Industrial Capitalism: It’s Effects on Canadian Society
Class is a vertical economic relationship and a horizontal socio-cultural
In the vertical sense class, involves the explorative economic relationship
between the owners of the means of production and workers.
In the horizontal sense, class involves the beliefs, values, ideas, and traditions
that people share and carry with them in their daily lives.
The bourgeoisie are the people who control the means of production (upper
The people who sell their labour but do not control the actual means of
production are working class.
Canada’s economy was always based on the staple goods like cod, furs, timbre,
wheat, and minerals… not an exploitive relationship.
Industrial capitalism changed the relationship between owner and worker.
Technology reduced the need for skills and thus depressed wages and
immigration increased the pool of unskilled labourers even further.
Working class life was difficult with poor sanitation, over-crowding, and an
Working-men joined voluntary associations like the Orange Order, St.Patrick’s
Society, or Sons of England.
Survivability depended on good times and a bare subsistence wage.
The ideal Victorian upper-class family was a man working outside the home
(public sphere) with women being at home and having children (private sphere).
-but women were forced to work outside the home to make ends meet
The anonymity of the city and the blurring of gender roles led to fears about
“fallen women” (prostitues) and immoral behaviour.
If women were supposed to be the centre of the family, concerns about deviance
centred on the urban challenge in gender roles.
Survivability was as much based on gender as on class. The Contradictions of Capitalism: How did the working-class and ruling
class respond to urbanization and industrialization?
The Upper-Class view of Labour: “the duty of the worker is to labour peacefully
To withdraw one’s labour was a crime. For example: The Irish canal worker’s
riots of the 1840’s.
-workers controlled the means of production with their willingness to work
-withdrawing their services was an exercise in power and a threat to the
The first unions or working man’s associations were loose and impermanent
societies that were easily broken by capitalists.
-Solidarity meant that no replacements could be found to work
-Technological innovation linked interests of skilled workers together
-Helped to create an identity amongst skilled workers from the same trades
Typical Union Motto c.1867: “We Support Out Infirm. We Bury Our Dead”
-Small unions and strikes collapse because of a lack of class identity
-Labourers also divided by gender
-Women were “cheaper” sources of labour, especiall when combined with
9 Hour Day Campaign
-the social gospel movement applied Christian principles to correct social ills
Social Gospels believed:
-people are inherently good
-people err not because they are bad, but because of their environment and
-if the environment of social conditions could be changed, social ills would be
-focused on sins of the group or society, rather than individual sins
-“the first duty of a Christian is to be a citizen of our own option; but we are
under obligation to quit sin and to bring heaven down to this earth”
The Aims of Social Gospellers:
-reaffirmed dominant beliefs and class structures
-rich helping poor
-if morality was the centre of social life, then the moral members of society had a
duty to spread their ideas
-aim was the regenerate and reform society
-Direct Action Groups: provide assistance to society’s destitute through the
establishment of missions and settlement houses
-EXAMPLE: the Salvation Army The Trial and Execution of Louis Riel
-The Riel Rebellion of 1885was indicative of the challenges facing Canada
-Riel maintained he was sane and that his grievances were just, addressing
fundamental inequalities in Confederation
-the CPR Railway to