Friday, October 9, 2009

The Age of Empire

This weeks reading of Age of Empire, was mainly focused on nineteen century politics in Europe. Hobsbawn described the development of the European democratization as a way to appease the bourgeois and the proletariat's contrasting ideas. The rise of the masses and the working class was on major key player in the change of government. During the 19th century, Europe was going through mass changes and experiencing most of them in social, economic and industrial areas. As the workers at the time received terrible wages and had to deal with harsh conditions they started to unite. As they came together they overthrew their governments and assigned different people to create fair opportunities and better conditions. The leaders of the uprising were then able to climb higher on the hierarchy pyramid which was not easily achieved previously.

It was interesting to read about the peasants and how they moved up in society. The mobilization of the masses from rural areas to urban was also very interesting. As they grew closer together many ideologies passed between the different groups. This was also made easier when the media started to develop. This allowed for many ideas to be passed around in a much faster way.

My question is how did the masses become to knowledgeable on socialistic ways? There was no mass media that could have spread the ideas as fast as people were developing them so what caused them to grasp it so fast? If they didn't find these ideas what else might they have followed?


  1. I think the "masses" became aware of social and political issues out of necessity. There was no way the peasants and workers would gain any power if they didn't know anything about the politics of their country. Although television and internet didn't exist Im sure ideas were spread through print and word of mouth. If they did not form coalitions to lobby for power they would not see the changes they want.

  2. There are a number of different ways in which the ideas could have been sent out to the masses. I think the main reason that the masses became aware of movements like socialism is because of the new trend of urbanization and the majority of people working in factories as members of the working class. The working class became the majority of the population and the backbone to their society so their grievances were very important and spread quickly. There was also lots of propaganda that was used.