Lynn MacKay's thesis to her argument is that the standard of living
during the period of industrialization was closely tied to social and
political ramifications between 1780 and 1850 and contemporary opinion
concerning the impact of industrialization, and can be clearly seen
through the arguments of a number of historians.
The government of the time tried to lay back and let the period of
industrialization shape the country by withdrawing from certain roles
that they played in societal life.
q Withdrew from regulation of wages and apprenticeships in 1813.
o In 1814, Parliament repealed legislation regulating apprenticeship
o Apprenticeship regulations sought to limit and restrict the number
of people entering the trades, ultimately protecting job opportunities
q Government sought to repeal public-assistance programs
o Considered withdrawing funding to poor laws (welfare).
The withdrawals from such programs were to alleviate the problems of a
growing unemployment rate and the problems of growing tension between
q The upper class saw the lower-class unemployed citizens as immoral
and lacking work ethic.
q Believed that the poor relief system contributed to amount of
o Program was seen as a 'cushion' for lazy workers and allowed people
to slack off.
q Government did not repeal poor relief program, changes were made
Unions were made illegal by the passing of the Combination Acts as it
was seen that wages should only be determined through free marketing.
People were no longer allowed to organize to fight for better working
conditions. The act was repealed in 1824.
The Wars caused plenty of turmoil - they caused dislocations in trade
and employment. 1806 was the first all-out economic warfare that had
ever emerged, thanks to Napoleon and his Continental System -
blockading trade into continental Europe. Despite the conflicts of
War, the economy expanded to accommodate many new job positions.
Uniforms for soldiers had to be made in surplus; women and children
were hired for cheap labour being paid far less than a man doing the
same job. Two of the largest industries were dominated by cheap labour
- tailoring and shoemaking. Once this practise was established, it was
impossible to eliminate after the war was over and the hundreds of
thousands of men that returned had difficulty finding work -
furthering the unemployment problem that had been plaguing the nation
Aside from the Napoleonic Wars, many harvest crises had a detrimental
effects and social ramifications. Through a series of years of
'dearth,' bread prices skyrocketed almost immediately and the number
of people seeking poor relief increased exponentially.
The rapid economic change...