Democracy, Technology, and the Doom's Day Prophecies: Historical Predictions of Democracy's Demise

Grogan, Ronda Vanese , Department of English, University of Virginia
Howard, Alan, Department of English, University of Virginia

Recently in the news, the topic of technology's effect on democracy has been greatly debated. Companies continually promote technology as a provider of greater accessibility, freedom, equality, and democracy. Yet when Intel released word of the capabilities of their new Pentium III processor, the nation erupted with cries of foul and fears of governmental control. This episode proved that for every pro-technology statement there exists an anti-technology position. Our predecessors started this debate between democracy and technology by continually predicting that technology would bring about democracy's demise. Either those who founded this government and have kept it functioning were wrong or democracy has ended. Or perhaps that statement sets up a false dichotomy. Unlike most doomsday prophecies, these declarations have room to be both right and wrong. America's version of democracy has those prophets knew it. It has shifted with the times to reflect and incorporate the technology everyone feared would end the nation's most protected ideal.

MA (Master of Arts)

Originally published on the XRoads site for the UVA American Studies program. Years range from 1995-2005. Content is captured at the level of functionality available on the date of capture.

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