Well Structured Class System In Britain. Essay

1874 words - 7 pages

Well-Structured Class System in BritainIn the 18th century, the British society was divided into different classes. London, one of the biggest cities in Great Britain at that time, reflects that class system with its different living conditions and privileges.At the top of London society there were aristocrats and merchants, lawyers and high civil servants. The merchants were often land owners which gave their children the opportunity to marry an aristocrat. This was a chance for them to acquire a title in their own right, like Sir George who married Olive Drome. Before his marriage he had only had a "little corner shop in a low-class district of Edinburgh". He had been "a penny-pinching Edinburgh chandler", "no more honest than he had to be". Now he is the "laird" of High Glen and has extensive powers. The merchants and the lawyers lived in the city, but they also had an estate in the countryside. This is also shown in the novel as the Jamissons have an estate in Heugh and a house in London.The male members of this class had a lot of political influence as they had the right to vote and belonged to the ruling class. They had more rights than the other classes below them. They also controlled the Bank of London. Women in this class had to raise their children and stay at home to organize the household. They heavily depended on their husbands. Between the upper and the lower class there were the craftsmen and the artisans, the social class known as "the middling sort".As long as trade was good they could live a good life, but if that was not the case they had problems although they had a right of a fixed minimum wage. They had more rights than the lower class and as they were entitled to vote they also had some influence in London politics.below these two classes there was the mass of London population: the poor. They had to find new work almost every day. They had to live in small houses with few rooms. The poor were completely dependent on the upper class. The merchants and especially the aristocrats were often only interested in their own advantages. The poor (e.g. coal miners) had to work for them and were even regarded and treated as their property. You can even say they were their slaves.At that time a lot of poor people died because of diseases (especially coal miners,), of hunger or of crime. There were also other problems in big cities. A lot of people had gambling debts (even the rich like Jay Jamisson,) and an alcohol problem. There were cock and boxing fights like Mack had one. This was often a chance to get money in a short time. Women prostituted themselves to earn some money to support themselves. In London, there was also a high crime rate. So there were a lot of public hangings. Even children like Peg could be hanged for minor offences.As British industry mainly consisted of textile, coal and steel, the poor often worked in factories or mines. In Scotland the coal miners were the property of the land owners. Although there was the...

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