Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Political Impact & Intellectual Impact of Industrial Revolution

Political Impact of Industrial Revolution -

The political effects of the Industrial Revolution were also far-reaching. The ruling authorities in England had to accept the hard reality that with fast growing wealth and social influence, the industrial and professional bourgeoisie could not be kept away from the corridor of political power. Indeed this bourgeoisie section began to fight for share in the government. The relentless struggle succeeded with the passing of the historic FIRST REFORM ACT in 1832. This gave right of vote to the middle class. It marked the end of the sole authority of aristocracy in politics and the growing clout of middle class over British politics.

The coming of the working class as a political force was another remarkable consequence of the Industrial Revolution. As industrial activities grew, the number of workers rapidly increased. The people realized the strength of the labour after the LUDDITE UPRISING of 1819 and the CHARTIST MOVEMENT of 1838-48. The government had to withdraw in 1821 (after the Luddite uprising) the Combination Act of 1799 which forbade working-class agitation. By the mid-19th century the labour had grown so enormously in number that both Tory-conservative and Whig-Liberal parties felt that granting of right to vote to workers was inevitable. Both wanted to grab the support of labour by granting them vote. The Tories succeeded when the Disraeli-Derby Government granted them voting franchise by passing the SECOND REFORM ACT in 1867.
This very much empowered the workers. They were inspired to combine and organize themselves to fight for rights. This gave rise to the TRADE UNION MOVEMENT in Britain. Realising the power of the working class movement the Gladstone ministries (1868-74 and 1880-85) and Disraeli ministry (1874-80) passed a series of legislation for the benefit of workers. Their right to strike and form union for exacting demands from the management was recognized. The struggle of the workers to find a rightful place for themselves in politics attained success with the formation of the Labour Party in 1906. The British trade unionism makes one of the most remarkable success stories in working class history.
Intellectual Impact of Industrial Revolution -

The Industrial Revolution, along with the French Revolution of 1789, provided impetus to the rise of liberal,economic and political philosophy. The laissez-faire philosophy received tremendous boost with the publication of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in 1776. Under his leadership the group of POLITICAL ECONOMISTS, also known as Classical Economists, emerged. Another group of thinkers, called the UTILITARIAN S, and consisting of eminent figures like Jeremy Bentham and J. S. Mill, also advocated liberal economic order. The RADICALS formed the third group of thinkers, and the MANCHESTER RADICALS were the political activists who championed the cause of individual liberty in economic sphere and of free trade, free enterprise and free market most vigorously. THE WHIG-LIBERAL political party attracted men belonging to these groups and held sway over British politics in the 19th century.

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