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HIS109Y1 (520)

The Middle Classes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Anthony Cantor

The Middle Classes I. The bourgeois century? II. The middle classes III. The middle-class work ethic IV. Middle-class values: charity & religion V. Middle-class culture: family & the home -document from 1818 of a journeyman cotton-spinner: didn’t see himself as sharing interests w/ labouring factory workers, industrialization undercut the work of skilled workers & craftsmen -skilled labour can be done by unskilled workers doing piecework no other options for skilled workers other than to work at level of unskilled workers skilled workers first developed bonds as a group over these problems, begin to see that unskilled workers have some shared interests with them (broader working class political movement) -1830: fictional story of Captain Swing, weavers, artisans, as well as tenant farmers (agricultural wage- earners) -1839: People’s Charter, & Chartism represents first political movement encompassing the unpropertied working classes I. The bourgeois century? -historians argue the middle class’s class-consciousness developed more strongly than of any other class (as being part of a commonality w/ each other) middle class became driving force in social change historians refer to 19 century as “the bourgeois century” (transformations of the 19 century,th bourgeois means middle class, bourgeoisie means those that make up the middle class) there exists diff. definitions by Marx of the bourgeois/bourgeoisie in an ideological way II. The middle classes -middle classes refers to the diversity in the middle class (in England, France, Italy, Poland, Russia), a range of experiences, levels of wealth, professions, social influence (still have enough in common to allow for some generalization of their values, culture) -“middle class” was hardly used before late 18 century (industrialization from before the Fr. Rev. & into the era of attempted restoration of conservative reaction after 1815) -the middle class had nothing in common w/ the traditional upper class (nobility, aristocracy, gentry: people of independent means, who didn’t work at all, often were landowners, estates produced their income through rents) -middle class regarded traditional upper class as parasites who just collected money from other people’s efforts, as sort of useless who shouldn’t have so much control in society -the middle class were not the working class (depended on their hands/labour for their income) -the middle class was between the upper class & the working class, the middle class worked but they didn’t get their hands dirty (not manual labourers) -most of the middle class can be pictured as the industrial & commercial capitalists -censuses didn’t provide info about class, but those who had wills were often of the middle class -France: not as many middle class as there are workers -Northern Italy had more middle class than Southern Italy
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