In the first part of Chapter Five, Hobsbawm discusses the economic expansion that took place in this era. Industry saw a fusion of steam power and manual labor, creating a huge wave of new jobs, particularly in manufacturing, while the need for steam opened up a new coal market. We saw the creation of the craft journeymen, who formed the most active and educated group in developing proletariat of early economics. This then helped create an unprecedented new middle class, as many emerging occupations required no particular skills or education. Many areas started working as large firms in plants because this created heavy industry.
Of course, the new formation of these groups drifted into political influence, bringing socialist and workers parties into play throughout Europe. This was then mirrored by American labor Unions, but never quite made the same ground as the movement in Europe.
Why is this? Even today, we see a much stronger Socialist existence across the pond, while we in the US seem to reject it at every turn. We are one of the only world powers without a major Socialist Party. How does this factor into the success of a nation?