The Great Famine: An Analysis

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Second, nationalism, a patriotic feeling for one’s country, used by both the working-class and capitalists resulted from the class divide. Regarding the working-class’s utilization, the Great Famine serves as an example. When the Irish population boomed, and the potato crop plummeted, a famine resulted. The British government did very little to help the struggling Irish, and nationalism became the Irish workers’ tool to counter the capitalistic British. McKay describes, “The Great Famine also intensified anti-British feeling and promoted Irish nationalism, for the bitter memory of starvation, exile, and British inaction was burned deeply into the popular consciousness.” In this sense, the class division sparked nationalism because the inaction …show more content…
To accomplish this, the capitalists preached to the workers of its country that they were superior to other nations in every respect. This, in turn, discouraged the socialist idea that workers across the world were unified. Instead, it encouraged the idea that, regardless of class, the nation-state is superior to all. The belief in inferiority stemming from nationalism led to modern racism. Fredrickson describes that “The modern concept of races as basic human types classified by physical characteristics (primarily skin color) was not invented until the eighteenth century.” In other words, this was the first time in history that race was linked to skin color. And in terms of how Europeans viewed these new races, “‘Fair’ people were superior in both respects, while the ‘darker, colored peoples,’ [they] deemed both ‘ugly’ and at best ‘semi-civilized.’” This attitude is bolstered by Spanish Justo Zaragoza’s view toward Africans: “...[the] Negro race, which is quite inferior in its intellectual capacities, needs to be directed, needs to be prodded to work, needs to rely on a superior race…” The racist nationalism was brought on by the strict class divisions because each side—middle-class and working-class—stemmed from the belief that certain races are inferior, thus furthering their goals. The middle-class used it to distract from socialist ideals, and the …show more content…
Despite the Industrial Revolution’s negative impact on European society, it is important to reiterate that it still resulted in progress for a growing European continent. The socialist fervor it sparked eventually ended in necessary reforms for the working-classes, like an end to child labor, weekends for workers, and improved safety conditions. The socialist sentiment also engaged many middle-class women to fight for equal rights, concerning suffrage and parental rights. For the capitalists, the Industrial Revolution allowed the expansion of trade, connecting countries around the world in the exchange of new technology and products. It also developed a new means of transportation, increasing efficiency in nearly every aspect of life. The Industrial Revolution undoubtedly brought several ills and benefits to European society. However, like any other event in history, it is paramount to analyze why and how the event shaped the course of

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