In this week's reading, Hobsbawm discusses the rise of the proletariat and the shift of power to the rising phenomenon of democracy. Throughout the late 1800's to the early 1900's, there was a dramatic shift in world politics as the proletariat, or the "working class" slowly rose to power, therefore creating a resurgence in the ideal of democracy. There are many reasons for this shift, but much of it is just a simple case of cause and effect.
Industrialization caused urbanization, and as more and more new inventions were being discovered, the farms and peasant from the countryside knew a good opportunity when they saw one. A shift of the masses occurred as the industrialized cities became more and more populated, filling up with small-town folk hoping to make a more comfortable living. As the cities got more crowded, a sense of togetherness began to form and the people soon started forming trade unions, workers movements, and then eventually even political parties to make their voices known. When changes began to happen, the "proletariat" realized the capacity for change and their power over that capacity, and thus arose democracy.
In today's world, democracy is treated completely differently. Instead of being chosen by the people to adopt democratic ideals, it is forced upon some people. America, being the light and beacon of democracy, is now trying to enforce i in other countries. It thinks that because democracy worked for America, it should work for every other country as well. But, as seen in the case of the War in Iraq, such beliefs do not hold against contestation. Other countries did not go through the process that America did in following democracy, therefore it is both unfair and unpractical to force this political theory on other countries. Thoughts?