The last forty years in America have seen tremendous changes technologically and culturally. Life has become increasingly easier as machines designed to improve living standards proliferated. Communications and travel capabilities have advanced dramatically, with long distance phone calls a thing of the past. Computers and smart phones have made an infinite amount of information readily available to students who can now conduct their research from anywhere.
Socially the changes have been just as tremendous, though perhaps not always for the better. Divorce rates have skyrocketed. Children frequently massacre one another on school grounds. The income inequality gap has steadily risen. Overall, Americans are feeling less connected to one another than ever before.
One casualty of this national disillusionment is the American political system. The average citizen no longer trusts the government to do what is in the nation’s best interest. A rapidly growing number of Americans do not bother to vote. Many feel that their participation in the system will have little or no effect in the long run.
Some believe that the answer to such widespread political apathy is the internet. All major campaigns now have websites capable of accepting online donations and disseminating a candidate’s platform to millions at a time. Arizona led the way in integrating online voting and many other states are getting set to follow in its footsteps. Perhaps such online accessibility will revive public participation in the political process.
Another area of American society hoping for an overhaul from the internet revolution is social connectedness. As people pull away from their television sets and towards computer screens, which are capable of f...
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Mumford, Lewis. Technics and Human Development: The Myth of the Machine, Volume One. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: New York. 1967.
“New Life in the Old Club” from The Economist, February 26th-March 3rd 2000.
Putnam, Robert, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital” from Journal of Democracy. January 1995.
Putnam, Robert. “The Prosperous Community: Social Capital and Public Life” from American Prospect 1993.
Rosenblatt Alan J. 1999. "Lurking About in Hyde Park with the Disembody Politic." Paper presented at the 1999 APSA meeting.
Schwartz, Edward A. “Toqueville’s Democratic Prescription: ‘Self-Interest: Rightly Understood’” from Building a Community of Citizens: Civil Society in the 21st Century. Don E. Eberly, Ed. University Press Commonwealth Foundation: Landam, Md. 1994.
Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America. Mentor: New York. 1984.
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