Empathy and Respect

Throughout Emmeline Pankhurst’s Speech from the Dock she tries to be respectful towards the men who would be reading this. “I do not want to say anything which may seem disrespectful to you, or in any way give you offense, but I do want to say that I wish, sir, that you could put yourself into the place of women for a moment before you decide upon this case .” (Pankhurst 470) There are many instances where Pankhurst tries to emphasize that men cannot comprehend how these women are feeling and she tries to make them feel empathetic towards their oppressed political rights. “I want you, if you can, as a man, to realize what it means to women like us. We are driven to do this, we are determined to go on with agitation, because we feel in honor bound.” (471) Do you think that Emmeline Pankhurst’s approach helps her cause and would be effective? Do you think it hurts her arguments? Why?

Judgement of others

In chapter one of Things Fall apart, we learn about Okonkwo’s father, Unoka. Unoka is described in this chapter as a man that people didn’t have much respect for. He was said to be lazy, improvident, and was in extreme amounts of debt due to him borrowing money from neighbors and never returning the money he owed. He never took any titles. (Mandela 4)
Because of how his father acted, Okonkwo was ashamed of his father. “Fortunately, among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father (Mandela 8).” This shows us that back in the 19th century, some dealt with this issue of people judging them based on things their parents have or haven’t done. Do you think we still see this issue occurring in today’s society? How can this be harmful to a person’s reputation in the time period of the book or even in today’s society?

Cool and impartial attitude?

In Ernest Renan’s What is a Nation?, he writes on behalf of asking the reader the question, “what makes a nation a nation?” In the introduction of the document, he said, “It is a delicate thing that I propose to do here, somewhat akin to vivisection; I am going to treat the living much as one ordinarily treats the dead. I shall adopt an absolutely cool and impartial attitude.” (Renan 42) He talks a lot about race, religion, language, and ethnicity regarding nationality throughout. He seems to have an opinion about all of them. Throughout the text, do you think Renan has a ‘cool and impartial attitude’ regarding the topics he talks about? Do you think he has bias towards certain people, cultures, religions, etc.?

Demanding Freedom

In the Address by the Hungarian Parliament and Demands of the Hungarian People, many requests are made for political freedom. The author of this work gives the Hungarian government many reasons why these people deserve their freedom. The author says, “we are likewise of opinion that the time has arrived for granting political rights to the people.” Along with reasons why they should get political freedom, the work gives the 12 demands of the Hungarian citizens. Do you think that Hungary would be able to carry out all of the requests if they were supported enough? Which do you think would come into play the easiest? Which of the demands do you think would be the hardest for Hungary to carry out?

Abolition of private property

Throughout the Communist Manifesto, written collectively by Engels and Marx, they both heavily refer to the abolition of private property. They state multiple times that this has to happen so that the land with be publicly owned for the better of society. In their eyes, everyone should be equal and no one should own more and be ahead. Both Engels and Marx state in their Communist Confession of Faith that this is one of the conditions for the new communistic organization of society. How do you feel about the idea of abolishing private property? Do you think that this infringes on citizens’ rights and freedom?

Absolute Certainty

On page 24 of On Liberty and the Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mills, he says “To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same think as absolute certainty.”

In this statement, Mills is talking about how no one knows for absolute certainty that their opinion is the right one. If someone is refusing to hear an alternate idea or opinion, based solely on the fact that they think is it wrong, is to deny the person of their own thought. If you refuse for this reason, you make making the impression that you think that you have all knowledge of that subject and that your opinion is the only right one. My question is, can anyone be absolutely certain about anything? Is it possible to know that your opinion is the ultimate truth?

Could the working class ever escape these conditions?

Manchester in the 19th century was a prime example of how bad the working class lived in big cities. In our primary source, The Condition of the Working Class in England, Friedrich Engels gives the reader a very descriptive text on just how horrible the living conditions of the proletariats were. He goes into detail about their housing, their diet, their ways of life. On page 85, Engels says, “… these workers have no property of their own, and live wholly upon wages, which usually go from hand to mouth. Society, composed wholly of atoms, does not trouble itself about them; leaves them to care for themselves and their families, yet supplies them no means of doing this in an efficient and permanent manner.” 

The way that these people lived was based solely on if they could get work for just enough money to get food, which was practically not edible. It seems that these families were destined to this lifestyle with no means of escaping it. Do you think the proletarians and their future generations were condemned to this life style for their whole time on earth with no escape or were there chances and opportunities for them to try and better their lifestyle and get away from the horrible living conditions?

Friedrich Engels. The Condition of the Working Class in England. Oxford University Press, 1993.