• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Machine breaking and strike action were characteristic of unruly and undisciplined Labourers".

Extracts from this document...


"Machine breaking and strike action were characteristic of unruly and undisciplined Labourers" Violence, protest and machine breaking were all characteristic of the late 18th and early 19th century. Employers seeking to make more off less, drove down workers wages with the more widespread use of machines, such as the gig mill. After failed attempts at lawfully seeking and upholding statutes which protected the outworking system from newly mechanised 'factory' industry, where products were of a lesser quality, the workers were left with little choice but to resist with violence. This happened at a time when bad harvests had caused an acute increase in food prices, and foreign wars had damaged foreign trade. Not only did they resent this tide of cheaper, faster and less-skilled change, but also to the greater shift in change to 'Laissez-faire' capitalism which left them completely unprotected. Although the assumption that the act of deliberate wrecking of industrial machines was born with the Luddites, this is not the case, moreover the assumption that these violent outbursts were committed by the un-skilled lower class 'mob' are also untrue. This Luddite myth is one that needs addressing, as it has fallen into lore. However it can not be ignored that the violence did sometimes escalate out of control (ending in death) ...read more.


Workers clung to this statute, yet this paternalist provision was considered obsolete in this new Industrial age, the government turned its back on the renters/workers, handing over more control to the frame/factory owners in the move to a more Laissez-faire based economy. The Luddite reactions were because of this, these new economic and moral values, which essentially abandoned them in the crisis of food shortage. Their skilled work was being undermined at a very difficult time, and there was nothing they could about this gradual but overbearing wave of industrial change. The 'solicitor to General Ludd' wrote a letter to Joseph Radcliffe, the magistrate of Huddersfield, informing him that since cloth-dressers of that area had spent �7000 petitioning the government to uphold legislation against shearing frames and gig mills, and all to no purpose, then they were trying another 'method' This exact sentiment was expressed to the Home Secretary by workers in Bolton, and again all to avail. The workers had no choice, but to resist using violent force, "luddism was a last resort when other techniques had been tried and proved useless" Malcolm I. Thomis has written that he believes had there been agreements between workers and employers then there would of been "no need to resort to physical violence and illegal enterprises of Luddism" . ...read more.


Any means of trying to protect their trade by appealing to Parliament to uphold statutes that prevented the use of machines producing goods in a 'deceitful manner' proved useless, thousands of pounds were spent on petitioning Westminster, but all was futile. 'Laissez-Faire' was favoured by parliament in this burgeoning industrial age, these skilled workers were now somewhat expendable, their security in skilled work now somewhat lessened. Machine breaking and strike action were not characteristic of 'Unruly and Unskilled workers', they were the last resort they were the last resort by skilled workers desperate to hold onto their livelihood when other methods of protest had failed. Words: 2078 Leslie Clarkson "British Trade Union And Labour History: A Compendium"(Macmillan, London 1990) Andrew Charlesworth, David Gilbert, Adrian Randall et al, "An Atlas Of Industrial Protest in Britain 1750 - 1990" (Macmillan, London 1996) pg 19 Ibid pg20 Ibid pg 20 John Rule "British Trade Unionism 1750-1850 (Longman House, England 1988) pg 86 Malcolm I. Thomis "The Luddites" (David and Charles ltd Great Britain, 1970) Pg 48 Colts were workers who had not completed their 7-year apprenticeship required by law. Adrian Randall et al, "An Atlas Of Industrial Protest in Britain 1750 - 1990" Pg 32 Malcolm I. Thomis "The Luddites" pg 67 Ibid pg 67 Ibid pg 67 Ibid pg 45 Ibid pg 44 Ibid pg67 Malcolm I. Thomis "The Luddites" pg 68 http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/Luddite-History.htm ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics essays

  1. European background to the scramble for Africa (1850 to 1900)

    This was a decision of great moment. * Acting on his new instructions, de Brazza, who was again accompanied by Noel Ballay (naval doctor), reached the Gabon early in 1880. Rapidly ascending the Ogow he founded the station of France Ville on the upper waters of that river and pushed on to the Congo at Stanley Pool, where Brazzaville was subsequently founded.

  2. Where does the World Trade Organisation fit in the overall scheme of international public ...

    tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, whose reduction and removal should be the WTO's core mission. Furthermore, new WTO competition regulations would impose an implementation burden on developing countries on top of their post-Uruguay Round obligations. The last thing they need right now is a WTO obligation to set up

  1. In what ways is the government attempting to increase the willingness to wor

    The worker is happy with the wage received and is willing to work less to enjoy the lifestyle available with the wage of W2. The government's policies have been relatively successful. As there has been a reduction in unemployment in means there are more people working, therefore wages remain quite stable, but labour supply increase pushing the supply curve outwards.

  2. Is there a trade-off between prosperity and violence? If so, what is it? If ...

    warriors, capable of inflicting harm; it also requires that they be willing to retaliate, and be known to be willing to do so" (pg. 45). The threat of force is therefore crucial if order is to be maintained but there is a negative aspect to this method of protecting property.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work