The Modern Age

The Modern Age was the age when Europe extended its power over other continents. It meant many things: white rule, the power of the state, the idea of schooling, the centrality of the family. It was also the Age of the Book and the Age of Money. That is changing. One hundred and seventy- five years ago, Tocqueville saw that something truly new was beginning. Aristocratic minorities had ruled; we were in the Aristocratic Age, and now the Age of Democracy is beginning. This was a very slow passage, a co-existence of aristocracies and democracies. As time went on, the power and the prestige and even the social position of the aristocracies declined, and the power and prestige and the influence and the social democratic structure rose. Now democracy is nearly universal. As Tocqueville also said, this is not a simple theory. People thought the Age of Democracy would be much simpler than when courtiers ruled, but it is not so. What happens is less rule by the people than rule in the name of the people. The people who are doing the ruling have to be nominated and elected, which of course is very democratic. But the very structure of government and election and the actual representation of the people is very complicated.