Author: Devan W. Eastman-Pittam
In this week’s blog post I will go over a certain premise made by Joseph Priestly wherein according to what was talked about in “The Invention of Air”, governments should fear electrical machines and air pumps (Priestly , Epigraph). Some of the reasons that were listed by Priestly include the talks of how parliament did not evolve based on changing populations to meet the needs of the people. For example in the 1700’s Birmingham did not have a seat in parliament even though it was the fourth largest city in the nation during that period. (Priestly, p. 86) Thus while technology moved on in the rapidly advancing country where “They were creating immense wealth and technological supremacy without a single parliamentary seat.” Parliament was basing representation by maps from the 1300’s causing massive disconnect between the people and the far away government similar to the way the colonies were experiencing life under “Taxation without Representation”. According to “The Invention of Air” “That economic and geographic situation instilled a deep seated opposition to the archaic situation of the British Establishment” and the fact that Parliament was a highly religious establishment causing even more of a disconnect when the average people see violent and fundamental changes in how the world is viewed after acquiring the information from scientific advancements causing God or religion as the only answer to how the world works to be insufficient.
I would also argue that as technology evolved the Parliament who were slow to change were swept in the dust and could very realistically have been overthrown if the people decided so due to the new and overpowering technology produced not by the government but by the people which was a very real and meaningful threat.