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“Outwardly Strong but in Reality Much Weaker” – is this a fair representation of Britain after the Napoleonic Wars?

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Introduction

"Outwardly Strong but in Reality Much Weaker" - is this a fair representation of Britain after the Napoleonic Wars? To other nations Britain appeared to be the only world super power after the Napoleonic Wars but in reality was the nation, and more specifically its people, suffering? Britain's foreign policy was strong. It had a very strong navy and dealt with over sees matters with great power, but this strength seemed superficial to many Britons as a lot of the country were in a depression and many people were suffering greatly. Much of Britain's strength revolved around the Industrial Revolution. There cannot be a date set on the start or in fact the end of the Industrial Revolution but many people accept that its beginning was around 1750. The actual phrase Industrial Revolution is misleading as a revolution is an event that occurs quickly and brings around immediate change. The Industrial Revolution was a slow, gradual process. The Industrial Evolution would be a more apt name. The big expansion of Britain's industry took place after 1815. Many of the great 17th Century inventions, such as Hargreaves' spinning Jenny and Cartwright's power loom were put into practice and used on a mass scale. Before 1815 the power loom had not caught on but by 1835 England had 85000 of them in use. ...read more.

Middle

With the massive increase in industry came many problems. The housing for the workers in the factories were thrown up by the factory bosses. They were disgraceful, two-up-two-down, back-to-back terraces. There were no gardens, no sewers and no running water. Cholera was a massive killer. The dirty conditions in the cities meant that it was rife and thousands of people were killed each year. Not all factory owners treated their workers so badly though, Robert Owen who worked in Greenock built decent houses for his workers and treated them well. By 1835, 304 000 people were working in cotton factories. 28% of these were 18 years or younger and no fewer than 40% were adult females. These workers were terribly exploited. They had to work long hours in dangerous conditions. Industrial accidents became commonplace and social divisions between employers and employees became sharper. 'In the 1960s, Edward Thompson and Harold Perkin were both clear in their conclusions that the first half of the nineteenth century saw the making of a British working class which defined itself in opposition to and antagonistic, employing industrial middle class' - Evans. The war with Napoleon was now over but it had been very expensive for Britain. She was now 800 million pounds in debt and high interests had to be paid. ...read more.

Conclusion

No matter how much they were suffering they could do nothing about it because they had no one to fight the case in government. Democracy didn't affect the people. Many of the soldiers coming back from war also suffered unemployment because they didn't have any more jobs as soldiers or naval men because it was peacetime. Britain took over Ireland to prevent a two front war against Napoleon. If he had of taken Ireland Britain would have had French forces to the south and the west. 90% of the Irish population were Catholic so they were only persuaded to agree to the abolition of their parliament in Dublin by the promise of full Catholic Emancipation. However, the British government failed to keep it's promise and emancipation was not allowed to the Irish Catholics had not representation in Westminster. Therefore, in conclusion Britain did appear to be a very powerful nation in complete control but if you look deeper into the nation the people were suffering. Rich landowners who controlled the government put on a great display for the world and Britain was in fact an incredibly strong country, but I agree with the statement as Britain had serious problems with its 'working class' people that needed to be sorted quickly. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chris Williams History - Mr Evans ...read more.

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