Lecture Notes.docx

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15 Apr 2012
Economic Change in Europe, 1870-1914: An Overview January 10
Improvement in transport. And communication
Canal building superseded by railway
Canals still had some importance
Panama and Suez dramatically reduced costs of transporting goods
Railroad one of main drivers of industrial revolution (had to produce coal
and steel)
Trips across the Atlantic became days rather than weeks
Much cheaper
Planes were invented during this time
New ideas as well
Typewriter and telephone helped communication
Price of paper dropped dramatically (lead to mass press)
Military Innovations
Navy replaced sailing vessels with steel boats
Invention of the machine, altered how guns were loaded
Discovered magnetic effect across wire created energy
Led to refrigeration which effected shipment of goods
Meat from south America to US
Previously family-based partnerships
Borrowed money from each other, they were personally liable
New business needed far more capital than these smaller partnerships
could raise
Led to creation of corporations
Allows people to borrow money without being personally liable
Give money to corporation in return to shares in the company
Allowed for growth of much larger businesses than previous
Development of administrative structures within companies
(hierarchical structures)
Also led to cartels
Cartels: Agreements between large businesses to divide the market
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Ex. Company A produces 40% of steel, Company B produces 20%
Combine to prevent prices rising (agrees not to compete against
each other)
Both cartels would offer the same price, wouldn‟t change unless the
other did
Kept prices up, wouldn‟t lower prices even if they could afford to
This divided markets on a local and global scale, eventually became
Used to fight labour organization
o If workers striked at company A, company B would not hire
United Kingdom, 1850-1914
Why was there less violent conflict in the UK than in most other areas of
UK was a success story
Per capita income was the highest in Europe
Country had not suffered major defeat in war since American
Clearly admired by much of Europe
Society was relatively satisfied with their lives, those who weren‟t
emigrated (many to US, increasingly to European colonies)
o 5% of the population emigrated every decade, providing
stability to the country
Women‟s Suffrage
After 1884 the majority of the adult male population could vote (about
By the 1860‟s Britain saw that many countries had granted universal
suffrage (France, US, Germany)
Saw that it was inevitable, it would be to their advantage to make
the public grateful to them by supporting the movement
Even after suffrage was granted the two parties continued to
dominate politics (liberal and conservative)
Domestic scene in UK more tranquil, more willingness on the part of the
elite to give power to others in society
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There was no radical labour movement because the trade union was so
Laborers could strike
House of Commons was the source of power, elite was willing to trust the
masses with more power (this was not true in continental Europe)
The masses used this power responsibly
Major issue in the UK was poverty
While the country was militarily strong, economy was strong but
poverty was widespread
About 4000 families owned ½ of all land
8 million people were still landless labourers
in the 1870‟s farmers in the country tried to localize and organize a
farmers union to raise pay, they were crushed
survey from 1890 about 10% of the population destitute
lower class marked by accents, clothing, etc.
poverty increased in old age
one of the reasons for domestic peace was the power and confidence to
rule without challenge, the rest were completely differential, allowed this
rule as a way of life
Government response to poverty
Measures to promote health and sanitation
Old age pensions (1908)
Health insurance- paid for by workers, employers, and the state
Trade board that attempted to set minimum wages
Most of these came from the liberal side
At this time liberals competing with new labour party for votes
Government became more involved, laisez-faire policies fell aside
By 1850 Britain behind on education compared to other European powers
Only after 1870 that the state became involved in creating mass
Result partially from new suffrage rules, people had new power, therefore
needed to become educated and well informed
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