Edward Raymond Turner.

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ing forced to accept such wages and terms as were offered.
Moreover, the Industrial Revolution resulted not
merely from introducing machines which revolutionized
work, but from a new policy with respect to industrial
regulation. Formerly in England and elsewhere in
Europe the general policy had been for the local authori-
ties or the government of the state to regulate industry,
and many a law had been passed to assess the amount of
wages, many an ordinance to specify the conditions under
which work should be done. These regulations had to
some extent been made in the interests of the upper classes,
but they were also intended by the state for the protection
of workers. During the eighteenth century, however,
the idea developed that all such outside regulation was
interference and restriction, which hindered much more
than it helped. A group of French thinkers taught the
doctrine of laissez-faire, that the state should let private
enterprise alone, and this teaching was taken over into
England, especially by Adam Smith. Rousseau and his
contemporaries were asserting that men had natural
rights, which had been lessened or annulled by interference
from the governments above them; and from this was
developed the idea that men should have complete free-
dom, without any governmental regulation, to manage
their business as they chose, or to work under such con-
ditions as they agreed to themselves. Unfortunately

Women and
children in
the factories

The state
and industry






it was soon evident that "freedom of contract" and
lai^sez-faire, whatever their actual and theoretical merits,
and however much they were acclaimed by economists
and philosophers then, soon gave more power to capitalists
and employers, and put the laborers in more lowly sub-

The government ceased intervening to regulate and
protect the workers, and the new laws which were passed
were made in the interests of the upper class which con-
trolled the state. By the employing class laissez-faire
was welcomed and praised, as was the doctrine then
current that the best results in human relations would
follow from each man seeking his own selfish interest.
Poverty and suffering came from natural laws, it was said,
which no human kindness could remove. It was proper
that capitalists should take as high profits and give as
low wages as possible, since all this was worked out
through the "natural laws." If more than the market
wages were given, it would simply result in poor people
having a larger number of children, after which conditions
would be as before.

So, while great prosperity came to many factory owners
and lenders of money, while Britain went forward with
immense progress in wealth and in power, while she ob-
tained from her factories and her ships the strength and
the resources with which she held out against Napoleon
to the end, horrible results atfected some of her people.
Workers with their families came from villages and small
towns to the factory towns seeking work. Wages were
driven down far below what a family could live on. Some
could find no work at all. Mournful and squalid quarters
rose rapidly to house the workers, and in these houses
they were huddled together until the living conditions
became terrible. It was soon discovered that the machines
could be operated still more cheaply by getting the labor
of children, and more and more were children put to


work in the factories. At first the foundlings and miser- Child labor
able inmates of workhouses, who were purchased and
trafficked in almost like slaves, were obtained. They
were put to more toil than they could endure, often urged
by the "overlooker's" lash, imprisoned at night lest they
run away, and given no wages, since according to the law
they were considered to be apprentices learning tlicir
trade. As a result of this competition still more men were
put out of work and wages were brought even lower.
Presently parents were forced to do what had previously
been regarded as a great disgrace, put their children out
to work in the factories. Under the old system there had
been much labor by children, but most of it had been
done for parents in the home. Now the conditions under
which children worked became worse, and seemed still
worse since they could be more readily seen. After a
while many men remained idle, supported by the labor of
their women and children. In the midst of dirt, heat,
stench, whir of wheels, and clatter of looms, children were
working long hours, when they should have been at
play, or, according to our ideas now, at school. Women
were working so long and so hard that they were per-
manently weakening themselves, unable to bear strong
children, or unable to give birth at all. In the factory
towns were idle men and underpaid men. The standard
of living went lower and lower.

Such is the description which contemporaries have Degeneracy
handed down. Doubtless the picture should not all be
dark, and no doubt the evils have been exaggerated and
dwelt on too nmch. It should be remembered that under
the old system there were many evils, much hardship,
and many bad results. The evils of the period of transi-
tion, the time between the breakdown of the old system,
with the decay of state regulation, and the new period when
machine industry and capitalism were thoroughly estab-
lished, are not well remembered now; but those evils were



The workers


great, and were afterward lessened by the Industrial
Revolution itself. Notwithstanding all this, the evil con-
sequences of the Revolution were presently evident in
the degeneracy of a portion of the people. For a long
time in England there had been a sturdy agricultural
population from which came the fighting men who won
England's wars; now the rural population declined, and
it was seen that the factory towns contained many poor,
ill-nourished, overworked men, women, and children,
whose health and physical strength were decreasing.

It may be that time would have brought some adjust-
ment, and that the new conditions would presently have
been made less hard; but so bad did they actually appear
that some immediate remedy was sought for. After the
end of the Napoleonic wars, when men had space to think
of other things than defending England from foreign foes,
it was evident that there was much discontent among the
lower classes of the population in Britain. These were
the years when socialism began to attract attention, and
when the Chartists asked for reform. But the workers
themselves could do little. The concentration of wealth
and industrial power, which the machines and the new
organization were bringing, made it hopeless for individual
workers to resist their capitalist masters. Only by unit-
ing could they hope with success to oppose them. Long
before workmen had attempted to form combinations,
but always such unions were forbidden by law, and by the
beginning of the nineteenth century the authorities gen-
erally considered that unions of workmen were harmful to
industry and dangerous to the state. In 1799 and in 1800
they had been specifically forbidden in Britain.

It was afterward evident that ''no simple remedy would
avail, since so large and so profound was the alteration
brought to pass that amelioration and adjustment could
only come from patient effort and the working of time.
In Britain, and later on elsewhere, the doctrine of laissez-



^__^ \ "^ ^ — ..^ V.

®Teheran I ^-^ Kunduzo^ -




faire was presently abandoned more and more. It l)ecame
apparent to the best people that "enlightened self-inter-
est" did not bring the best results. Laws were presently
passed by whieh the government limited the hours of
labor for women and ehildren, and ehildren under a certain
age were forbidden to work. In 1824 and 1825 trade
unions of workingmen were legalized, though for a long
time thereafter the authorities hampered them greatly.
The regulation of industry by the state, however great a
change in political philosophy it involved, was at first
insuflBcient and ill-enforced, while the first trade unions
•were usually too weak to win contests with employers.
To some people during this period it seemed that the
entire existing system was now wrong; such great changes
had been made that fundamental reforms and a different
social system were needed before the resultant evils could
be cured. Thus arose one of the most important intel-
lectual and social developments of the nineteenth century,
the greater growth of socialist doctrines.

The Industrial Revolution was first marked and im-
portant in Great Britain. Perhaps it might quickly have
spread to the Continent, but for a generation the neigh-
boring countries were absorbed in the French Revolution
and the exliausting wars which followed. By 1815
England had a long start, had amassed much wealth,
and had become the workshop of the world. But the
industrial changes presently took place in the other
countries. In France the new methods and machines
soon appeared, and along with them the factories, the
slums, and the striking new social problems. A great
industrial development followed with much prosperity,
but the French had less coal and iron than the British, and
in the end it was seen that the temperament of the people
did not so easily adapt itself to large-scale production and
machine work. Hence industrialism never did assume
such large proportions in France as in England. During

faire partly

Spread of
the Indus-
trial Revolu-



eastward in


The new
upper class

the same time the Revolution was beginning in Belgium.
Eastward it spread across the German countries, and by
1870 the north German states were in the midst of vast
industrial development. It did not come to Italy until
after this time, and it did not reach Russia until the latter
part of the nineteenth century. It began to affect the
countries of western and central Europe in the first half
of the century, and some of the countries of eastern
Europe, to a less extent, in the years which followed.
Generally speaking, the Industrial Revolution made
greatest changes only in those countries like Britain,
Belgium, and Germany, where great deposits of coal and
iron were at hand. Italy, Spain, the Balkans lagged far
behind, since mostly they lacked these resources.

The greater results of the Industrial Revolution in
Europe were not apparent for a while, and some of them
were not understood until long after 1870, when industrial
growth had reached far greater proportions. Generally
speaking, the consequences were an alteration in the rela-
tive importance of classes of people in particular districts,
alteration of the relative importance of districts or coun-
tries themselves, the rise of socialism and schemes for a
social organization entirely different from the prevailing
ones, immense changes in warfare and relative military
power, increasing importance of urban life, an alteration
in the position and status of women, the development of
democracy and the spread of the franchise, an increase in
the quantity of things which serve the necessities and the
pleasures of man, and a greater material development than
had ever been possible before.

In antiquity, during the Middle Ages, and down to
the end of the eighteenth century, land was always the
most important property, and the aristocracy, the upper
class, was based upon the holding of landed property.
Under the "feudal system" of the Middle Ages holding
of land on terms of some sort of service or payment was



the very foundation of social organization. The great
landholders were the nobles, the seigneurs, the lords of the
manor, in possession of political power, local jurisdiction,
and sometimes of the offices of state. In the eighteenth
century, under the centralized governments of western
Europe, they had long since lost all independent political
power, but beneath the sovereign they made the class which
had the privileges and held the property in the days of the
Old Regime. The exceptions were England and Holland,
where the greater members of the middle class, the bankers
and the masters of commerce, shared the control of aflFairs
in the state with the landed nobility above them.

The effects of the French Revolution, and gradually
its later consequences, took away from the noble pro-
prietors their power, special privileges, and in some places
even the land on which their previous position had been
based. But if the French Revolution abased one upper
class, the effects of the Industrial Revolution assisted in
the raising of another. Long before 1789 it was evident
that in the more advanced countries of western Europe
a middle class of bankers, business men, and members of
professions was becoming increasingly important. As
the old aristocracy went down before the new forces this
bourgeoisie in France, and later on elsewhere, got control
and reaped some of the greatest benefits from the changes.
It was soon evident that the destruction of Revolutionary
times had not levelled all men and made them all equal.
"Aristocracy alw^ays exists," said Napoleon. "Destroy
it in the nobihty, it removes itself immediately to the rich
and powerful houses of the middle class." And he added,
what seemed more prophetic still later: "Destroy it in
these, it survives and takes refuge with the leaders of
the workshops and people." He, doubtless, understood
little of the Industrial Revolution, but in the first half
of the nineteenth century it had already created a new
class of wealthy and powerful men, who more and more

The landed

The bour-

A ruling



Power of the

Increase of
in Great

got control of the governments of their countries, and who
presently constituted an upper caste between whom and
the great mass of wage-earners and employees there
was in the end almost as great a gulf as once existed be-
tween lords of the manor and villeins. In the Middle
Ages aristocrats and the strong and able men had gone
into the Church and risen to be powerful ecclesiastics, or
else had been captains in the wars, or noblemen with
castles, men-at-arms, and manorial rights over their
fellows; now such men went into industry or commerce,
and, when they succeeded, held similar power as a result
of their gold and their factories and machines. In the
course of the nineteenth century in many places they
supplanted the power of kings and the power of the old
nobility completely. "Our epoch," said Marx and Engels
in their Communist Manifesto (1848), is "the epoch of the
bourgeoisie." The socialists looked upon these industrial
and financial magnates as their principal opponents; and
in the twentieth century the extreme socialists, the
Bolsheviki of Russia, assailed them as the arch-enemies to
be overthrown by a rising of the proletariat, the mass of
the workers.

In parts of western Europe a great increase of popula-
tion followed the Industrial Revolution. The inhabitants
of Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century
have been estimated at 175,000,000; a hundred years later
the population was 400,000,000. In countries like Great
Britain, Belgium, and Germany this was undoubtedly
due most of all to the mighty industrial expansion. In
1801 the population of Great Britain was about 10,500,000;
a century later it was more than 36,000,000. During that
time English agriculture diminished relatively, and it
would have been impossible to feed such increasing
multitudes had it not been for the manufactured goods
which paid for increasing importations of food. Three
fourths of the people at last were engaged in industry and



commerce. In the earlier part of the nineteenth century
attempt had been made to maintain English agriculture
by protection, but after tlie tariffs were removed with
the repeal (1846) of the Corn Laws it had to endure
competition with the great grain fields of America and
Russia. As time went on, farming was more and more
abandoned, and the ishmd became a vast industrial hive.
Increasingly was Britain less able to feed her growing
population except with food-stuffs imported. For a long
time she could do tliis easily enough, for being first in the
field she found markets among other people still mostly
engaged in agriculture, and she had besides a great colonial
empire in which manufacturing was not yet established,
and from which raw materials were easily obtained. In
the first half of the twentieth century, however, it was
evident that each country desired to develop its o\mi
manufactures as soon as it could; and evidently when
this came to pass it would no longer be so easy for the
older industrial communities, lacking local agricultural
support, to make their own living.

Similar results followed in the German countries, es-
pecially after the founding of the German Empire (1871).
In 1837 the population of the lands later on contained in
this empire had been 33,000,000; by 1910 there were
65,000,000. By that time three fifths of the people were
engaged in manufacturing and trade; agriculture was
no longer sufficient to support the population; and many
of the people really got their living by making manu-
factured goods to be exchanged abroad for food. But
German exporters had to compete in a field already largely
taken by the British, which was, moreover, slowly dimin-
ishing as other countries were establishing their industrial
systems. Furthermore, the Germans had no great colonial
empire in which to exchange manufactures for the raw
materials needed. The difficulties which arose thence
probably had something to do with bringing on the

Decline of

Increase of
in Germany



Relative im-
portance of



Great War, in which Germany struck to win what she
did not have. In the future, countries hke Great Britain
and Germany will have more difficulty in continuing to
expand population and wealth, so far as such expansion
is based on selling manufactures to other people for food.

The Industrial Revolution brought about a shifting of
population from one district to another, and brought more
rapid growth in some countries than in others. Down to
the middle of the eighteenth century the rich and im-
portant parts of England had always been the east and
the south, containing the principal seaports and the best
agricultural lands. After 1760 this gradually changed until
the larger number of people lived near the coal and the
iron, about the industrial centers of the west and the north.
Scotland, poor and unimportant until she was admitted to
share in England's trade (1707), became very prosperous
after the middle of the eighteenth century, when industrial
life developed along the Clyde. In the early Middle
Ages Flanders and the western Netherlands contained
rich cities and flourishing small manufactures, but when
these were ruined they became less important than the
northern Netherlands (Holland) with their mighty and
prosperous commerce. But after the estabUshment of
the independence of the Flemish and French Netherlands
as the Kingdom of Belgium (1831), the Industrial Revolu-
tion brought great factories and huge prosperity based on
the coal and iron of the valley of the Meuse, and Belgium
went forward faster than Holland. During the Middle
Ages southern Europe was wealthier and more important
than the northern part; but later it was evident that the
best deposits of coal and iron were in the north, and the
Industrial Revolution was one of the principal factors
in making the north so much more powerful and rich.
Until the middle of the nineteenth century France con-
tinued to be as populous as Germany and stronger;
but after that time, when German unity was accompanied



by mighty industrial growth, Germany went forward so
much more rapidly than France that in 1914 she had half
again as much wealth and nearly twice the population.

Industrial development gradually brought great changes
in military strength, which were beginning to be apparent
by 1870, though they were not clearly perceived until
long after that time. As the Industrial Revolution pro-
gressed, machines and tools got to be so much more power-
ful and complicated that an alteration took place not gener-
ally understood before 1914-15. By that time the power
of cannon and rapid-fire guns had become so immeasurably
great that there was an enormous disparity between men
supplied with modern death-dealing instruments and the
very bravest soldiers not so equipped. No longer did
an army of warlike savages have any chance against
a few soldiers of some Great Power. A nation's military
strength was no longer in any direct proportion to the
number of its fighting men, but altogether to the size of
its armies equipped with modern weapons and supplied
with the ammunition which they needed. Only the
states which possessed sufficient iron and coal, with
developed industrial systems, numerous factories and
machines, producing immense quantities of pig-iron, to be
wrought by skilled workmen into mighty weapons and
various implements, could hope to fight a great war suc-
cessfully for any long time. In 1815 Russia had appeared
a colossus, irresistible if her myriads were capably led;
a hundred years later the German Empire crushed her
with all her millions, completely. She had then, it is true,
the greatest number of fighting-men to call into service,
but she lacked railroads, factories, trained industrial
workers, and she was unable to supply the material of
war. The industrial strength of Germany was then seen
to be so enormous that for a while she easily defeated all
her opponents. The Great War became essentially a duel
between Germany and England, the two principal in-

ism and mili-
tary strength

Russia and


dustrial powers of Europe, and was finally decided by the
entrance of the United States, the greatest industrial na-
tion in the world.
Urban and The Revolution involved a change from rural to city

rxiral life jjf^ j^ many parts of Europe, and brought a constantly

greater preponderance of town over country life. Down
to the end of the eighteenth century there was no large
community in Europe in which the great majority of the
people did not make their living by agriculture in the fields
about villages in the country. Afterward in countries
like Britain, Belgium, and the German Empire, where in-
dustrialism most greatly developed, gradually most of the
people were to be found in cities and manufacturing
districts. In the civilized countries of antiquity city life
had predominated over rural life; during the Middle Ages
power based on the land was all-important, and this long
continued to be so; but during the course of the nineteenth
century the urban communities of western Europe ac-
quired greater weight than the country districts. "The
bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the
to"WTis," said the Communist Manifesto in 1848.
City life This change involved much progress and some retro-

gression. Great numbers of people were thus brought
together by the Industrial Revolution, and mere as-
sociation gradually gave them the quicker, more open,
more radical minds, which always have come with city
life, while they soon discovered the power of numbers and
of acting together. Hence nothing was more potent than
the Industrial Revolution in advancing democracy, self-
government, education, the emancipation and advance-
ment of women. In many of these towns, it is true,
there were low wages, filthy habitations, undernourish-
ment, and degeneracy of body and mind. But these
conditions never affected all the workers, and as time
went on conditions were better. On the other hand, as the
cities became larger, many of their inhabitants were almost



cut ofF from contact with the soil, and removed from
knowledge of the country, from which their forefathers had

Online LibraryEdward Raymond TurnerEurope since 1870 → online text (page 5 of 49)