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SYNOPSIS [2nd August,2021] Day 146: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. The very notion of the relationship between Ruler and State changed as a result of Enlightenment. Do you agree? Critically analyse.
Introduce what does the idea of enlightenment means and contextualise to the demand of the question.In next part write what were its different ideas which led to changes in relationships between the ruler and the ruled.In next part contrast the enlightenment ideals.Finally write a balanced conclusion
The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement that dominated in Europe during the 18th century. It was centered around the idea that reason is the primary source of authority and legitimacy, and it advocated such ideals as liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state.These thoughts also changed the relationship between the ruler and those who are ruled forever.
The Enlightenment has long been hailed as the foundation of modern western political and intellectual culture. It brought political modernisation to the west, in terms of focusing on democratic values and institutions, and the creation of modern, liberal democracies.
The intellectual thoughts which were responsible for this changed relationship were:
- Divine right: It challenged the divine right theory and established that there is no divine legitimacy to the monarchs rule.This led to sovereign will i.e public will attaining legitimacy.Monarchy was done away with in France in 1789.
- Separation of powers: Montesquieu, believed in separation of powers and giving limited power to Ruler i.e executive power in hands of ruler and his ministers, judicial powers with judges.This was done to curb the extreme concentration of powers in one authority.The United States was the first to adopt this separation of powers in its constitution.
- Church: The Union between church and state was questioned.This gave to rise separation of church from the domain of governance.The value of secularism became a major political thought in the governance of the countries.
- Equality and Republic : The enlightenment movement gave rise to equality in each sphere.This led to concept of citizenship where each person was equal and can participate in elections to get elected to highest positions in the country .
- Rule of Law: Even ruler had to abide by laws.The hierarchical applications of laws asper the privileges was discarded.The laws were to to rational and just and equally applicable to everyone. The modern constitutions and criminal and civil laws have adopted this philosophy.
All these intellectual thoughts changed the relationship between the rulers and the ruled.Previously the rulers would collude with the church who would in turn provide legitimacy to the rule to govern over the people.But with rationalisation of thoughts and rise of science and technology this notion was challenged.This gave to an equal relationship between the rulers and ruled.It gave rise to concept of citizenship, popular will, regular elections, rule of law, republic government.All these thoughts went into making of modern democracies over a period of time.
However, historians of race, gender, and class note that Enlightenment ideals were not originally envisioned as universal in today’s sense of the word.That is :
- Counter Enlightenment: There was also a thought which challenged the ideas of enlightenment.This wanted to go back to age of peace and monarchy.This gave rise to constitutional monarchies.
- The initial enlightenment movement was not totally egalitarian as the rights of women were ignored.Long after the Age of Enlightenment the women’s were given political rights in 20th century .
- The racism and slavery was not abolished with the Age of Enlightenment.This blacks got equal rights in USA as late as 1965.
- The principle of secularism was not widely adopted all over.Further western countries with less religious diversity can easily adopt such a tenet but the multicultural societies felt hard to adopt such a strict separation.Eg India has different version of secularism as compared to western societies.
Therefore the Age of Enlightenment brought with it modern political thoughts such as rationality, equality, secularism, liberty, citizenship and popular will.But it was not a linear movement in one direction and had faced opposition from the conservatives and orthodox section of society.Further it was a movement which focused only on narrow section of the society. However in totality it can be said that the Age of Enlightenment changed the relationship between the ruler and subject to more equal domain of government and the citizen.
2. The history of democracy derives considerable substance from the American Revolution. Discuss.
Introduce what is American revolution.In next part write in brief reasons for the American revolution and how these gave rise to the democratic principles for modern societies.Try to contextualise to Indian national movement.In conclusion write how it inspired the movements world over.
The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution that occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), gaining independence from the British Crown and establishing the United States of America, the first modern constitutional liberal democracy.The ideas and the struggle for independence in USA have inspired the world over to gain democracy.
The reasons for American Revolution:
- British Mercantilist Policy: The basis of England mercantile policy was that the State’s power depends on its wealth and colonies existed to serve the mother country. In fulfilment of these ideology, British started imposing many restrictions on colonies through Navigation Act, Trade Acts, and Industry Acts.
- Navigation Law of 1651 – It was compulsory for American ships to visit British ports before leaving for other parts of the world.
- Colonies were not allowed to use non-British ships in their trade.
- Certain products such as sugar, tobacco, and cotton could be exported only to England.
- Colonies were also forbidden to start certain industries. E.g., Iron works, Textile etc/
- Role Of Seven Years War: After the end of Seven Years War in 1763 (British and Allies vs French and Allies), Britain faced severe economic crisis. In this situation, British Parliament’s policy to impose various taxes on American colonies like sugar duty 1964, stamp duty 1965 etc. These resulted in stormy protest and emergence of slogans like “No Taxation without Representation’ etc.
- Townshend Act 1767 And Boston Massacre 1770: The act levied custom duty on five goods which were imported by America from England and it included tea. The colonists refused to pay and there was firing on mob; the incident famously known as Boston Massacre.
- Boston Tea Party: Under pressure, after Boston Massacre, the duty on all, except the tea, was removed. In response to which Samuel Adams along with his supporters threw away the tea containers into Atlantic Ocean. This was Boston Tea Party of 1773.
These issued led to American revolution which had these ideas:
- No tax without representation: No one other than them shall have power to impose tax.This inspired the movements world over to reform legislatures and broaden the concept of democracy.Even Indian freedom fighters used these slogans against the British government.
- Equality: They denounced titles there by denouncing classes.This was adopted by the French Revolution which spread the movement of equality all over the world.
- Power in hands of people: The written constitution gave powers in the hand of people rather than the aristocracy.Thus this was a new experiment in the governance.
- Public scrutiny: all institutions subjected tests of reason.Reason became the force to govern rather than the dogmas and the church.
- Bill of rights: Fundamental rights were enriched in constitution.This inspired the french to adopt a similar bill of rights.Later each nation included certain fundamental rights in the constitution which cannot be curbed by the state arbitrarily.
- Written constitution: First formal blueprint of democracy.This inspired other nations to have a written constitution.India also have adopted this method.
- Federation: Federal structure, respect for every culture. This gave rise to decentralisation of power to the federal units who were not considered subordinate to the central authority.
American Revolution laid the foundation for other colonies to revolt and gain independence not only this but also they provided for establishment of first modern democracy and all over the world it inspired the democratic movements.The modern democracies own a lot to the American revolution.
3. Throughout history, economic and social inequalities have at times led peoples to revolt against their governments. Discuss in light of the French Revolution.
Define what is French Revolution and contextualise to demand of the question.In next part write what were the reasons for the French Revolution.In brief mention significance of the French Revolution.In conclusion write how it inspired and should be a lesson in modern times.
The French Revolution was a time of social and political upheaval in France and its colonies that began in 1789 and ended in 1799. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, Its overthrow of the Monarchy influenced the decline of absolute Monarchies in other parts of Europe.One of the primary reason for revolution was the rising social and economic inequalities in the contemporary French society.
Causes Of French Revolution of 1789
- Social – The social conditions in France in the late 18th century were extremely unequal and exploitative. The clergy and the nobility formed the first two Estates and were the most privileged classes in French society. They were exempt from payment of taxes to the State. On the other hand, the Third Estate that consisted of peasants and workers formed the majority of the population. They were burdened with excessive taxes with no political and social rights. As a result, they were extremely discontent.
- Economic – As a result of numerous wars waged by Louis XVI the State coffers were empty. The situation was made even more complex by France’s involvement in the American War of Independence and the faulty system of taxation. While the privileged classes were excused from paying taxes the Third Estate was more and more burdened with them.
- Political – The Bourbon king of France, Louis XVI was an extremely autocratic and weak-willed king who led a life of obscene luxury. This led to a lot of disenchantment among the masses who then were leading life of extreme poverty and widespread hunger.
- Intellectual – The 18th century was marked by a conscious refusal by French thinkers of the ‘Divine Rights Theory’. Philosophers like Rousseau rejected the paradigm of absolute monarchy and promulgated the doctrine of equality of man and sovereignty of people. They played a pivotal role in exposing the fault lines of the old political system, i.e. the ancient regime, and articulating the popular discontent.
Significance of the French Revolution
- For all its faults, the French Revolution is highly regarded as the turning point in modern history as the rise of new ideas steeped in liberalism, enlightenment and democracy.
- These ideals were carried throughout Europe by French armies that fought many wars in order to preserve the Republic’s existence.
- It inspired the common folk in Europe to rise up against their own Monarchs in a wave of revolutionary fervour. Although most were harshly put down, the revolutions would continue into the early years of the 19th century which saw the fall of many absolute Monarchy all over Europe.
- Above all, the French Revolution brought an end to feudalism and made a path for future advances in broadly defined individual freedoms
Therefore the prognosis French Revolution points that the inequalities which may be social, political ,cultural or economical will give rise to discontent and will push people to revolt to change their conditions.This has been seen in Indian national movement, the movement against apartheid and against the dictatorships.This needs to be kept in mind to the present government in light of increasing inequality world over which is corroborated by the Oxfam reports over the years.