Comparing and Contrasting Political Ideologies & Movements: Essay Prompts

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As you have learned, a variety of political ideologies and movements have risen over the course of human history. Use this lesson to help synthesize your understanding of these different philosophies and their enactments.


Now that you've completed the lessons in your course, use the exercises shown here to practice applying your new-found knowledge. This is not a mandatory part of your coursework, but is useful practice.

Clearly Defining Ideologies

As you have seen, a number of different political ideologies have played roles over the course of history. This section offers you some prompts that help make sure you understand different ideologies clearly.

  • Explain what it means to be a liberal. Drawing on evidence from history, specifically define what liberalism means and how it might play out in relation to particular political and social issues. Explain how the historical definition of liberalism as an ideology is different from the way the term 'liberalism' is often used in popular culture.
  • What does it mean to be a socialist? Describe how socialism evolved as an ideology and what core beliefs underlie socialism. Explain some of the views an ideological socialist might hold in relation to particular historical or contemporary issues.
  • Offer a clear definition of what fascism is and is not as an ideology. In your definition, offer both examples and counter-examples of fascism. Then, without judgement, explain some of the factors that might cause an individual to subscribe to an ideology of fascism. You can use evidence from history to support your theories about this concept.

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