The Industrial Revolution and the Birth of Marxism

Modern World Civilization

Spring  2009

Why The Industrial Revolution Started in England

      The right conditions were available in England that made the Industrial Revolution possible.

      Private profit and economic development were the goals of the state.

      Enclosure radicalized English Agriculture: inc. production; freed the pop to work in the new factories; and feed the urban work force.

      Internal improvements -- roads, ports, and canals -- increased economic development.

Rebels Against The Future

      Five Counties of Central England form a triangle that was haunted by the legend of Robin Hood.

      We know that Robin Hood battled the forces of the King in the 13th Century.

      The real Robin Hood fought against Royal Industrial policy, when the King shifted from lumbering to the new wool industry.

      In the 19th Century Sir Walter Scott revived the legend with Ivanhoe.

      From there the legend grew.

The Steam Engine

The Legend of Ned Ludd

      In early 1811, threatening letters from a General Ned Ludd and the “Army of Redressers” were sent to employers in Nottingham.

      Workers were upset with the reduction in wages and the use of unapprenticed workmen.

      So they attacked factories and machines.

      In a three week period over 200 stocking frames were destroyed.

The Luddite Attacks Continue

      Soon attacks breakout in Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire.

      Attacks are directed at machines that many believe forced people out of work.

      In 1812, Parliament passed a law making “Machine Breaking” a capital offense.

      This was the Frame Breaking Act.

      12,000 troops were moved into areas of Luddite power.

Warnings About the Luddites

Luddite Violence

      They attacked the Rawfolds Mill owned by William Cartwright, but were beaten off on April 11, 1812.

      They they murdered a major mill operator, William Horsfall.

      The authorities indicted sixty-four people, three were hanged for the murder of Horsfall and fourteen were hanged for the attack on Rawsfolds Mill.

      Other attacks were made, but sometime employers staged there own incidents to weaken the laboring movement.

Map of Luddite Activities

The Next Wave of Revolutions

      The Revolutions of 1820.

      The Revolutions of 1830.

      The Revolutions of 1848.

The British Response to Industrialism

      The British at first outlawed labor unions with the Combination Acts.

      One avenue of readdress was done through Parliamentary Reform.

      The Tory Governments attempted to readdress the wrongs by repealing the Combination Acts, reforming the criminal code, and introducing Free Trade.

      Lastly, they repealed the Test Acts, making it possible for non-conformists to hold political office.

The First Reform Bill

      Terminated more than fifty rotten boroughs.

      Gave seats to forty unrepresented industrial towns.

      The electorate was increased by 50%.

      Now almost all middle class had the right to vote if you were a male.

      But the lower classes were not enforced not enfranchised.

      This was the work of Lord Gray, the PM.                                

The Classical Economists: Thomas Malthus

      Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) was the first professional economist.

      He wrote Essay on the Principles of Population published in 1798.

      He argued that the human species would breed themselves into starvation.

      Since food production increases numerically while population growth increased geometrically.

Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)

The Classical Economists: David Ricardo

      Ricardo argued that wealth derived from rent, profit, and wages.

      Of those, Ricardo believed rent was the most important.

      Ricardo’s disciples took his views to create the “Iron Laws of Wages.”

      The ultimate result would be increase poverty.

      The world was locked into a few fixed laws that doomed humankind to increased misery.

David Ricardo

The Utilitarian Response

      The First Reform Bill was just the start of a series of other reforms that followed.

      The inspiration came from Jeremy Bentham and his followers called “Philosophic Radicals” or “Utilitarians.”

      The Key was that if properly educated and impelled by rationale self-interest, people will normally do what is best.

      A number of reforms were introduced with law enforcement, judicial reform, and welfare reform.

Utilitarian Welfare Reform

      The Utilitarians believed that the government that governs best governs least.

      The typical response was the New Poor Laws of 1834.

      It replaced “outdoor relief” with “indoor relief.”

      Indoor Relief was made as harsh as possible.

      The Utiliarians believed that the pains of poverty would make the poor seek employment.

      The “poor laws” offended the upper class humanitarians.

The Early Factory Acts

      They regulated hours of labor.


      Regulated the labor of women and children.

      The acts were moderate and underlined the frightening conditions found in the factories.

      Most workers were working, especially women and children, more than twelve hours a day.

Factory Act of 1833

      The law forbade children from working under the age of nine.

      The law restricted it to nine hours for children below thirteen.

      The law restricted work to twelve hours for those under eighteen.

      The law provided the funds for inspections of the factories.


      Chartism was the most radical of the nineteenth century English reform movements.

      The Chartists were the closest English equivalent to the French Jacobins and the rudimentary Socialists.

      The key figure was William Lovett, the founder of the London Working Man’s Association.

      This group created the People’s Charter.

The People’s Charter

      The Secret Ballot.

      Abolition of Property Qualifications for members of Parliament.

      Payment of members of Parliament.

      Equal electoral districts.

      Annual Parliamentary elections.

      Universal manhood suffrage.

      By 1918, all of those provisions are adopted except the annual election to parliament.

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

      He was a friend of many Utilitarians.

      He slowly retreated from laissez-faire economics.

      He coined many terms, for example, codify, minimize, international.

      He developed prisons, like the Panopticon.

      He helped organize the University of London and when he died, he willed his mummified body to the school.

      Overtime he moved against Laissez-Faire and believed that the government could be a “passive” policeman to correct wrongs.

The Mummified Remains of Jeremy Bentham at the University of London

John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill (1806-73)

      He was raised in a Utilitarian environment.

      From his father he received a quality education -- studying Greek at three, writing history at twelve, and at sixteen organizing an active Utilitarian Society.

      At twenty he had a breakdown.

      Then he turned to music and poetry as therapy.

      This was all the work of a friend, Mrs. Taylor.

      Mill gave liberalism a human face.

The Works of John Stuart Mill

      On Liberty (1859)

      Autobiography (1873)

      Principles of Political Economy (1848)

      Overtime, Mill departed more and more from the “dismal science” and rejected the gloom of the “iron laws of wages.”

Mill’s World View

      He did not favor nationalizing private property, he did sympathize with the “national workshops” found in France.

      He thought that workers should be able to form unions and cooperatives.

      He felt that the government should protect women and child workers.

      He believed in universal education and suffrage.

      He thought that women should have the same rights as men.

Utopian Socialists



      Louis Blanc

      Robert Owen

Robert Owen 1771-1851

Robert Owen (1772-1858)

      In his twenties he took over the huge cotton mills at New Lanark in Scotland.

      He was shocked by the working conditions.

      Many of the workers were children from Edinburgh and ranged between six and eight.

      Most adult were in similar straits too.

      Owen used the carrot to improve labor discipline.

      He reduced hours and improve housing.

      He also closed the bars.

      He then established a “parallelogram” in New Harmony, IN.

New Lanark Cotton Mills

The Children

The Chronology of Slavery in North America

      The first slaves arrived in Jamestown in 1619.

      Slaves were found in all the North American Colonies.

      But over time, the institution died in the north, but increased intensity in the South.

      It was basically an economic and political system.

Slaves as Part of the Economic System

      Worked as Field Slaves.

      Domestic Servants.

      Were hired out and returned wages to their masters.

      Worked in some Southern Industries.

      Kept the South economically backward compared with the North.

Forms of Ownership

Slave Revolts and Conspiracies

      1800 The Gabriel Plot in Richmond, Virginia.

      1822 The Denmark Vesey Affair in Charleston, South Carolina.

      1831 The Nat Turner Revolt.

A Thunderous Rage in Virginia in 1831

The System was Cruel: A Slave Auction in Virginia in 1861

A House Divided: Half Slave and Half Free

Forms of Control

      Slave Patrols.

      Slave Codes.

      Physical Punishments.


      Slave Catchers.

      Legal Systems views slaves as property.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

      Marx transformed socialism into its most revolutionary form -- Revolutionary Communism.

      Communism frightens people.

      He was born in Trier located in Prussia in 1818.

      Hence he is known as the Red Prussian.

Influences on Marx

      Marx studied at the University of Berlin.

      There he was influenced by Hegel and adopted his principal of the “dialectic.”

      That he made central to “economic determinism” and “class struggle.”

      Marx lived most of his life in exile -- fleeing the Rhineland in 1843, Paris in 1845, Brussels too, and eventually settled in London.

Karl Marx

The Principles of Marxism

      Economic Determinism

      Class Struggle

      Inevitability of Communism

What Do They Mean?

      Economic Determinism -- Economics generally determine all other human institutions on a social and political level, including art, religion, and other cultural forms.

      Class Struggle -- History is a dialectical process, a series of conflicts between antagonistic economic groups.

      Inevitability of Communism -- The class struggle would ultimately lead to a victory for the proletariat.

Marx and Capitalism

      He disliked everything about Capitalism.

      He never thought the system could be corrected.

      He believed that the Capitalism would never permit workers to receive their true rewards.

The Workers

Engels (1820-1895)

      Marx and Engels were poles apart.

      One was outgoing, the other was quiet and withdrawn.

      One like wine, women, and song; the other reading in the British Museum.

      But Engels hated the system too.

      He was the author of The Condition of the Working Class in England.

The Coming of the Manifesto

      In 1847, The London Office of the Communist League requested that they draw up a program for their organization.

      Engels wrote the first draft, which Marx totally revised.

      It was published in 1848 as the Communist Manifesto.

Key Elements of the Manifesto

      All history is a history of class struggle.

      Changing economic conditions determine the nature of the coming conflict.

      Modern industry will destroy bourgeois society.

      Since it will produce more goods than can be consumed.

      This will contribute to mounting social pressures.

      After the revolution, all private property will be abolished.

      Then social tensions will end with the liquidation of classes.

Where did Power Rest?

Problems for Marx

      He didn’t take into account the non-material motives of the work force.

      He never thought that the system could correct itself.

      He failed to take into account the rising levels of Nationalism.

      Marx believed that “Workers had no country.”