What were the political consequences of the Industrial Revolution?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The major political impact of the Industrial Revolution (I would argue) was to push countries like Britain and the United States towards a greater level of democracy.

Once the Industrial Revolution truly came into being, the older, more patriarchal ways of politics had to begin dying.  There were no longer the sorts of paternalistic, patron-client relations that made for a more feudal form of government.  Instead, the masses of people were equal to one another and had only economic relations with their bosses.  The days in which tenant farmers on a landlord's estate would look to him for political cues were gone.  Instead, the mass of people were workers who had little connection to their bosses and who, instead, acted on their own interests.

This is not to say that the US or England became more democratic right away.  However, in the long run, the major political impact of the Industrial Revolution was increased democratization.

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