Thursday, October 8, 2009

Age of Empire 2

During the late 19th and early 20th century many nations around were dealing with the emergence of the lower class. Up until this time governments were ruled and determined by a few aristocrats. During this time many European nations would pass laws expanding their electorates allowing more citizens to vote in their own elections. Although laws were passed to ensure that more common folk could vote, most normally did not. As soon as the "masses" were allowed to vote manipulation and corruption came into play. In some instances parliamentary role was diminshed or other portions of upper class votes had more weight and power therefore virtually eliminating the common vote. With the rise of the masses also came the rise of mass media. Now there were newspapers and radio stations devoted solely to issues of importance to the lower class. Many politicians during this time felt that the lower class voters were a bunch of neanderthals, not understanding the issues the country needed to be focusing on. Of course the issues thought important by the rich and poor were going to be different, they had different viewpoints regarding what they needed. With the rise of the masses came the rise of democracy in politics. Interesting questions arised from democracy and politics together, mostly from the upper class. Such questions were, wouldn't democracy interfere with capitalism which would affect businessmen and not in a good way. Although the masses were gaining more and more political power, the ruling class did not seem to be all that concerned for the moment. They naively thought parliamentary systems would always be in place and that democracy would never eliminate their elite and corrupt position, something we know to be untrue.

One topic I found interesting after the reading dealt with how long it took the masses to get involved in their governments. Thinking back not even a hundred years ago, most people around the world could not even vote in elections although most countries claimed to be democratic. Take the US for instance; in the 1900' s we were democratic although women and African Americans could not vote. I understand some places had dictatorships making revolts hard but in democratic countires such as the US and Britain it suprised me how long the upper class ruled. I thought more commoners would have taken an interest in their government before this time period.

After reading what I did not quite understand was the objections the ruling class had to the masses voting in elcections. I understand them fearing what issues the lower class wanted to focus on but the government was already corrupt. I would have thought some politicians would have pushed for a wider electorate because they could then gain votes from the masses while having their own agenda. Broken promises and corruptions were prevolent and although the aftermath could have been a bit dirty I would have geussed some people would have used the masses for their own personal agendas. Maybe thats just me, and although its not a nice thing to do to people, in politics anything can happen. For some people moral boundaries go out the window.


  1. It makes sense to me that the ruling class feared the masses voting in elections. If the ruling class was already corrupt, they were going to seek out their own agenda no matter what. Why would they need to go through the masses? The voting masses would just add another variable into the equation to get their own way--a variable that could prove dangerous. Also, I believe they understood that any power given to the masses had the ability to be used against the ruling class. If the people had the power to vote, what would stop them from using it to gain more power, possibly even enough to throw out the ruling class?
    --Arielle Parris

  2. I think a reason why the ruling class might have been scared with the masses voting is that previously it was just the ruling class that voted and got their way which would benefit them. But with other people, unlike themselves, voting it could cause complications in getting their way. I believe they thought it was better not to have an obstacle even if it was a tiny obstacle than to have one at all.
    Angela Han