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

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Introduction

The Emergence if the Working Class through The Industrial Revolution, 1750-1914, in Europe, UK and USA. During the period 1750-1914 Britain, Europe and the United States went through dramatic economic changes and transformations with many comparisons and contrasts throughout the three regions. The emergence of the working class is said to have been a direct result of these changes. The Industrial revolution, 1750 to 1914, has an enormously important part to play in the emergence of the working class and to understand properly its significance one must look back to a pre-industrialised society and thus identify the astronomic differences in the way people worked/survived. Before this Industrial Revolution occurred Britain along with the US and Europe were all largely agricultural, citizens would only farm and manufacture on a very small scale, doing so merely to provide for the family (domestic consumption). During this early period there was no such thing as factory work or mass production, whatever was needed be it pots, tools, clothes etc would all be made in the home. As far as population statistics are concerned only 15% of the population in England, during 1750, inhabited small towns/cities, which was echoed in the US and Europe. ...read more.

Middle

As mass production became more and more specialised employers (owners of means of production) demanded much more from their workforce, and were expected to work longer hours etc. Employers wished a disciplined and efficient workforce in order to gain the highest profit possible. The gap between employee and employer widened. "To make such machines of the men as cannot err." (Josiah Wedgewoods, page 162 "The Forging of the Modern State") This was the aim Josiah Wedgewoods, a factory owner. He adopted a rather strict tone towards his workforce giving fines for discrepancies in time keeping, poor standards of work, drunkenness and excessive talking, Wedgewoods also introduced the concept of the clock-in machine to monitor timekeeping. These new ideas proved to be very successful deterrents, however other factors such as the dramatic population increase may have aided the adherence to such strict rules. The population of England during the period 1750 to 1850 saw an unimaginable 120% increase, thus there was a huge number of potential workforce, so if you had a job you valued it and kept to the rules as the workers knew they could easily be replaced. ...read more.

Conclusion

They therefore continued in the States with the same working class jobs and with the same working class norms and values as they had in their native countries and so fought for the same rights, setting off a chain reaction and the wide spread of class-consciousness. Thus Trade Unions emerged and Americans were given the right to join them in 1842, however they took off much slower than they had done in Britain and Europe. The American working class were a lot less militant than the working class of Britain and Europe, however their trade unions seemed to be much more effective in protecting its members and there was a lot less exploitation. In conclusion it is evident that the industrial revolution is largely responsible for the emergence of the working class, through the widespread exploitation in factories through capitalist ideas endorsed by the factory owners to gain as much profit as possible, at the expense of human rights. BIBLOGRAPHY * "Penguin History of the USA" By Hugh Brogan. * "The Forging of the Modern State, Early Industrial Britain, 1783-1870 (3rd Edition)." By Eric J. Evans. * "American Economic History, (8th Edition)." By Harold Underwood Faulkner. * "The History of Modern Europe (Volume 2) The French Revolution to the present." By John Merriman. * The Internet also provided useful reading. 1 ...read more.

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