Communism (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
A system of social organization in which goods are held in common.
Communism in the United States is something of an anomaly. The basic principles of communism are, by design, at odds with the free enterprise foundation of U.S. capitalism. The freedom of individuals to privately own property, start a business, and own the means of production is a basic tenet of U.S. government, and communism opposes this arrangement. However, there have been, are, and probably always will be communists in the United States.
As early as the fourth century B.C., Plato addressed the problems surrounding private ownership of property in the Republic. Some early Christians supported communal principles, as did the German Anabaptists during the sixteenth-century religious Reformation in Europe.
The concept of common ownership of goods gained a measure of support in France during the nineteenth century. Shortly after the French Revolution of 1789, François-Noël ("Gracchus") Babeuf was arrested and executed for plotting the violent overthrow of the new French government by revolutionary communists. Etienne Cabet inspired many social explorers with his Voyage en Icarie (1840), which promoted peaceful, idealized communities. Cabet is often credited with the spate of communal settlements that appeared in mid-nineteenth-century North America. Louis-Auguste Blanqui...
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Communism (Political Theories For Students)
Communism is a political and economic system in which citizens share property and wealth based on need. Private ownership does not occur. The idea of communism was set forth by Plato in The Republic in the 300s B.C. Plato's ideas were followed by those of Sir Thomas More, who in the sixteenth century described utopias based on common ownership. Communism did not become a formal political system until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when Karl Marx brought communistic ideas to center stage. It was further developed and implemented by Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union, and after World War II, began to spread to countries such as East Germany, China, and Poland.
(The entire section is 13394 words.)