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Proprietors and Patentees of Reform:

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-A-


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-B-
Bentham, Jeremy (1748-1832).
In Bentham's writings, politicians, beginning with those of the early 19th century, found legitimization in their most favoured activity: the business of making laws; and, they have been doing it in great quantities ever since. Bentham figured that laws should be socially useful and not merely reflect the status quo; he thought it to be a "sacred truth" that "the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation." Many have accepted this view: I have not.

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-C-
Cobbett, William (1763-1835).
A self taught man, Cobbett was a moving force in the great legislative reforms that took place in England, during the early part of the 19th century.

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-D-

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-E-
Engels, Friedrich (1820-1895):
Engels was the writer of The Condition of the Working Class in England (1844). But his fame principally rests as one of the co-founders (with Marx) of "scientific socialism." Though not English, Engels lived most of his life in England, being, it seems to me, about the only country, at that time, which would permit publication and distribution of such freethinking material as is represented by the Communistic Manifesto, the joint work of Engels and Marx. Engels was the more practical of the pair, and its doubtful that the work of Marx would have ever been put through the press if it had not been for the work of Engels, an untiring believer in the works of Marx.

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-F-


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-G-
Godwin, William (1756-1836):
In 1793, Godwin brought out his work, Political Justice. Political Justice marked a beginning point when there then started to spread "high thought and warm feelings," a reaction to the "vices and follies of the world." Godwin believed it is impossible to be rationally persuaded and not act accordingly, and that therefore, man could live in harmony without law and institutions; he believed in the perfectibility of man.

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-H-


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-J-


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-L-

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-M-
Marx, Karl (1818-83).
The fundamental difference in the beliefs between socialism and Marxism is that Marxists believe that we are powerless to shape the course of history, whereas the Utopian belief is that it is within our power to make a perfect society.


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-O-
Owen, Robert (1771-1858):
One of the first in a line of 19th century socialists.

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-P-
Paine, Thomas (1737-1809):
Thomas Paine, the pamphleteer will for ever be remembered as being one of the significant spark plugs which brought the America Revolution to full heat.


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-R-
Rousseau, Jean Jacques (1712-88):
"Rousseau undertook the defence of social nudity. He called upon his world, which prided itself so much upon its elegance, to divest the body politic of all its robes. He declared that while Nature has made man happy and virtuous, it is society that renders him miserable and depraved ..."

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-S-

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-T-


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-V-

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-W-
Webb, Sidney and Beatrice:
These are the Webbs of Fabian claim. The Fabians -- G. Bernard Shaw, Sydney Oliver, Sidney Webb, Annie Besant, Wm. Clarke, Graham Wallas, & Hubert Bland, et al. -- led the socialist political movement at the first part of the 20th century. Another circle (just as socialistic) was The "Bloomsbury Group": representative members being Keynes (the Cambridge Professor that got us into so much trouble) and Virginia Woolf (a great literary artist who committed suicide just as Hitler took Europe by force of arms). Among my books by the Webbs are The History of Trade Unionism (London: Longmans, Green; 1907) and English Poor Law History -- Part I: The Old Poor Law (1927). This last book is "a systematic history of English Poor Relief down to the great reforming Act of 1834." Part 2, apparently, takes up where part 1 left and carries on up to the time when the Webbs wrote the book.

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Peter Landry

2011