An examination of economic discontent as a feature of pre revolutionary society

Apart from being a gesture towards promoting ethnic harmony, this could be understood as an acknowledgement of the influence which the clergy of all faiths is deemed to wield on lay society. And, as a feature of popular politics, I venture to suggest that it is observable far less frequently elsewhere in South Asia, even in areas of mixed ethnicity.

An examination of economic discontent as a feature of pre revolutionary society

Harvard University Abstract Our brief examination of the conditions underlying the political crises of the Meiji Restoration and the Prussian Reform Movement has tended to reinforce by contrast our central arguments about the causes of revolutionary political crises in France, Russia, and China.

Bourbon France, Hohenzollern Prussia, Tokugawa Japan, Manchu China, and Romanov Russia - all became subject to military pressures from more economically developed nations abroad and all experienced in response societal political crises.

An examination of economic discontent as a feature of pre revolutionary society

Yet only France, Russia, and China were plunged into the upheavals of social revolution, while Prussia and Japan, relatively speaking, adapted speedily and smoothly to international exigencies through reforms instituted from above by autocratic political authorities.

The different fates of these agrarian monarchical regimes faced with the challenges of adapting to the exigencies of international uneven development can be explained in large part by looking at the ways in which agrarian relations of production and landed dominant classes impinged upon state organizations - though it is also important to assess the severity of the pressures from abroad with which each regime had to cope.

In Russia, the revolutionary crisis of autocratic rule and dominant class privilege was due to the overwhelming stress of World War I upon an early-industrializing economy fettered by a backward agrarian sector.

(PDF) State and revolution

The Imperial regime was strong enough to override dominant class interests and enforce modernizing reforms after the shock of defeat in the Crimean War, but it was not able to reorganize agrarian class relations that were inimical to modern economic development or rapid increases in productivity.

Even extraordinary successes of state-propelled industrialization were not enough to allow Tsarist Russia to make up her economic lag behind the West, and she remained entangled within the European states system as it careened toward World War. By contrast, neither Japan nor Prussia was so agriculturally backward or internationally pressed during early industrialization as Tsarist Russia.

Both Bourbon France and Manchu China had fairly prosperous agrarian economies and experienced foreign pressures no greater than those experienced by Tokugawa Japan and Hohenzollern Prussia. Another pattern is the differentiating cause here: If such politically organized and administratively entrenched landed classes were present, as they were in France and China, then the reactions of these classes against autocratic attempts to institute modernizing reforms deposed the monarchies and precipitated breakdowns of administrative and military organizations.

This meant that externally induced political crises developed into potentially social-revolutionary situations. But if, as in Japan and Prussia, politically powerful landed classes were absent, so that the oldregime states were more highly bureaucratic, then foreign-induced crises could be resolved through political struggles confined, broadly speaking, within the established governing elite and administrative arrangements.

And this precluded the possibility for social revolution from below. Social revolutions in France, Russia, and China were launched, it has been argued here, by crises centered in the structures and situations of the states of the Old Regimes.

Still, the actual occurrence of social revolutions in these three countries depended not only upon the emergence of revolutionary political crises, but also upon the conduciveness of the agrarian sociopolitical structures of the Old Regimes to peasant revolts.

To go on with the analysis from here, therefore, we would have to reexamine the prerevolutionary societies from the opposite perspective, no longer from the top down with emphasis on the state, the dominant class, and the international context, but from the bottom up with emphasis on the structural situation of the peasants in the agrarian economy and in local political and class relations.

While this task cannot be accomplished here, it is undertaken in the larger study of which this analysis is only a part. Discover the world's research.Peasant Life and Serfdom under Tsarist Russia. A caricature of Russian serfs.

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