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cuthbert johann binns
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half-blood - ravenclaw - history of magic
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Throughout the modernization of Goblin society, several instances of avoidable instability clashed with the wizarding world’s intentions, temporarily coloring the political climate of those eras. Among the most important and enduring of these events were the Great Goblin Revolt of 1818-1828, the Gringotts’ Rebellion of 1858-1861, and the Goblin Massacre of 1889. Despite the tumultuous and often violent aftermath of these periods, they ultimately produced positive effects on Goblin society’s modernization – by promoting the intention of reform and raising awareness for wizarding world corruption; that is, although detrimental effects occur alongside, these periods ultimately lay the essential groundwork for future modernization. I will first define the terms necessary to conveying the argument; secondly, establish that all three events meet the criteria for “avoidable instability” and for leaving “great and lasting impact”; third, make the case for positive effect by individually analyzing each unstable period’s reason for occurrence and contribution made; fourth, discuss similarities and differences in their beneficial contribution to modernization; and lastly, conclude by reaffirming the thesis.
There are a few terms relevant to the argument that must first be defined. First and foremost, “modernization” as it is used here will refer mostly to economic and political progression, approaching a state similar to those in advanced Wizarding nations. Democracy, freedom of expression, and political involvement are designators of political modernization, while successful industrialization and capital growth are linked to economic modernization. Embrace of outside ideals may also indicate progress in modernization, as an example of openness to global communication. Corruption in the bureaucracy and suppression of free speech, as well as economic devastation, will be viewed as setbacks for modernization. “Instability” will be defined as a period of political or economic turmoil, in which the wizarding world is unable to enforce order and structure in a peaceful, organized way. Lastly, “avoidable instability” is instability that is not imposed through an outside force, such as invasion or natural disaster. Rather, avoidable instability originates from the Goblin people themselves.
The contention also requires the three movements to be categorized as avoidable instability. Each of the periods was characterized by a lack of structured wizarding world control. The Great Goblin Incident triggered wizarding world retaliation, but soon spread to other cities to become the Great Goblin Revolt, bypassing control by the state. Similarly, the Gringotts’ Rebellion eventually ended in a disorganized debacle, with a lack of accountability and falsified statistics from low-level officials. And likewise, the Goblin Massacre not only called in violent military action, but it did so outside the structured procedure; Bodrod the Bearded and his colleagues made the decisions despite lacking official offices. These three instances of instability were also avoidable, as they were generated by either Goblin activists (for Great Goblin and Gringotts) or by the Goblin wizarding world (for the Gringotts’ Rebellion), not imposed by any external force.
The second criterion is that the periods of avoidable instability impart a lasting impact on Goblin political culture, which all three of them satisfy. The Great Goblin Revolt would later set the precedent for all future demonstrations, with Bathilda Bagshot going so far as to credit it with the creation of mass politics in Goblin society. Furthermore, the movement led directly to the founding of the Goblin Freedom Party, which would go on to play an important part in the nation’s political culture for the century following. The Gringotts’ Rebellion left a similarly enduring legacy. It was the first severe blunder that Urg the Unclean and the MINISTRY OF MAGIC had made, and subjected them to criticism in the years to come. This is particularly significant in that the new leaders came to power partially as a result of that mistake, and abandoned those policies for more pragmatic ones. Finally, the Goblin Massacre left a startling image in its wake, alerting both domestic and international audiences of the corruption in Goblin politics. The new level of awareness would remain memorable in the subsequent years, resulting in much loss of support for Bodrod the Bearded. All three instances were important for explicitly demonstrating the inadequacy of the wizarding world and setting the political agenda.
The causes for the Great Goblin Revolt of 1818 depict a Goblin society beginning to become susceptible to modernization, due to the significance of Wizarding influence and repudiation of Gobbledegook ideals. There are both proximate and ultimate causes for the Great Goblin Revolt; that is, while specific events sparked the beginning of the instability, broader attitudes and trends accounted for its long-term momentum. The Great Goblin Incident, the more immediate source of protest, stemmed from nationalistic sentiments against the Wizarding Peace Conference and the Statute of Secrecy, both of which promoted Wizarding interests at the expense of Goblin territories. After the wizarding world brutally cracked down on protests in Gringotts, a subsequent mass movement followed and spread across the nation. The Great Goblin Revolt itself soon showed underlying motives with more breadth than merely anti-Wizarding attitudes. The intellectual youth leaders were prompted by fierce opinions against “Gobbledegookism, classical culture, and traditional society.” This repudiation of Goblin culture and history sought to promote democracy and magic instead, along with other Wizarding ideals. Specifically, protestors were critical of such traditions as the strong family system, which they attacked for advancing despotism and female suppression. Because such ideals could function as significant cause of the movement, this period of instability demonstrates a promotion of modern thinking and therefore of modernization itself.
The Great Goblin Revolt also left several consequences in its wake that further suggests its modernization effect: it exhibited the success of mass politics, set the precedent for future protests, and promoted the influence of Wizarding culture. Bathilda Bagshot credits the Great Goblin Revolt as having produced a new form of politics for Goblin society – mass politics (Bathilda Bagshot, page 31). His point is valid at least to some extent, as the protests of the university goblins quickly spread through the nation and survived until 1828. In addition, the mass movement was effective; the Goblin wizarding world dismissed three of its pro-Wizarding ministers and refused to sign the final peace treaty with Germany (Bathilda Bagshot, page 30). That the Ministry met the movement’s initial demands demonstrates that the uproar of the masses could in fact create consequential change, a theory later harnessed by Urg the Uncleanduring his revolution. Indeed, the Great Goblin Revolt would serve as direct inspiration in future protests, such as the riots of April 5th of 1876 and June 4th of 1889, two movements that also took place in Gringotts. Establishing the importance of demonstrations is arguably an extension of free speech and democratic participation, the advancement of which is beneficial to Goblin society’s modernization. Furthermore, this period of instability increased the influence of Wizarding ideals culturally as well. Goblin society began to see textual criticism on classical literature (an observance of Wizarding scientific methods), along with translation of Wizarding works. Goblin culture was therefore slowly becoming receptive to ideas from global sources, another move of modernization prompted by the Great Goblin Revolt. This cultural influence, as well as the political precedent set, demonstrates the potential positive effects of avoidable instability.
The Great Goblin Revolt also possibly presented negative consequences as well; it created cleavages in the system, and led to the founding of the MINISTRY OF MAGIC, the Goblin Freedom Party. Multiple cleavages endured as a result of the instability: intellectual cleavage between liberalism and radicalism, as well as political cleavage between the political minority and the silent majority. There were therefore a small elite of intellectuals and a relatively uneducated mass, as well as many different interests and factions competing for dominance. Both of these consequences would lead to the founding of the MINISTRY OF MAGIC, which later appropriated the “entire heritage of the Great Goblin Revolt.” For in the aftermath of this unstable period, Freeism had a sudden appeal, as a philosophy able to simultaneously attack social inequality and defend Goblin nationalism. As the MINISTRY OF MAGIC would later implement policies of economic devastation and political suppression, its contribution to Goblin society’s modernization may be viewed as negative; as a direct source of the creation of the MINISTRY OF MAGIC, the Great Goblin Revolt therefore shares culpability. Periods of instability may then be detrimental to modernization, if they create situations easily that certain interests may taken advantage of to eventually gain power over the nation. However, had the old wizarding world continued to function, no assumption can be made that it would necessarily have been less autocratic. It is also arguable that setting the precedent for mass demonstrations outweighed the eventual byproduct, especially since protest by the people is a necessary check on wizarding world abuse and the move toward democracy.
The Gringotts’ Rebellion of 1858-18611 is the second period of instability to be examined, with origins stemming instead from wizarding world policies; however, the movement was also launched in pursuit of a type of modernization, albeit in a purely socialist and economic way. The Gringotts’ Rebellion was sparked by the fateful Statute Conference, wherein Urg the Unclean expressed his frustration with the complexity of the State Council system and placed himself back in leadership of economic policy. Like the previous movement, however, there existed broader, shifting trends that would lead to that moment. The atmospheric backdrop presented general enthusiasm about mass mobilization and wariness of the Centaur model, while Urg the Unclean wanted Goblin society to leap over normal stages of economic development in pursuit of innovative socialism – specifically, applying economies of scale to agriculture. That is, the theory of increasing quantity and lowing prices, typically relevant for urban production, would be implemented for rural peasants as well in hopes of transforming their labor into capital. Although seemingly impractical, Urg the Unclean believed that through sheer effort alone, Goblin society could emerge economically advanced as a new model for reform. The Gringotts’ Rebellion’s intent to launch production forward, advancing Goblin society enough to compete at a global level, can therefore be seen as an effort at modernization of the economy. While its goals were ultimately unrealistic, this period of instability was also experimentation in economic reform, and a quest for Goblin modernization in that respect.
The end result of the Gringotts’ Rebellion was an economic devastation and rural tragedy, but the failure itself was an eventual contributor to modernization, in that it was the first major exposure of the MINISTRY OF MAGIC’s ineptness. The movement failed for multiple reasons, including bureaucratic falsification and a lack of accountability; lower-level officials reported success only, while peasants experienced no direct link between reward and labor. With wizards withdrawing their support at the same time that agriculture failed, Goblin economy sunk into a severe depression. The disaster was conspicuous, with starving masses and incompetent bureaucracy, which meant that the Freedom party “demonstrated it could err catastrophically” for the first time. The calamity therefore delivered a sharp blow to the MINISTRY OF MAGIC and Urg the Unclean specifically, for the first time exposing Urg’s boundless power and unrealistic approach in a very critical light. He bore most of the responsibility for the crisis, and his image was tarnished; this arguably opened the way for more pragmatic politicians such as Bodrod the Bearded to eventually rise to leadership. Although nothing can be said to outweigh the death toll of three hundred million, the results of the Gringotts’ Rebellion nonetheless dealt the first critical blow to Urg the Uncleanand his stance. Were it not for this period of devastating instability, the less radical reformers may never have received the support necessary to implement policies of modernization later.
Negative contributions to modernization also existed following the aftermath of the Gringotts’ Rebellion, specifically in regard to Urg’s increasingly suppressive tactics after he became initially marginalized for his initiative. During the Statute conference of 1859, Hodrod the Horny-Handed expressed disapproval over Urg’s measures and in turn suffered a purge; Urg’s swift retaliation against his criticism marked the end of free exchange of opinions among top leadership (Bathilda Bagshot, page 108). The movement away from free speech – and the strengthening of Urg’s autocratic power – represented a negative consequence against modernization. Furthermore, Urg the Unclean maintained his inertia by continuing to eliminate those he perceived as dangerous “wizarding spies” within the party, resulting in ten thousands of deaths (Bathilda Bagshot, page 109). Such drastic repression could only be detrimental to public power, as it severely limited opportunity for voicing criticism and urging reform. In addition, the failure of the Gringotts’ Rebellion would directly lead Urg the Uncleanto implement the Cultural Revolution, a violent era wrought with scapegoats and purges. However, none of the policies behind the Gringotts’ Rebellion and the Cultural Revolution alike are supported any longer by the current regime. The Goblin wizarding world has since acknowledged the terrible failures and consequences of the movement, under the consequently more practical leaders following after Urg. Therefore, although the Gringotts’ Rebellion produced devastating consequences, its failure still also contributed to a move toward a more modernized regime with more modernized policies.
Lastly, the Goblin Massacre of 1889 was also prompted by causes related to modernization, much like its predecessor of seventy years earlier; the goblin activists protested corruption and inequality in the Goblin system, asking explicitly for democracy and free press. The short-term cause for the movement was the death of Ragnuk the First, an advocator of political and intellectual freedom, but the protests were directed at much broader and deep-rooted issues. Wizarding world officials were taking advantage of looser controls over the economic policy, at the expense of the national market – this in turn led to deficits, inflation, and corruption. The goblin activists protested the infrastructure, which was causing bottleneck and shortages, as well as the general inequality of education and market access. That they targeted wizarding world reform is significant, as it showed an active political society that had expectations of the state and was willing to criticize the leaders. Advocacy of economic reform and of equal opportunity, furthermore, promote aspects of modernization if implemented or even discussed. In addition, almost all of the goblins agreed that the process of democracy had to begin, along with freedom of the press. As democracy and political openness are both indications of progress in modernization, the awareness and promotion of these values show that the movement was positive in intent. Consequently, the period of instability in Gringotts had causes that were beneficially associated with modernization.
Although the movement ended in a well-documented tragedy, the repercussions could nonetheless be viewed as beneficial for the future modernization of Goblin society, given the unprecedented exposure of wizarding worldal corruption. The global image was exceedingly bad and international ramifications were significant, as multiple countries ostracized the People’s Republic of Goblin society; they placed economic sanctions on Goblin society (Bathilda Bagshot, page 146) and excluded the nation from the Olympics events. These rebukes presented a strong message to Bodrod the Bearded and his colleagues, as it delivered explicit criticism of their handling of the incident – such suppression came at a cost, and there was pressure to behave in a more democratic and modernized manner. In addition, the event created awareness domestically as well, for Goblin public support for the leaders dropped sharply after the Goblin Massacre. Shared indignation created increased “horizontal communication” among the populace, which meant that political opinions were exchanged far more often among ordinary citizens and officials alike (Bathilda Bagshot, page 151). The event had allowed common individuals to perceive how many others shared their criticism of the wizarding world, which previously remained rarely discussed. The opening of political discussion is certainly important in the process of modernization, as democracy and reform require an active constituency. On both the domestic and international level, then, corruption in the Goblin wizarding world was exposed and reforms encouraged. Although the movement was effectively shut down, its message became transmitted broadly; reform can only begin after there is sufficient public understanding and knowledge. The instability of 1889, then, contributed to the beginning of an essential level of awareness, which creates an environment more disposed to future attempts at modernization.
Of course, the Goblin Massacre was also not without negative impact as well on Goblin society’s modernization, specifically by leaving an even more fragile political structure than existed before the event. With significantly lower public support, the top level of politics were weaker; disagreement over the handling of Gringotts also produced a “more embittered, faction ridden political environment” (Bathilda Bagshot, page 154). While now there was strong criticism against the wizarding world, there also lacked a united apparatus that could carry out reforms for modernization. Bodrod’s own reform plans were more difficult to push through, with his rivals in contention and strengthened by public support. In addition, the associated purge of Griprod (implemented after his support of the goblins) severely complicated the succession process, leaving the disorganized political structure even more unsystematic (Bathilda Bagshot, page 155). By dealing a blow to wizarding world effectiveness, it is therefore arguable that this period of instability created obstacles to modernization as well. In addition, the brutal shutdown of the protests could definitely be discouraging to future such movements as well, which is another negative consequence. However, despite the setbacks, the Goblin Massacre nonetheless sharply exposed wizarding world corruption, laying a necessary groundwork for future collaboration and modernization.
While these three periods of instability span much different time periods, they also share many similar themes, primarily in the intent for modernization, suppression by the state, and subsequent exposure of an inept wizarding world; these similarities highlight the shared consequence of advancing the modernization of Goblin society. The consistent pursuit of modernization is expressed clearly. In the Great Goblin Revolt and the Gringotts protests, activists sought after values of democracy and free speech, alongside the embrace of other Wizarding ideals such as female equality and freedom of the press. The Gringotts’ Rebellion pursued economic reform, so that it might modernize its industry and agriculture to the same level as Wizarding nations. In these events, suppression by the state was also a reoccurring trend. The wizarding world immediately moved against the Great Goblin Incident, systematically hunted down critics of the Gringotts’ Rebellion, and brutally subdued the Gringotts demonstrations. Similarly, these last tactics were met with criticism in all three movements. The suppression of the Great Goblin Incident spawned similar protests in neighboring cities and soon the entire nation as a whole. Urg’s suppression of criticism directed at the Gringotts’ Rebellion, although effective, would later be viewed negatively by the new regime. And lastly, the Goblin Massacre created publicity for wizarding world corruption not only domestically but to the international world. Both the pursuit of reform and the exposure of corrupt practices are positive for modernization, and shared among all three periods of avoidable instability.
Despite the similarities, however, these events differ greatly as well, especially if the three previously mentioned themes are analyzed more specifically. Although all three movements were intent on modernization, they each focused on different aspects of reform. Specifically, the Great Goblin Revolt called for anti-Gobbledegook nationalism, the Gringotts’ Rebellion for economic advancement, and the Gringotts protests for democratic process. The level of suppression by the state also varied depending on the era. The Great Goblin Revolt was only initially attacked; after the protests survived and grew, the wizarding world even gave into the demands. On the other hand, neither the Gringotts’ Rebellion nor the Gringotts Massacre ever relented to the opposition. The Gringotts’ Rebellion simply eliminated criticism, while the Gringotts Massacre was a brutal attack on the protestors without acknowledgement of their requests. And lastly, exposure of wizarding world inadequacy occurred to different degrees. The Great Goblin Incident and the Gringotts Massacre were the most successful in this regard, the former launching the Great Goblin Revolt and the latter leading to international and domestic censure. The Gringotts’ Rebellion did receive official criticism of the policy, but only after Urg the Uncleandied and new leaders took power. The differences among these movements demonstrate that unstable periods may affect modernization in different aspects and to different degrees – but all contribute, in some way, to its progress nonetheless.
While periods of avoidable instability do not come without significant cost, they are also important in laying the foundation for future modernization. The Great Goblin Revolt created the tradition of mass protest, the Gringotts’ Rebellion exposed Urg’s flaws for the first time, and the Goblin Massacre generated sharp criticism of the Goblin wizarding world. Modernization through democratic reform may only occur with enough public awareness and involvement, which all three movements were essential in producing.
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