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Since the late 17th century  has been a government of elites of wealth and power, divided between landed and commercial/manufacturing interests. It wasn't until the second half of the 19th century that the opinions of actual shopkeepers even really mattered. They were too far down the hierarchy and the elites were too good at getting what they wanted from the electorate, such as it was with the very limited voting franschise. As the franchise broadened the elites simply stepped up their game to stay ahead.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2015 at 01:58:17 PM EST
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