It was the year 2008. Exactly 833 days prior to the writing of this essay, Barack Obama was elected to be the 44th president of the United States of America. The road that lay ahead of this relatively young, but undoubtedly brilliant politician was laden with pot-holes, cracks, and unpaved areas. He faced the repercussions of an economic meltdown, two foreign wars against an unidentifiable enemy, and dismal education system. It can be said that political change was eminent, with the several new faces on Capital Hill and a resounding cry of ‘Hope’ among the nations’ voters.
But at the same time, it could also be said that technologic landscape was changing as well. Social media, cell phones, cable television, and the internet would have been words of tomfoolery to anyone before the 1990’s. And yet, only 2 decades later all of the items listed above play a major role in the domestic and international political landscape. Never before this time period would you have seen so many voters influenced by presidential candidates’ appearances on ‘Saturday Night Live’, or a mass riot in Egypt organized by Twitter.
The examples of change during our current time period and several others from the past have lead me to believe that neither political or technological change are ever more important than the other, but instead each have a direct influence on one another that drives change to occur in general. The middle of the 20th century has been marked as a time of great triumph for the United States. The country was finally being recognized as a modern day heavyweight on the international scene.
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Emerging relatively healthy from the Great Depression as well as two World Wars, it seemed that their was truly one worry on the minds of the American Citizens: The Rise of Communism. The tensions between the US and Eastern Europe and Asia were consistently on the rise. Our leaders did everything they could to warn their people about the dangers of that type of government and how the country could show the world what the power of a democracy could accomplish. They heavily encouraged scientific and medical advances, an increase in free enterprise, a movement for improved technology, as well as artistic and philosophical ideas.
The results received were unbelievable, between the development of nuclear weaponry and advances in space exploration, the introduction of rock and roll, discovery of DNA, a cure for polio, and launch of nationwide television service, this time period may easily have been one of the greatest advances in technology in the history of mankind, but the forces that drove these events to occur had steep political backings, showing that although equal in importance, each could play a direct role on one-another.
Now that examples have been given of important technological change affecting politics and vice-versa, it is time to take a closer look at the time period in question: the turn of the 19th century. It had been 36 years since the establishment of the United States and 11 since the new government had been put in place. Although this new government did have some kinks to work out, with some larger problems coming in the future, the vast majority the system did not require change.
In the worlds of science, medicine, architecture, etc. , while some advances such as bi-focals, steam engines, and spinning jennys, there was not necessarily an introduction that dramatically changed everyday functions of the citizens of the United States. Therefore, the time period of the early 1800’s, although important, should be marked as somewhat of a stalemate in terms of change. It marked a time in which a country was trying to establish itself among other world powers, a country attempting to survive its infancy.
A lot can be said about the concept of change. It can be viewed in both positive and negative light. In terms of political and technological change, it should be said that, no matter positive or negative, they consistently show a correlation between each-other. Major technological change can play an equally important role in how political change can occur, while important political change can play a major role in determining technological change, they both play an equally important part.
Looking back through history, examples can be made of Egyptian Pharaohs forcing their people to make technological advances to build ancient temples, cities, and monuments. Also, advances made in travel during the later half of the 2nd millennium forced leaders of major powers to begin interacting on a more regular basis. No matter the time period, these two sections of possible change will never have one show more importance than the other. As citizens, we should always be looking to make the right decisions and holding the correct beliefs, because change is inevitable, but growth is optional.
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