Friday, May 24, 2013

Vending machines, people-to-people diplomacy, and Queen Victoria as "figure head"

An advertising gimmick by Coke produced a Max Fisher post (h/t FP's AfPak Daily Brief [which, for those who like corporate charts, is also WaPo, since WaPo owns FP]) that is a mash-up of "the famous [sic] McDonald's theory of conflict resolution" (cough) and dem. peace theory.

The comment thread to the Fisher post is amusing. One "grantpaten," responding to another commenter's assertion that the American Revolution and the War of 1812 'disprove' dem. peace theory, writes:
England was not a democracy [i.e. at the time of the Am. Rev.] It was a monarchy with a weak parliament. That changed under Queen Victoria, which [sic] made the monarchy a figure head [sic].
Yup, Grant. Nailed it.

3 comments:

thusbloggedanderson said...

Well, there is a point about defining "democracy." One could argue that any country that didn't allow women to vote was disenfranchising 50% of the population. Universal adult suffrage is a remarkably new thing, history-wise.

LFC said...

Yes. But what I was objecting to here was the notion that Britain in the 19th cent. moved to a system in which the monarch had *no* power over policy and was purely a figurehead. I think Victoria still had some influence over policy on particular occasions, certainly more than Elizabeth II does.

As for democracy, one would need to lay out criteria. Britain was more democratic in the late 19th cent. than in the late 18th. But women still couldn't vote and even after the Third Reform Act there was not universal male suffrage; that didn't happen until 1918 (when women over 30 were also enfranchised, if they or they spouses crossed a certain property threshold: occupying land or premises worth 5 pounds a yr. [R.K. Webb, 'Modern England' p.488].)

thusbloggedanderson said...

Agreed. Victoria was a step in that direction ... trying to think of the last monarch to do anything significant. George V was not happy about creating peers to force the Parliament Bill through, but he conceded the point.