The advent of industrialization in the early nineteenth-century had wide reaching impacts on economics, politics, society and demographics. The transition from an agrarian and feudal system of production to an industrial and capitalistic system brought about many changes to the lives of Europeans. Some of these changes include gender issues, immigration, medicine, the rise of liberal and socialist politics, and the rise of some famous political movements. In the following essay I will expand upon some of the many ramifications that industrialization brought to fruition.
Before the advent of industrialization much of European production was focused on agriculture for practical reasons. A ...view middle of the document...
The price of beef, tea and sugar had also come down, allowing many middle class families to enjoy these luxuries in their diet.
The middle class may have seen some positive changes during this time period, but the working class was not nearly as fortunate. Conditions for the working class were terrible and unsanitary. Many working class families were crowded into small apartments with dirt floors, no indoor plumbing, and their general lot in life was quite miserable. I remember our book talking about the filth from chamber pots, the mold and mildew that grew rampantly inside these dwellings, and the lack of sanitation. Their diet was also a sad tale. While the middle class could afford beef and sugar, the working class was forced to subsist mainly on bread. This lack of protein and necessary vitamins and minerals would have put them at a much higher risk for disease and malnutrition.
The division in quality of life gave rise to a set of political principles and ideologies known as liberalism. The liberal movement in thought, politics, and social constructs can be seen in popular political movements of the mid-nineteenth-century. The Charter Movement in Great Britain can be seen as an example of the liberal democratic movements. Chartism sought to obtain universal male suffrage, secret balloting, removal of a land-owning requirement for voting and pay for those elected to office. The idea behind these demands was to allow the opportunity for governance by a group of individuals that were not already entrenched and serving their own self-interests. The governing class of this time period was still the nobles and wealthy landowners who had a stake in preserving the status quo.
The Charter Movement was followed by the Corn Law movement. The Corn Laws of the 18th century can be viewed as an example of British mercantilism and they heavily favored those already wealthy and land owners. The Corn Laws provided for a tariff on wheat which was used to create the staple of the working class’s diet. When the price of bread began to rise and many were beginning to starve for the sake of the profits of the already wealthy; civil unrest began to develop. Robert Peel became Prime Minister in 1841 and his government repealed the Corn Laws in 1846. This is an example of how popular opinion, through the use of demonstrations and protests, was able to achieve a victory against an aristocratic government operating for their own interests.
Other social issues were also on the rise during this time period in European history. Women’s rights and the roles that females played in home were changing. Among the working class many women and children also went to work in the factories. The additional income from female and child labor was desperately needed by the working class. Such necessities as shelter, food and clothing were often beyond the means of a single factory worker to provide for his family. The middle class saw a different...