Barricades and Borders Summary

Chapters six, seven, eight and nine of Barricades and Borders: Europe 1800-1914 discuss among other things expansion of a global market, nationality and unification of countries, revolutions in Europe and socio-cultural changes in 1850 to 1880. These chapters begin by explaining how abolishment of rural industries contributed to the rise of large scale industries, and how rural emigrants eventually settled around these industries. Urbanization was not uniform in Europe, with Western Europe recording rapid urbanization as compared to Eastern European countries.  In effect, rural-urban migration intensified. At the same time, more prominent social classes emerged in urban centers that comprised of people in the extreme sides of social ladder. The very wealthy formed the upper class while the poor industrial workers occupied the lowest classes.  Among the bourgeoisie were Jewish communities in Europe who established wealthy coteries made of close family members. The book notes that the bourgeoisie were more committed to reading newspapers and magazines that engaging in political affairs. Why do you think the upper class in Europe refrained from political matters?