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Why Britain First? That’s one of the questions we will consider this week as we look at the Industrial Revolution, which, together with the French Revolution, transformed the West (the whole world, really). Introducing men and women to “the machine,” the industrial revolution transformed the way we work and the way we live. In Britain, a new source of fuel (coal) was combined with the innovative invention, and what transpired blew the lid off of the 19th century. We, and the environment I might add, are still reeling from the effects today. But let’s start with England where the Industrial Revolution inspired not only a new way of working but, for better or worse, a new class system. There were still the very rich and the very poor (and this can be seen in the gritty writing of Englanders like Charles Dickens and Friedrich Engels), but there was also, as in the French Revolution, an emergent middle class. So we see the formation of both the working class (the proletariat) and the middle class (bourgeoisie), which according to early sociologists Karl Marx and Engels were in conflict with one another. An offshoot of this was basically a new political economy and a whole lot of relatively new -isms (capitalism, liberalism, feminism, socialism, communism, even Darwinism would play into this). Many of these were reactions to the new industrialism, (which, as you can see, I am encouraging you to think of as a twin to the French Revolution), in terms of the changes wrought on Europe and its many colonies all over the world. And many of the -isms are still alive and well. The impact on the world brought about by the industrial revolution cannot be underestimated.

How and why did the industrial revolution occur, and why did it happen in England? How did coal specifically, and fossil fuels in general, allow industrializing nations like Britain to break free from the constraints of the old ways of producing and manufacturing? How was England able to use not only its natural resources but also its colonial resources in its favor? Must be 250 words or more.

References:

Western Civilization A Brief History, vol. II Since 1600. Eleventh Edition

https://lostmuseum.cuny.edu/archive/factory-tracts…

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The First Industrial Revolution
and its Effects
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Cotton Textiles
â–ª
Late 17th century: England develops a strong desire for Indian
textiles known as calicoes
â–ª
Almost everything that used to be made of wool or silk was
supplied by the Indian trade
â–ª
Why were the English importing so much Indian cotton?
â–ª
How did it get there?
â–ª
How did they then create and industrialize their own cotton
textile industry?
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Why Indian Textiles?
▪ Higher quality and cheaper than England’s
domestically produced textiles (linen and
wool)
â–ª Better in many respects: felt good against
skin, lightweight for summer, could accept
bright dyes for colors
â–ª Most important = less expensive
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Indian Textiles
â–ª 1700: India largest exporter of cotton
textiles in the world (Europe, Southeast
Asia, Africa, Middle East in addition to
large Indian market)
â–ª India accounts for one-quarter of the
world manufacturing output in 1750
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How did Britain reverse its competitive
disadvantage?
â–ª Raised Tariffs (mercantilist
protectionism, 1707: non-importation
act)
▪ Britain also “acquired” India as a colony
as result of 7-Years War
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British “Empire Building”
â–ª
Has very little overseas empire in 1650
â–ª
Soon begins to obtain colonies from the Portuguese and Spanish
possession in the East and West Indies (India and the Caribbean),
competes with the Dutch in both regions, battles France in the 18th
Century
â–ª
Agents (at first) were not governments but chartered companies;
Dutch East India Company, English East India Company, French
East India Company
â–ª
All private companies chartered by their governments and granted
monopoly rights to trade with Asia
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The Chartered Companies (forerunners
to modern corps.)
â–ª
Formed with permanent capital and stock that could be traded
â–ª
Purpose: to reap profits from trade with Asia
â–ª
Politics and trade intermingled as did trade and war
â–ª
“TRADE CANNOT BE MAINTAINED WITHOUT WAR, NOR
WAR WITHOUT TRADE” (Dutch)
â–ª
Dutch proceed to take Melaka from the Portuguese, seize Java,
attempt to estab. a Chinese colony on Taiwan
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The British E.I.C.
â–ª
“Our business is trade, not war”
â–ª
Concentrate trade in India where Indian states weak and
European competitors few
â–ª
Begins to change in late 17th century when French establish
nearby forts
â–ª
When Brits and French war in Europe, forces clash in India, too
â–ª
French begin enlisting Indians as regulars “Sepoys”, British EIC
follows suit
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Meanwhile, in the Great Mughal Empire
â–ª
Military and political power seriously decline
â–ª
Too weak to resist British
â–ª
1765: Britain defeats French-assisted Mughal forces in Bengal,
wins the right to collect tax revenue in Bengal
â–ª
1760, British defeat French in India in 1760, extent of Brit control
widens over the next five years
â–ª
Entire subcontinent becomes a formal colony in 1857
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The Seven Years’ War and Brit Textile
Production
â–ª British victory in Americas and India in War
relates to how Britain became a textile
producing country rather than an importer
â–ª 1707: Brit bans importation of Indian
textiles
â–ª Allows domestic industry to get going
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The Seven Years’ War and British Textile
Production
â–ª But because of technical difficulties (copying
Indian dying techniques, relatively high wages),
Lancashire produces mainly for British home
market
â–ª Britain needed export markets to grow
â–ª Growing market in new world because of
slavery, plantations, and mercantilist trade
restrictions
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The New World
▪ Plantation labor problem “solved” African
Slaves
â–ª Slaves nor plantation owners did not grow
substantial amount of food, had to be
imported from North American Colonies
â–ª Also create a demand for cheap cotton
textiles
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Establishing Lancashire as a Textile
Center
â–ª All of this fuels the growth of English shipping
and estabs.Lancashire as a center of cotton
textile manufacture
â–ª At first, raw cotton imported from Ottoman
Empire (Levant) and Brit possessions in the
Carib.
â–ª Lancashire producers becoming more efficient,
selling to Africa
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The New World
â–ª
Big boom in British cotton textile production comes after
American independence with the 1793 invention of the cotton
gin, results in much cheaper American cotton
â–ª
Results in even lower Lancashire prices and the ability to
outcompete Indian textiles on the world market
â–ª
The British captured the market that Indian producers had
created
â–ª
British then become advocates of “free trade” (takes over from
mercantilism)
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The Contingencies of British Success
â–ª
The “Glorious Revolution” of 1688-89 brought a government to
power willing to use state power to protect domestic
manufactures
â–ª
New World developed as a peculiar periphery that by accident of
the Great Dying and colonial legislation provided a market for
Brit manufactured goods
â–ª
Britain fortunate to develop a coal-fueled steam engine that
further revolutionized cotton production
â–ª
Brits could also undersell in Africa, and even India
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New Sources of Energy and Power
â–ª Until 1830, story of cotton production develops
under the restrictions of the biological old regime
â–ª Early British factories had begun to use water
power but there was also a limit to how much
more cotton production could develop
â–ª Had it not been for coal, the steam engine, and
iron and steel production, no Industrial Revolution
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England
â–ª The energy crisis affected England, folks turning
to coal for heat and cooking
â–ª London (1700) 500,000
â–ª Netherlands has crisis, but has only peat as a
substitute for wood
â–ª In 18th century England, coal also used for
industrial purposes (to make fertilizer, brewing,
glassmaking)
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England
â–ª By early 19th Century, iron manufactures
use coal instead of scarce charcoal
▪ Conjuncture of “the steam engine” and “the
use of coal in manufacturing” two key
elements in the new energy complex
â–ª Combination put England on the verge of a
leap into the “industrial age” but why?
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Reasons for Britain’s Breakthrough
▪ Its “peculiar” periphery in the new world
â–ª Slavery, mercantilist colonial legislation, expansion of
cotton plantations in U.S. South after independence
provide large market for British cotton textiles,
stimulate growth of entire industry
â–ª New World slavery not only kept the demand for
cotton textiles high it also supplied the raw cotton
cheaply
â–ª British colonies and textiles went together
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Why England?
â–ª Raw materials: Coal and iron
â–ª Transportation system: rivers, canals, toll roads
â–ª Labor Supply: provided by Enclosure
â–ª Capital: wealthy landowners and merchants
â–ª Colonies: supplied other raw materials, i.e. cotton
â–ª Expanding markets
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Why England?
â–ª Cultural traditions/Protestantism
â–ª Individualism rooted in the Renaissance,
Reformation
â–ª Tradition of reason: Rational understanding
and control of nature: rooted in the Scientific
Revolution
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Technological Advancements in Textile
Production
â–ª 1733: Flying shuttle: weavers able to
produce faster than spinners spin
â–ª Britain leads in cotton production
(grows 20x between 1760-1825)
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Britain’s Cotton Textile Exports
â–ª By 1840, Britain exporting 200
million yards of cotton textiles to
other European countries
â–ª 529 million yards to Asia, Africa,
and the Americas (excluding the
U.S.)
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British Textiles and India
â–ª India: in the 1800s Britain began exporting
cotton textiles to its new colonial
possession, 145 million yards by 1840
â–ª With steam power, Lancashire could
increase output, lower costs, and
outcompete Indian cotton. Leading to “the
deindustrialization of India.”
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Coal, Iron, and Steam
â–ª Textiles alone would not have led to an industrial
revolution
â–ª What cotton textiles did: created a new class of
industrial workers, created factories
â–ª For the industrial revolution to happen, whole new
source of power was needed: coal-fired steam power
â–ª Most of this story is unique to England
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England’s Problem in Mining Coal
â–ª Getting water out of the coal mines
â–ª Leads to patent on first steam engine
(Thomas Savery)
â–ª 1712, Thomas Newcomen improves
â–ª 1760s James Watt further improves
â–ª Between 1712 and 1800, 2,500
contraptions built, almost all used at
coal mines
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The First Steam Engine Railway
â–ª Important development: using steam
engine not just to pump water out of
coal mines but also to move vehicles
above the ground
â–ª The Real Breakthrough
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1785: power loom
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1768:
Spinning
Jenny: allows
operator to
work several
spindles at
once
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1773: water
frame spinning
machine (water
and animal
power)
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Cotton gin
(1793) growth
of
slavery/expansi
on of plantation
agriculture
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Development of the factory system
â–ª Water frame makes it more efficient to bring
workers together rather than produce from
home (putting out system)
â–ª Causes town to spring up near rivers where
waterpower is possible
â–ª Thus, workers and families could live close to
the factories
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Technological and Workplace
advancements
â–ª Steam engine (1760s): power loom powered by
steam could produce 7x as much cloth as hand loom
â–ª Factories no longer need to be located near water
â–ª Weaker, younger, less skilled workers could be taught
to tend the machine
â–ª Employment of women and children in factories
becomes possible and profitable
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Growth
â–ª 1780s, perfection of the production of wrought
iron
â–ª Iron industry demands more coal for furnaces
â–ª Steam engines make possible more efficient
mining (pump water from deeper mines)
â–ª Greater productivity in coal makes possible
growth of iron industry/growth of iron industry
requires more coal
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Social effects
â–ª Innovations in agricultural production, business
organization, technology transform society
â–ª People drawn from countryside (or thrown out due to
enclosure) to cities
â–ª Traditional ways of life change
â–ª Much stays the same (land still principal form of
wealth, translates to political power)
â–ª England much more urban than rest of Europe
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Social effects
â–ª Growth of cities
â–ª Little planning = poor sanitation = poor
lighting = little security
â–ª Poor live in houses as close to factory as
possible
â–ª In Britain, 26 out of every 100 children die
before the age of 5
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Changes in social structure
â–ª Growth of industry causes growth of the bourgeoisie
(wealthy people of common birth)
â–ª Bankers, factory owners, merchants, lawyers,
doctors, shop owners
â–ª Wealthy members tend to imitate the aristocracy
(development of a class system)
â–ª Industrialization sharpens the distinction between
middle class and working class
â–ª Factory workers newest and fastest growing group
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Distinctions in the laboring classes
â–ª Artisans (largest group in the cities, first half of 19th
century): construction, printing, tailoring and
dressmaking, crafts production
â–ª Technical skills acquired in guilds
â–ª Educated (generally could read and write)
â–ª Threatened by a competitive factory system,
increasingly deskilled
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Distinctions in the laboring classes
â–ª Servants, more servants than factory workers in the
first half of the 19th century
â–ª Factory workers: usually fresh from the countryside
â–ª Frequently move to city without their families until
they could afford to support them
â–ª Long hours (up to 15 a day)
â–ª Factory work more oppressive than farm work
â–ª Whole family working could bring about better
standard of living
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Factory System
â–ª Factory owner provides financial capital
(building, machinery, raw materials)
â–ª Worker submit to factory discipline (work
conditions determined by the smooth
operation of machinery)
â–ª Workers have no direct say over the quality of
the product or its price
â–ª This is the process of proletarianization
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Urban artisans and proletarianization
â–ª Artisans experience the process more slowly than
factory workers
â–ª Livelihoods threatened not by existence of factories
but organization of production
▪ Masters, journeymen, apprentices – Guild System
â–ª Master owned the workshop; others owned their tools
â–ª Journeyman could expect to become a master
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Artisans and the Process of
Proletarianization
â–ª Masters begin to follow a practice whereby goods
produced in standard sizes and styles rather than by
individual order
â–ª Practice increased the division of labor in workshop
â–ª Less skill required and skills become less valuable
â–ª Dilution of skills make it more difficult for urban
journeymen to become masters
â–ª Increasingly, artisans became lifetime wage laborers
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The process of proletarianization
â–ª Workers enter into a wage economy
â–ª Lost significant ownership of the means of
production (tools, equipment)
â–ª Lose control over the conduct of their own
trade
â–ª Process occurs wherever a factory system
comes into play
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Women in the early industrial revolution
â–ª
Industrial economy took virtually all productive work out of the
home
â–ª
Women came to be associated with domestic duties and men
almost exclusively with breadwinning
â–ª
Previously this applied only to middle and upper classes
â–ª
Industrialization creates new employment for women outside
home; women can earn enough money to marry or support
themselves independently
â–ª
Industrialism lowered the skills required of women
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Women in the early industrial revolution
â–ª
Industrial Revolution begins with textiles: women’s labor
involved from the start
â–ª
Spinning and weaving: in the home, women involved in all
stages of production (then moves to putting out system)
â–ª
When activities move into factories, men displace women
â–ª
Next generation: women become factory workers, less skill
required, most are young, single, widowed
â–ª
Why not married women? Pregnancy, involvement of husband,
duties of child rearing
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Status of women in the 19th century
▪ Legal identities subsumed into their husband’s or
father’s; no independent standing before the law
â–ª Did not possess their own wages; could not own
property; sign a contract
â–ª Legal codes require wives to obey husbands; divorce
very difficult; husband’s authority over children
â–ª Less access to education than men
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Attempts at Reform
â–ª Trade unions
â–ª Strikes rarely successful
▪ Seen as an attack on business man’s
right to carry on trade
▪ Leads to workers’ bids for political
power
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Grasping for political power
â–ª Beginning of 19th Century: Constitutional monarchy
dominated by landed aristocrats
â–ª Control both the House of Lords and House of
Commons (through patronage)
â–ª Most of middle class and all of laboring classes
cannot vote
â–ª Corrupt city governments
â–ª New industrial towns not allowed to elect members of
parliament
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The upper classes
â–ª Social separation of noble and commoner not as rigid
as on European continent
â–ª Primogeniture: (1st born male inherits wealth)
therefore, younger sons make careers in law, military,
church
â–ª Wealthiest merchants buy land, titles, husbands with
titles
â–ª System dominated by aristocratic interests and
values
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reforms
â–ª 1828: Parliament repeals law barring
non-conformists (to Anglican Church)
from government positions
â–ª 1829: Catholics can sit in Parliament
â–ª 1833: slavery abolished in British
Empire
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Getting the Vote
â–ª Reform Bill of 1832: House of Commons passes bill
expanding the vote (2x what was then allowed).
House of Lords refuses to pass it.
â–ª Riots and strikes in many cities of workers and middle
class
▪ Pressure from the King assures bill’s passage. Vote
extended to middle class (high property
qualifications)
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The Factory Acts
â–ª Factory Act of 1833: no child under 13 can work more
than nine hours a day; no one aged 13 to 18 can
work more than 69 hours a week. Children under 10
banned from mine work.
â–ª Factory Act of 1837: boys under 18 and women can
work no more than 10 hours a day in factories.
â–ª Initially workers resent these rules because they
decrease family income
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The “Chartist” (the charter is the vote)
Reform Movement
â–ª Driven by intellectual radicals and workers seeking
political reforms in the 1830s and 1840s
â–ª Agitate for universal manhood suffrage, secret ballot,
abolition of property qualifications for members of
Parliament, annual meeting of Parliament
▪ Mass demonstration in 1848 – the “People’s Charter”
– 2 million signatures, movement dies out
▪ Chartist platform remains “the” reform program for the
rest of the century
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Reforms in Education
â–ª Education managed by private individual and church
orgs at beginning of century
â–ª Schools financed through contributions, fees, grants
(government not involved)
â–ª Government officials fear that education of the poor
would lead to unrest, agitation, protest, challenges to
authority, questioning rank in society
â–ª Many citizens favor school for the poor
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Reforms in Education
â–ª 1833: Parliament begins small allocations for
education (inadequate)
â–ª 1869: about half of children attend school
â–ª Education Act of 1870: gives local
governments power to estab. Schools
â–ª By 1891: Schools free and attendance
required
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Trade Unions
▪ “Combination Acts” of 1799-1800:
unions made illegal
â–ª 1825: workers allowed to form unions
but not to strike
â–ª Strikes illegal until 1875
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Liberalism (influenced by Adam Smith)
â–ª Liberals maintain that a free economy unimpeded by
govt. regulations is as important as political freedom
to well being of individual and society
â–ª Self-interest works to the benefit of the entire society
(competition)
â–ª Govt. should not block commerce, nor should it
deprive individuals of their property
â–ª The poor were responsible for their own misfortune;
opposed humanitarian legislation
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Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)
â–ª Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)
â–ª Supports laissez-faire economics
â–ª Population grows at a faster rate than the food supply
â–ª Govt. programs to aid the poor and provide higher
wages would bring about larger families and
perpetuate poverty
â–ª Poverty is not the fault of factory owners. It is the
result of population pressure on resources.
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Thomas Malthus
â–ª Poverty cannot be eliminated by state
policies
▪ “the means of redress are in their own
hands” (the impoverished)
â–ª Solution: lowering the birth rate through
late marriages and abstinence
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David Ricardo (1772-1823)
â–ª Wages tend to remain at minimum needed to sustain
workers
â–ª Higher wages encourage workers to have more
children, causing an increase in the labor supply
â–ª Greater competition for jobs will tend to force wages
down
â–ª This is the new science of economics
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The Liberal Attitude
â–ª See poverty and suffering as part of the
natural order and out of the hands of
government
â–ª Fear that state intervention into this area
would disrupt the market and threaten
personal liberty
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Early Socialism and the Socialist
Critique
â–ª Liberal ideals protect the person and property of the
wealthy and leave the majority in poverty.
â–ª Laissez-Faire degenerates into selfish egoism, harms
community life (according to socialists)
â–ª Want new society based on cooperation rather than
competition
â–ª Like the Enlightenment, French Revolution, maintain
that people can create a better world; future utopia
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Saint-Simon (1760-1825)
â–ª Noble who renounced his title in the French Revolution
â–ª Mission: to convince others that advancements in science
and industry could shape a new future
â–ª Scientific knowledge, like Christianity, could bind society
together
â–ª Scientists, artists, writers, bankers, industrialists will
harness technology for the betterment of humanity
â–ª Vision of a scientifically organized society
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Charles Fourier, (1772-1837)
â–ª
Realizes that the present society and the natural needs of
human beings are irreconcilable and responsible for human
misery
â–ª
Wants to reorganize society into small communities that would
provide a more pleasant life
â–ª
“Phalansteries”—communities of about 1600 people that would
be organized to suit the needs of human nature
â–ª
People work at things that interest them and produce pleasure
for them and for others (this is also referred to as Utopian
Socialism)
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Fourier
â–ª Trying to combat the boredom and alienation that
result from specialization (factory work)
â–ª In phalansteries, money and goods would not be
distributed equally but special skills and more
responsibilities would be rewarded accordingly
â–ª Opposed to monogamy, marriage, which narrowed
lives to family instead of community
▪ By 1840, 29 communities founded on Fourier’s
principles in the U.S.
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Robert Owen, (1771-1858)
â–ª Scottish, mill owner, distressed by mistreatment of
workers
â–ª Wants to show that it is possible to treat workers well
without destroying profits
â–ª Raises wages, upgrades working conditions, refuses
to hire kids under 10
â–ª Provides workers with homes near mill, reasonably
priced food and clothing
â–ª Sets up schools for children and adults
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Robert Owen
â–ª Environment shapes character
â–ª Bad living conditions produce ignorance, crime,
alcoholism
â–ª Public education and factory reform would make
better citizens of the poor
â–ª Wants new system based on harmonious living
instead of competition
â–ª Wants to prove that healthier, happier workers are
more productive
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Marxist critique of the industrial order
Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels
(1820-1895)
Engels writes: “The Condition of the Working
Class in England” (1845)
Presents a devastating picture of industrial life
They adopt the name communism because it
implies the abolition of private property
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Marxist Critique of the Industrial Order
Human history must be understood rationally
(enlightenment thinkers)
Basic productive process determines the
structures, values, and ideas of a society
Organization of the means of production always
involves a conflict between the classes who
own and the classes who work for them
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Marxist critique
â–ª This necessary conflict provides the engine for
historical development (what exists is not accidental
but the product of history and class struggle)
â–ª Only a radical social transformation, not piecemeal
reforms, can eliminate social and economic evils
inherent in the structures of production
â–ª Revolution is the inevitable outcome of capitalism
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Marxist critique
â–ª 19th century: class conflict is between the bourgeoisie
and the proletariat
â–ª Character of capitalism ensures the sharpening of the
struggle
â–ª Capitalist production would steadily increase the size
of the unpropertied proletariat
â–ª Analysis conditioned by the unemployment and
deprivation of the 1840s
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Reflections on the industrial Revolution
â–ª At start of 19th century, 20 percent of Britain,
France, Holland, lived in cities (population
predominantly rural)
â–ª Artisan manufacturing == foundation of the
urban economy; textile manufacturing through
the putting out system
â–ª Richest most powerful class was the
aristocracy
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Reflections on the Industrial Revolution
â–ª With industrial revolution countryside and
villages eclipsed by cities and factories
â–ª Aristocratic power declines; bourgeoisie
increase in number and power (talent
increasingly becoming more important than
birth)
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Reflections on the Industrial Revolution
â–ª Premodern social institutions remain entrenched in
southern and eastern Europe well into 20th Century
â–ª Makes possible the highest standard of living in
history
â–ª Widens the gap between the West and the rest of the
world in terms of science and technology
â–ª By 1900, Western states extend their power over
virtually the whole globe
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Making Connections: The French
Revolution and the Industrial Revolution
â–ª French Revolution gave the bourgeoisie political power;
Industrial Revolution gave them economic power
â–ª French Revolution and Industrial Revolution undermined
traditional power structure by advocating rational and
secular outlook of the Enlightenment
â–ª Both political and Industrial Revolutions are force for
democratization (first the bourgeoisie then working class
get vote in 19th century)
Adam Smith
THE DIVISION OF LABOR
The greatest improvement in the productive
powers of Labour, and the greater skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it i~ anywhere
directed, or applied, seem to .!:lave been the effeets of the diyision of labour..).
This gt-eat .i~~~~~~e of the quantity of work,
which, in consequence o:l?~ti:r’~Ivision of
labour, the same number of people are capable
of performing, A$, owing to three ,different dr~
cumsrances.;jirst, .to the in.sreas~ o{de~terj.ty in
every particular workman;, secondiy, ‘to ,the saving of -the time, wbi~h is commonly J9;st iri
passiqS-:frqrn one species of work to’ anof4er;
aiia~~t.ly: to the inventio~
a great miriiber
of riiachines which facili~~~e ,AI:tq, 3:9ridge
labour, and enable on~ man to do the work of
many….
To take an example, therefore, from a v.ery
trifling manufacture; but one in whicJ:l the division of labour has been very often taken notice of, the trade of the pin-maker; a workman
not educated to this business (which the divi~ion of labour has rendered a distinct trade),
nor acquainted with the use of the machinery
employed in,ic(to.. the invention of which the
same divIsion of labour has probably given occasion), could scarce, perhaps, with his utmost
industry, make one pin in a day, and certainly
cou,ld not make twenty. But in the way in
which this business is now carried on, not only
of
the whole work is a:pe
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