Why the “Middle Class” is Revered in Anglo-American Societies


Great Britain’s liberal political structure in the eighteenth century provided a comfortable social environment for the first wave of modern industry in Europe.  British social customs were clearly more advanced than anyone else on the continent, and that could be seen in British social movability.  Those who could amass fortunes were able to represent themselves in the upper echelons of society.  The British parliament represented the people better than any other institution on the continent, and it was through this representation that the new middle class would be able to institute their values early in the nineteenth century.  No other government in Europe would allow such liberalization for decades after the British, and it was with this political power that Great Britain would be able to dominate economically for the next couple of centuries.

The British naval domination and mercantile power were prerequisites for the new industrial onset, but if it weren’t for the ingenious minds of John Locke and Adam Smith, these advancements would not have made it possible for the English to move past other European powers on the continent politically and economically.  John Locke planted the seeds for democracy in Britain through his writings on liberal politics.  Locke advocated freedom, liberty, and most importantly, private property.  Locke’s ideas on private property were perhaps his most strongly held and vehemently argued ideals -because he believed that in order for there to be progress, people should be allowed to pursue their own economic interests without government interference.  Adam Smith delved even more deeply into the issue, with his arguments on the “invisible hand” and laissez faire efficiencies.

The aforementioned British Enlightenment ideas were not the only advancements to allow the onset of the first industrial revolution.  The monarchial successes in the seventeenth century after years of civil war could be seen through bureaucratic enlargement and court efficiencies that allowed for the growth of London and her ports.  Ultimately, it would be rapid middle-class development that would allow Britain to dominate in the industrial revolution because the bourgeoisie would push for more rational commercial regulation and would be the class supporting the nation through expanded factory ownership in the following centuries.  This social factor, along with the aforementioned political ones, allowed the British economy to flourish when much of the continent would lag behind for as long as a century.

About Sean William Lynch
Sean William Lynch is a poet from New Jersey who was born in 1992. Lynch's first book of poems "the city of your mind" was published in 2013 by Whirlwind Press. Frank Sherlock, the poet laureate of Philadelphia, called Lynch's debut poetry book "visionary." CA Conrad claimed that the book was "marvelous!" S.W. Lynch's writing has been featured in numerous publications online and in print, including Milkfist, Poetry Quarterly, and Tincture Journal.

8 Responses to Why the “Middle Class” is Revered in Anglo-American Societies

  1. You have to admit though, during the 19th century the gap between the rich and the poor was probably at its greatest.

  2. dizzy says:

    I must say the Westminster Parliamentery System is a personal favourite alongside Socialism and, as parliamentary systems go, quite desirable. No system of government is without flaw but, sadly, we need them as the species has demonstrated Time and again it can’t be trusted to govern itself accordingly.

    The drawbacks are found in the participants, administrators. If genuinely, transparently adhered to I believe these systems should work successfully, but, it would appear corruption is endemic, hey? The arena of politics would seem populated by characters with unparalleled egos harbouring appetites and lust for power and control over their fellow man. Avarice rules the day. Everyone’s a ‘playa’.

    Just sayin’.

    Great read, Sash!

    Hope you have a great day! 💋

    • Sean Lynch says:

      Thanks for the input dizzy, however, I believe that small groups of people can coordinate and function well together without use of a government, and that perhaps if many groups of people were loosely tied together then even thousands of people who are willing and able to support a community can create a truly just society. Many people vehemently disagree with me on this, but it has been done before, and will be done again, in the future.

      • Dizzy says:

        I think that’s a great idea! It’s a beautiful, optimistic dream worthy of persueing. I’m on board. It should be plausible, possible. It’s just SO hard to get everyone on the same page, Sash. My uncles had a little hippie commune when I was a kid. That worked just like your ideas. But I’ve never seen it flourish elsewhere?

        And, I must say I AM a bit jaded as I’ve lived in a hamlet for the last 15 years that can’t get an effective community association going on because off apathy, infighting and elitism. Apparently someone was even banned from EVER participating over… wait for it… installing street lights. It almost descended into fisticuffs. The stuff of legend out here…

        Uh, yeah.

        I think it was such a hot button topic because it would have put a damper on the peeping Tom’s routine. Tom won. There are no street lights save two on the main road. No one goes out after dark, well, except Tom…

        So, no one really wants to get involved, hey? And, unfortunately, it seems you need to attend church (preferably Catholic) and vote conservative if you want to be taken seriously. Otherwise, you’re input is unwelcome. I mean, we can’t even coordinate a community garbage can?

        I’ll always be a fan of minority governments in the WPS. I think those are the best possible conditions for good, fair and moderate representation at present. 😊

        Hope you have a great day! Let me know if you get a just society up and running. I’d be there in a heartbeat. I’m just jonesing for Utopia, don’t cha know? And how!💋

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