Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism
The Comparison of Three World Ideologies
Liberalism in the 19th century was understood as a revolution ideology which was hostile to every conservative institution, including the monarchy, the church and the aristocracy. Liberals wanted the powers to be separated among the legislative, executive and judicial branches. Also, they supported the protection of individual rights, such as property rights and personal freedoms. Liberalism was strictly against government’s intervention in social and economic affairs. However, they believed that the right to vote should be restricted by property qualifications. So, only landowners, businessmen and professionals, in other words – upper and middle class, could vote.
Conservatism is absolutely opposite to liberalism. Conservatives were against individualism and supported monarchy as the only power, supported the hierarchical class system dominated by the aristocracy and the church. The ideology claimed that tradition is the highest power and it should guide all social and political actions. Also, they believed that if too much attention is paid to individual rights and freedoms, the anarchy would inevitably come. So, they gave no freedom of speech, opposed any sort of innovation and reform, and repressed anything that was out of their traditional understanding. Also, they repressed any dissension between people, and thus, managed to live without war from 1815 to 1914.
The 19th century socialism emphasized the collective community instead of individual rights. It was directed on improving of the miserable life of the urban industrial working class. Socialists called for state ownership of all means of production and believed that everyone should be equal, that the wealth of the working class should be shared among all people. Socialists claimed that there must be no competition between producers, only mutual cooperation. The first understandings of this ideology were considered utopian, because it was presented as an ideal community, where everything was fair and perfectly divided.