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HIST 3130 (66)

Britain 1785-1850

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University of Guelph
HIST 3130
Ashley Mathisen

Britain 1785-1850 .this period dominated by rise of class consciousness. Population explosion, drive to industrialization/modernity. In the working class things weren’t changing fast enough which led to conflict. Class conflict emerged organically in Britain and from the continent with the French revolution. French Revolution .1789 louis xvi convenes the estates general (representative body that hadn’t met since 1614) the third estate split off to form the national assembly to oppose the absolutist monarchy. The king opposed them and sent the army which made paris a war zone. The first revolution 1789-1792: the national assembly abolishes the nobility, monasteries, covents and attempts to establish constitutional monarchy. Second revolution 1792-1799: radicals gain control and over 50k people are executed the guillotine between 92-94. 1799 napoleon overthrows the directory and seizes power which many people wanted for stability. Led to war between French forces and other Europeans which ended in 1815 at the battle of waterloo. The French revolution changed how people thought about politics in Britain .British intellecutals such as William woodsworth and Samuel Coleridge initially supported the French revolution as a dawn of a new age, a positive influence that would create change in Britain and Europe. By 1790s the revolution was dividing british opinion. Edmund burke believed the revolution could only result in anarchy. In contrast Thomas paine argued that Britain should emulate france in abolishing the monarchy and nobility and establishing a welfare state. Tories favoured burke and whigs often favoured Thomas paine. The Fear of Revolution .fear of revolution scared the british ruling classes. The terror and guillotine horrified the british even from people who initially supported the revolution. This led to a repressive atmosphere in Britain, in 1792 a royal procolamation issued banned “tumultuous meetings and seditious writings”. In 1795 the seditious meetings and treasonable practices acts prohibits meetings of 50 or more people, freedom of press was taken away. 1794-1801: habeus corpus is suspended and suspects could be held in prison without trial for several years. Revolutionaries went underground, the revolution led to debates over personal freedom vs security. Britain was at war for 25 years before the revolution which led to major debt and poor harvests were affecting the poor. This led to a debate over welfare which led to a long term impact with ideas of how the poor should be treated. Encouraged lower classes to be heard with a much larger voice.the revolution hardened class divisions. Evangelical Imperative .from the 1730s, members of the british clergy began to split away from the church of England. John Wesley (1703-1791) led the movement by founding the Methodist church (Emphasized good works as a pathway to god, a more pure Christian church that emphasized being good to others). This evangelical revival led to reform movements. The evangelicals called for a massive shift in the behaviour of british society. The middle class were the biggest dissenters with the church leading calls on welfare and social reform. They campaigned for the control of gambling, prison reform and the abolition of slavery (Reformation of manners). By 1780s 1 million Africans were transported to british colonies, William wiberforce an evangelical led a movement that put an end to the british slave trade in 1807. By 1830s social reform and political participation were increasing because of the industrial revolution. Industrial revolution separated the modern world from pre-modern. The industrial revolution occurred roughly between the years 1760 and 1830. Caused in britain by population growth, agricultural change (closed off land for everyone and made it an agricultural movement which compounded holdings and increased wealth), advances in technology (cotton gin, engine, etc.), british transportation system (turnpike roads, canals, etc.), liberal environment congenial to entrepreneurs and innovators. Became unrecognizable from previous world. Industrial revolution changed the face of british society. British workers toiled for many hours, children did very dangerous jobs, very poor working conditions (Concern over child labour). Industrialization led to stratification of labour (all labour was unskilled which shifted how people viewed their relationship to employment), shift away from paternalism (apprentices were usually cared for by an older person, workers and employers became much more business like), very little wealth made its way to the poor which led to class consciousness. Good things: trade unions, women could be liberated by factory work because they were free from surveillance. Historians argue that industrialization was a combination of good and bad but changed the landscape of Britain. By 1830s railway li
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