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Analysis Of Chapter 1, "Society And Economic Life" ( Martin Daunton) From The "Short Oxford History Of The British Isles The Nineteenth Nentury", Edited By Colin Matthew.

1013 words - 4 pages

I will be analysing the written work of Martin Daunton and will highlight the changes that happened in Britain between the years 1800-1900.The century can be divided equally from 1800-1850 as a transitional time and a time of uncertainty about the economy and 1851-1900 as a stable economy takes hold and new levels of prosperity are experienced. I will finish with a conclusion on the effects of these events on the country.Martin Daunton tells us of a country that within the Victorian period was in the process of great change, of new farming practices and labour methods, that on the surface seemed to be driving forward a new thriving economy, was, with it success, causing other problems in the economy and livelihood of the people, such as the demands on the farming industry to produce more food for the growing population. This was a time of great pride and joy in Great Britain evident with the Great Exhibition 1851 and its marvelling at the industrial achievements and might over other nations at this time. It was also a time of great hardship for a lot of people in the fast emerging large towns and cities which grew at an ever increasing rate throughout this period in the biggest demographic swing ever seen, shown by the 1851 census, as people had moved from a rural to an urban environment. The rapid change in the population could have caused problems in the food supplies chain, as more people moved from farming to industrial activities, but this was avoided by a careful balance of the economy and by the changes in farming practices. This was the time that saw the beginnings of a credit based consumer society start to emerge, as the concept of trust in the forms of bills of exchange was started. There were also great improvements and investments in this period in the internal structures of manufacturing and the transport network to allow better and more economically stable movement of the supplies and goods produced, allowing in turn for prices to stabilise as costs became consistent and regularised. Better working practices as witnessed by Adam Smiths 'Division of Labour' principle brought about a more streamlined and efficient method of working and gave rise to specialist workers and even areas of the country that had one specific skill or production of a commodity within a community.In the early half of the century, monetary policies were instigated, that while at the time caused concerns with individual banks over its ability to issue paper money by the linking of this money to the gold standard, would by the second half of the century, by limiting financiers and monopolists from exploiting the monetary system by placing stricter controls on supplies of money and credit, lead to a strong economy, reasonably immune from the 'crashes', that had happened three times in the early part of the century. This meant that a mood of pessimism that had been felt in the first half of the century had been overtaken...

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