Tuesday, September 3, 2019
The Luddite Revolt :: European Europe History
The Luddite Revolt England at the Turn of the Century At the beginning of the 1800's England was still largely an agricultural country. Frank Ongley Durvall in his text, Popular Disturbances and Public Order in Regency England, states that "over half the population [was] living in the country"(12). In London there were over one million dwellers. Nevertheless, this city's population comprised only one-tenth of the entire population of England. Aside from London, most cities and towns contained only several thousand people, where the average household size was between five to six persons. The transportation of products and people around the nation was limited in part by the fact that the English population was still predominantly dispersed throughout the countryside and that most goods were still being made locally. However another factor that limited transportation was its relative lack of modernization. At the turn of the century England had yet to establish a railroad system. The primary means of shipping goods was either by boat using canals or by horse-drawn cart on roadways. Meanwhile, travelers depended upon either their feet or horse-drawn carriage to get them where ever they wished. As I briefly mentioned above during this period most industry was located in the country, with the majority of work taking place in the home work-shops of craftsmen. Any manufacturing plants that did exist at that time were water powered. These factories were usually small and only employed a handful of workers. The major industries at the beginning of the 1800's were textiles, hosiery, lace, iron mining and manufacture, ship building, and coal mining. Yet, agriculture was still the number one business, with some 35 percent, or more, of the populace of the island working in it(14). In many villages craftsmen would not only work making goods but would also cultivate small private lots. From these household plots they would harvest crops for their family's consumption and for trade. If these craftsmen did not own their own plot they would join others in tending to a communal field from which all members of the community could partake of the harvest. Because of this agriculturally powered economy most businesses remained predominantly local. Business owners were usually residents of the town where their businesses were located, so that they had a material interest in the prosperity and success of the town. This localization of business, along with industry, allowed for a harmonious connection to develop between the owners and their workers.