to giving him the position of first consul for life, including the right to name his successor. While the Constitution of the Year VIII was then altered to provide for an imperial government, its basis did not change.

TOPIC: Essay on Western Civilization Mercantilism Was a Direction of Assignment

3. The sans-calotte movement in France was made up of the country's working classes. While some of them were very poor, others, and particularly the militant section of the movement, were skilled workers and shopkeepers. They took the name "sans-calotte" in reference to their denouncement of the aristocratic and upper-middle class breeches. This protest was symbolic in terms of class equality; the classes were equal and the sans-calotte philosophy was based upon the fact that fashion should not be used as a distinguishing factor.

Although widely diverse in their individual politics, the sans-calotte were bound by their disdain of the rich. Their main belief was that all persons are equal. As such, each citizen had the right to own one piece of property, with no governmental control over large enterprises. They advocated the necessity of a direct democracy and a republic, as well as of taxes for the rich. They were often viewed with some reserve, hesitation and fear by the middle and upper classes, and to some extent were depicted as militant savages. Some of them were indeed quite militant and played a significant role during the Terror.

4. The Enlightenment movement sought to change the views of its world mainly in terms of religion and hereditary aristocratic domination. Reason was to gradually take the place of faith as the basis upon which to conduct life and morality. Reform took place not only in the church, but also in society as an increasing amount not only of the elite, but also of the lower classes, became aware of the possibility of change. Newly prosperous merchants during the Renaissance brought change to all areas of living, including the arts, government, and the economy. The French philosopher, Voltaire, was a leader of such change. Along with him, several rebellious thinkers formed a group known as the "philosophes." Many of them also wrote for Denis Diderot's Encyclopedia, which was significantly influential in the ultimate success of the Enlightenment.

5. The Concert of Europe was a body of countries, formed during 1815, in order to ensure that the decisions of the Congress of Vienna were not violated, and to maintain a balance of power. Member countries included Russia, Prussia, Austria and Great Britain. In terms of accomplishment, the Concert successfully suppressed the 1820 and 1822 uprisings in Spain and Italy, respectively. By doing this, the Concert also established its legitimacy in the eyes of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Western Civilization Mercantilism Was a Direction."  Essaytown.com.  September 7, 2008.  Accessed November 28, 2021.
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