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

Historical Interpretation of Economic-Social Change

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

ASSIGNMENT 3 Historical Interpretation of Economic-Social Change The problem when looking at historical interpretations of economic-social change is that it is very difficult for the historian to comment without any of his or her personal political bias, it is for this reason that both sides of the standard of living debate must be looked at side by side. Historians commenting on the standard of living debate can be classified into two categories, the 'pessimists' who believe that the conditions for the working classes deteriorated, and the 'optimists' who hold the view that conditions improved with industrialisation. Historians when writing about the standard of living debate, attempt to explain the winners and losers of industrialisation by their own interpretation of evidence, as the study of the English working class has always been a politically biased subject. A pessimistic observer of Industrial Manchester was Friedrich Engels who wrote The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. This primary source is valuable, as Engels' father owned the factory in Manchester, which Engels had been sent to manage. Engels therefore had real experience of life in the city and his father's factory, and wrote with a social conscience. ...read more.

Middle

Clapham argues that welfare estimates are based on the earning of the principal breadwinner and that the Industrial revolution "provided opportunities for relatively considerable family earnings" (J.H. Clapham (1938) An Economic History of Britain). There is little reliable data that can be used to in evidence in the standard of living debate; birth and death rates are inaccurate as not all were registered. When using food consumption and diet statistics to debate the standard of living, R.M.Hartwell another optimistic historian uses wheat and bread prices as an argument for optimism as the prices fell after 1815 and were then relatively stable, he says that this suggests no long term shortage of wheat and flour. On the other hand though E.J.Hobsbawn a pessimist believes that wheat production and imports did not keep pace with population growth, illustrating the lack of firm evidence when debating the standard of living. Hartwell states that the wealth and opportunities created by industrialisation should not be ignored, and that there are misconceptions about agricultural life before the industrial revolution. He also notes that child labour was not a new concept and warns about "the myth of the golden age", when looking at the standard of living debate. ...read more.

Conclusion

He published Hard Times in 1854 and in this novel, comments on the conditions of the working class in an industrialised town. He illustrates the unfairness of the factory system, the hard working labourers who are little rewarded for their efforts whilst the factory manager lives in the lap of luxury. Whilst Elliot looks back at an earlier time of close knit village life contrasted with the new industrial town, Dickens uses his writing for a moral and social purpose. Elizabeth Gaskell published North and South, which is set in Industrial Manchester shortly after the publication of Hard Times. Unlike Elliot Gaskell recognises the ugliness of industrialisation but also recognises that in the agricultural village of Helstone, the inevitable changes that time has brought to the village force the reader to recognise that the unchanging idyllic memory of the village is reminiscence and not a reality in which people live. As with the novels written around the time of the Industrial Revolution, historical interpretations cannot be separated from the political viewpoint of the writer. Both sides of the debate, for their own cause, can interpret statistics used as evidence with a different approach. It is impossible for a writer to comment without his or her personal bias, experience or social background influencing their work. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology 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 GCSE Sociology essays

  1. The cannabis debate

    Utilitarianism works on the basis of doing what is best for the greatest number of people involved. This includes working for the well being of the majority - even if it is not of advantage to yourself and accepting that it is ok to gain from your actions if it helps more people.

  2. Assess the nature-nurture debate in relation to genders

    importance in Freud's theory of sexual development whereby the child must identify with the same sex parent. Thus, the process of forming a gender identity and becoming sex typed, begins with the child's discovery of the genital differences between the sexes and ends with the child identification with the same sex parent.

  1. The Emergence of the Working Class through The Industrial Revolution, 1750-1914, in Europe, UK ...

    Also the joy of seeing something one produced lovingly from scratch has now been lost and production line workers are unable to identify with the item they are producing and thus the factor of job satisfaction is reduced and replaced with an exploited, alienated workforce.

  2. Primary Sources and Social Change in the industrial revolution

    and but in the factory system workers were ruled by the dictates of the machinery and the factory owners. We can look at a primary source which shows the working hours and conditions for a child in a factory in the late 1700's.

  1. COMPARATIVE SOCIAL WELFARE

    Sweden as a Social Democratic State (Epsing Anderson) provides social protection on an more equal basis compared to the UK, as it provides to citizens regardless of age, status and income, the state does not wait until their citizens have exhausted all means before intervention. As the key element on the provision of welfare services is universalistic, provided

  2. The Cherry Orchard is pessimistic in its analysis of social transition.

    Yasha is unashamed to approach Madame Ranevsky for a favour to take him to Paris if she returns, which is definitely not what a servant would ask of his employer (Chekhov, 36). Lopakhin is a "self-made man, a harbinger of death to the old regime[H6]" (Brown and Gupta, 36)

  1. Prostitution: Prohibit or Legalize? Both Sides of the Debate

    Should he try to take it by force, that would be harassment, and a violation. In commercial prostitution, neither party is using sex for a socially acceptable end, one is looking for pleasure, the other for money (Davis, 1979: 235).

  2. Philosophies of Social Science.

    Hence, science developed on the principle that 'truth', even 'facts', could be made known by the individual scientist and his powers of rational thought and careful observation. In Descartes' famous dictum, 'I think, therefore I am'.3 Central in much early 'social science' in England, certainly in 18th and 19th century economics, was the concept of the 'abstract individual'.

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