Roberta M


Pivotal moments for Political and Economic Theory

The Roman Empire

27 BCE - 476 CE


500 - 1000


846 - 1300


1400 - 1991

The printing press is invented


Atlantic Slave Trade

1500 - 1800

Machiavelli writes "The Prince"


The Prince was written by Machiavelli during his time in isolation, written to the medici's and promoting "leadership glory" to make "Rome" great again. During this time, there was a cultural renaissance occurring in Florence. "The Prince" stressed the importance of centralized leadership and nation building.

Martin Luther writes 95 Theses and Protestant Reformation begins

1517 CE - 1518 CE

Luther's 95 Thesis were a series of arguments written by Luther against the Catholic Church. Specifically, Luther did not like the practice of the sale of indulgences. Indulgences were sold by the Catholic Church as, essentially, a get out of Purgatory Free card. Basically, you could pay so much money to the church and the church would absolve you of your sins. The greater the sin, the greater the cost. Luther did not feel this practice was terribly honest or terribly Christian.

John Calvin writes "The Institutes of the Christian Religion"


The attitude towards wealth changes in the lower classes because the Calvinism begins to promote the notion that God blesses the people and wealth is a gift of the Gods. Working class should aspire to have nice things, which previously was a non existent attitude.


1600 - 1800

The British East India Company

1600 - 1874

The Treaty of Westphalia


All parties would now recognize the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, by which each prince would have the right to determine the religion of his own state, the options being Catholicism, Lutheranism, and now Calvinism (the principle of cuius regio, eius religio).

Thomas Hobbes writes Leviathan


The Levianthan promoted the notion that human bodies are just vehicles of state power, and the "Leviathan" (the government) protects individual expressional, resources and conserves order (minimizing the fear which arises from death and harm; which Hobbes believes is an inherant motive of man).

The Industrial Revolution

1760 - 1840

Rousseau writes treatise on Social Contract

1762 - 1763

The French philosopher and political theorist Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) paints a romantic picture of the primal state of nature. Rousseau's principal books are the Discourse on the Inequalities of Men (1754) and the Social Contract (1762). In his view, "natural man" was innately noble and all people equal. But natural man was corrupted by property, agriculture, science, and commerce. Rousseau viewed the social contract as a response to the inequalities arising in early society. "What a man loses as a result of the social contract is his natural liberty and his unqualified right to lay hands on all that tempts him, provided only that he can compass its possession. What he gains is civil liberty and the ownership of what belongs to him. That we may labol under no illusion concerning these compensations, it is well taht we distinguish between natural liberty which the individual enjoys so long as he is strong enough to maintain it, and civil liberty which is curtailed by the general will."

United States declared independence from Great Britain


The French Revolution

1789 - 1799

The French Revolution (1789–1799) was a period of political and social upheaval in the history of France, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on Enlightenment principles of nationalism, citizenship, and inalienable rights.

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach "decas cranatorium" Racist Pseudo Science separating race

1790 - 1828

G.W.F Hegel publishes his way of thought "Idealistic Dialecticism"

1807 - 1830

The basic tenet of Hegel's philosophy is that the human mind does indeed play a large role in structuring the existence of the individual, but only through its opposition to the outside world.

Karl Marx writes the Communist Manifesto

February 21, 1848

it is an essay on the problems of capitalism and a set of proposals to counter those problems (in the context of 1840s Europe), the plans including:
No private ownership of land, use of rent for communal purposes,
Progressive taxation (redistribution of income, those with more pay progressively a larger proportion, as flat taxes punish lower earners disproportionately),
Confiscation of property of emigrants (NOT immigrants!)
Nationalised central bank with a monopoly on distribution of money,
Means of production, communication and transport state owned,
Free education, end to child labour.
Equal liability to labour (everyone has to do something productive).

Lenin write " Imperialism -the highest form of Capitalism"

Jan 1915 - Jun 1915

One observation that Lenin made, however, was a very good one. Symbiotic relationships between large companies (in Lenin's language, "imperialistic monopolies") and the national government can sometimes lead to wars that are fought for the benefit of those companies at the expense of the rest of the society. An American general named Smedley Butler later made very similar observations on very different factual material in his 1935 book "War is a Racket."

Lenin thought (correctly) that monopolization of the economy is a bad thing and the symbiotic relationships between monopolies and government are even worse (with the likes of East Indian Company, designed to operate colonies for profit with no governing law, being the ultimate evil). But he (incorrectly) viewed those things as inevitable under capitalism; in his view, things like anti-trust law, regulation of campaign finance, and legislative oversight were just forms of window-dressing, aimed at placating the masses.

United Nations Established