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[20] The Middle Class.doc

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Kenneth Bartlett

January 26, 2010 The Condition of the Poor - Children were whipped regularly - discipline, make them work harder - Children aren’t used to working 12 hrs/day, 6 days a week - People were brought directly off farms --> suddenly they were forced to work in factories; they were illiterate and were instructed threateningly - If you didn’t work, you’d starve - Losing limbs, lives = common - Disease - “factory fever” (bacteria-born, sweeps through the factory) - The poor had insufficient diets - lack of protein, lack of sufficient food) - also, they were weak from working long hours (exhausted), and there was no such thing as taking the day off (or else they wouldn’t get paid, wouldn’t be able to support themselves) - No one addressed this issue: factory workers wouldn’t close factory to quarantine the sick workers because they’d lose money to competition; sick workers would risk death because they needed to get paid) - Ceilings were low, factories are crowded, machines were close to each other -- saving as much space as possible - No sanitary facilities -- even if workers were allowed to leave their positions by machines (which they weren’t; they had to eat by them too) - They had “slop buckets” at regular intervals -- but children frequenlt knocked them over --> ex- crement all over the floor - Factories were never cleaned; floor was filthy - Many workers died of factory fever --> families starved and private charities addressed them - Textile industry - no ventilation, air filled with wool, etc. -- eventually it accumulated so much they couldn’t breathe and they died young - Mining was the worse -- coal accumulated in lungs --> silicosis - Families waited for boys to be old enough to replace their sick/dead relatives - Situation was everywhere where industrialization moved st - 1 century of IR was characterized by this - What was clear was that no level of private philanthropy could address this -- millions of peo- ple are affected - Middle class was concerned - some out of sel-interest, some genuinely concerned - Inviability of privae property --> goes back to Locke (property is an inalienable right, you can’t take it away or infringe on it without the poor’s conecnt) - colcusion: they had to educate the poor - Factory owners and investers cared more about the profit than the lives of the poor - Polarization - more difficulty to negotiate, can’t even come to conclusion - People didn’t know what to do to sove the iisue - Went beyond improving material property of poor to who shold have political power, right to property, etc - Devastating effect of europe: violence was the only respose to the problem --- middle class re- fused to do certina things because they needed a certain profit return - Violence -- destroy/reorder society - How far should the franchise/right to vote be expanded? (wheere should the line be drawn) - Shoild all adult males have the vote? Or only people who own a cretan amount of land? - Many liberals believed: to vote/hold public office you have to own some amount of land, have a stake in society (via material wealth) - Some people said this won’t work -- poor will never have enough to vote - They should be able to vote and hold public office so that they’ll have a stake in society, will be able to wear bowler hats and invest in the railway --> if not, they’ll only result in revolution - Utopian-socialist = believed same powers of progress would move upwards to better world (progress is always better). They rejected violence and beielived technology would improve ev- erything, improve itself. Change is coming and inevitable - Robert Owen (d. 1858) was one of them - Were these people offering abstract soutions to practical problems? Would they benefit the poor? - Only way to get attention of epole that change was needed was through violence - Louis-August Blanqui (1805-1881) was one of them - Involved in every uprising, revolution - Revolution will always benefit property-owning classes unless it is driven by the owkring-class - He rejects any idea of compromise with middle-class liberals - Working-class revolution will benefit them - Used terrorist activities --> ended up in jail - Attracted those to believe violence was the only solution to poor, developed a vocabulary used by others - Those liberals, protery-owner, middle-class = “Exploiter” -- the only way to get attention of these eve
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