What are Ideologies?
Ideology: a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.
In class, we were asked to define the following terms; liberal, conservative, and nationalism. I had no idea what a liberal was, or what nationalism was. I had the idea that conservative people liked old fashioned traditions. They like to save and spend money wisely. That was correct. The modern conception of a conservative is defined as "holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion". The modern conception of a liberal is defined as a person that is "open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values". These already seem total opposite to me. Finally, nationalism is described today as "patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts" and "advocacy of political independence for a particular country". All of these are ideologies. I keep saying these are the modern conceptions of these terms because the meaning has changed over the years. The essential question we had to end up figuring out was: What were the major political ideologies of the 19th century and how did they influence social and political action?
Presentation - Conservatism
Conservatism (19th Century): A very traditional ideology that argued that time-tested traditions were the only solutions to social and political problems. They believed revolutions and the expanding of innovation and reforms were wrong and resulted in violence.
Using basically any app we wanted, each group in the class had to make a one minute presentation that explained the ideology we were assigned. There were 3 ideologies and 6 groups, so 2 groups got the same ideology. They would then go head to head and see which presentation won the class over. My group was assigned conservatism, and we decided to make our presentation on Educreations. You can watch our presentation on conservatism here.
This presentation represents conservatism because the scene opens with a king, his son, and a noble in the king's bedroom. The king is dying on his bed. He tells his son that he wants him to be the next great king. The noble in the background asks why they don't vote for a new king, rather than just passing it onto the next generation. The son explains that this strategy has always worked and is a tradition. This portrays conservatism because conservatives believed that time-tested traditions were the only solutions to social and political problems, and that constitutionalism led to a lot of chaos. They also believed, in the 19th century, that monarchy (a form of government with a ruler) worked, as well as aristocracy and church power. The next slide of the presentation shows the noble who made the suggestion getting beheaded for putting out the idea that what they were doing wasn't working.
Liberalism & Nationalism
The ideology article on Edline and our classmates' performances helped me understand what liberalism and nationalism were described as in the 19th century. First, liberalism. We watched a video made by a group of classmates that did their presentation on liberalism. After watching this, I had a better understanding of what exactly liberalism was. At first, I noted that it was the complete opposite of conservatism. Liberalists did not like old traditions, supported new ways of ruling - based on merit, freedom and rights, advocated for middle class participation, yet not for women or the poor. The liberalists were not accepting of all social levels. Next, nationalism. A group made a funny animated video using M&M's talking. The M&M's kept talking about how different they all were - because they are all different colors. However, a Skittle then comes and says he will rule over them. The M&M's team up and realize they are all the same candy (representing when people are all from the same country) and defeat the foreign, weird Skittle king. Nationalists in the 19th century were people with similar beliefs in traditions, languages, and other things that make them the same, who decided to 'team up' and prevent foreign rulers. This representation with M&M's was funny and at the same time really let me understand what nationalism was.