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Describe the Political, Economic and Social condition of England in the 1780s.

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Introduction

Describe the Political, Economic and Social condition of England in the 1780s In the years 1750 to 1850 Britain experienced important social, political and economic changes, partly due to the major increase in population over this time. Politically, in the 1780s, the British government had to deal with the potential threat of revolution (the French revolution occurred in 1789), the loss of the American colonies, as well as having to try to disguise the fact that the King was not in the best state of health. There was an increased demand for manufactured goods and pressures on the agriculture industry to provide enough food for the labouring population. The economy prospered in Britain as a whole, but for many individual labourers the social standards fell and there appeared an increasingly evident divide between rich and poor. The political state of Britain in the 1780s was admired across Europe and was seen as a good model for governing a country, yet only five percent of the population was able to vote, and power still lay in ownership of the land. ...read more.

Middle

This was a dangerous time for the British government as there was a threat that revolutionary ideas could spread to the public causing serious political concern and instability for George III and Pitt. The economy of Britain in the 1780s was thriving. Due to the Industrial Revolution there was a rapid increase in the demand for manufactured goods, creating new labour opportunities for many. Due to the expansion of the population, the 1780s also saw a growing demand for consumer goods, items such as cloth, pottery, and leather, which in turn led to economic prosperity for the country as a whole. The labouring population however found themselves inhabiting the slums of the cities, experiencing cramped living conditions, bad sanitisation and certainly not prosperity, which resulted due to the mass exodus from the countries to the cities in pursuit of work. Despite the industrial advances, farming was still the main source of British economy in the 1780s, however, the agricultural industry had to rely on foreign imports during this period as it could not deal with the huge demand from the ever increasing urban population. ...read more.

Conclusion

The middle classes were a group which had to earn a living, but were educated and skilled in some kind of profession, for example doctors or lawyers. They prided themselves on their hard work and moral living, particularly in comparison to the aristocracy, ideas expressed by Jeremy Bentham during this decade. Above this portion of society were the gentry, the landowners and finally the monarch, in that order. None of these groups had to work to earn a living, they generally owned land to a lesser or greater degree which they utilized in the most profitable way. In conclusion, the politics of Britain was respected yet corrupt: controlled by the upper classes and used to their own advantage. The industrial revolution was largely responsible for the economic prosperity which occurred at this time, the prosperity which led to the increase in social standards across the country. This social improvement cannot be denied or ignored; however, it must be remembered that vast numbers of the population were still exposed to poverty and hardship despite the supposedly esteemed government and the economic upturn. Victoria Savage LVI September 2003 ...read more.

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