The Fall of the British Aristocracy & Brexit: Currents of Political Discord
For centuries the British Aristocracy ruled the United Kingdom, and their position atop the social hierarchy of the British Isles was an accepted part of life.
But the tides began to change for the patrician class in the later 19th century as they were dealt three deadly blows; the Industrial Revolution, World War I and the rise of the democratic nation state. It was the aristocrat, not the capitalist, who became the scapegoat for general suffering under the new capitalist system and by the time WWI ended, not since the War of the Roses had so many of noble birth died so suddenly and so violently. Democracy and aristocracy found that they cannot co-exist easily and the patricians began to see themselves as the persecuted victims of a predatory democracy.
What can we learn from the fall of one of Britain’s oldest social and cultural institutions? Given Britain’s surprising recent vote to leave the European Union, what similarities can we draw between these two moments of tremendous upheaval and change for the British Isles? How have these two events affected and continue to affect unity of the United Kingdom? What can we learn from the British reaction to global crises and what does it imply for the future of similar Western first world democracies?