HIS109Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 29: Utopian Socialism, Louis Auguste Blanqui, Silicosis

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19 Aug 2016
Ibraheem Aziz Jan 27/2016
HIS109Y L0101 Lec 29
The Conditions of the Poor
Many factory machines were dangerous and little in the way of worker safety, compensation,
sanitations and regulations existed
Factories did not have cleaners and sanitations workers factory owners refused to pay them
Danger of all sorts of diseases, especially factory fever, was commonplace
Factory fever killed tens of thousands and had no clear cure
Workers ad fator oers did’t allo fatories to lose i ase of epideis
Textile mills were not ventilated and cleaned; always filled with textile particles and the workers
breathed these in
Miners had it worst as they were exposed to silicosis and higher risks of death
Communities of miners existed at ages of 5 or 6, children were brought into mines to work
Tough reliance and mutual interdependence were hallmarks of the poor and their lives
Living conditions of the poor gave rise to middle class liberals
Many liberal do-gooders tried to help financially once private charity was seen as insufficient,
governments could not do much to intervene
Problem of helping others while at the same time restricting private property rights was seen as
a philosophical problem and a life/death issue
Basic human rights were violated gave rise to alienation by people who held the levers of
Implications were enormous; everyone saw the vast difference between wealth and poverty
Material conditions of the poor would have to be addressed by changing European society
Conditions of the poor had a polarizing effect on the entire continent
Ideas became far more revolutionary than the French Revolution had to do with private
property and government provision of societal needs
Throughout the 19th century, more people were allowed to vote and industrial working poor had
more access to the ballot box
This was seen on both sides as a problem that had to be addressed immediately
Liberals were the ones who faced this problem; felt they had to do something as an obligation of
privilege and wealth but how were they to do it?
Liberals were divided on issue of voting rights; property was seen as required for franchise and
idea that poor would abuse the ballot box was prevalent
Other liberals argued for the vote; argued that the vote would give them pragmatism and
Isolation would lead to violence
It was necessary to resolve this problem; universal suffrage was coming
Polarization of European society existed in many ways
o Utopian socialists argued for reason and using the force of change to bring about
positive change
Robert Owen (d.1858)
Most influential of early revolutionaries was Louis-August Blanqui (1805-1881)
o Bourgeois society was brought back after Napoleon and this was reminiscent of the
ancient régime
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