This essay The Differences In The Social Classes Of Mid-Victorian England I. Intr has a total of 1227 words and 5 pages.
The Differences In The Social Classes Of Mid-Victorian England I. Introduction In the Mid-Victorian period in English history there were distinct class differences in its society. There were three classes in England. These were the Aristocracy, the Middle-Class (or Factory owners) and the working class. Each class had specific characteristics that defined its behavior. These characteristics were best seen in four areas of British society. During the time-period known by most historians as the Industrial Revolution, a great change overtook British culture. Aside from the political and economic change which occurred, a profound social alteration transpired. The populace seeking to better their lives, sought employment in newly-formed industries. Many of the workers which included women and children, labored through 12 hour work shifts, with poor nutrition, poor living conditions and completing tedious tasks1. These factors, accompanied by various ideological precepts by Britain's intellectual community, and those concepts imported from France, provoke a crucial social evolution. Though no government was overthrown, a distinct transformation took place causing rebellious behavior to erupt among the working class. This essay will address the questions of how and why this behavior was expressed by the lower order of British society. It will also discuss methods the ruling class used in suppressing and controlling the rebellious behavior exhibited by the working class. The middle class held to two basic ideologies that served in the exploitation of the lower order of the British society. Richard Atlick identified them as Utilitarianism (or Benthamism) and Evangelicalism. Both served the self-interested inclinations of the middle class. Utilitarianism created the need to fulfill a principle of pleasure while minimalization pain. In the context of the "industrial revolution" this meant that the pleasure extracted from life would be at the working classes' expense. This provided a perfect justification for the middle class to capitalize on. The working class of Britain, throughout the industrial revolution and through the Victorian age, acted in a defiant manner toward both the aristocracy and middle class. This behavior extended from the everyday activities of the workers to radical anarchist movements that categorized the underground. The middle class seemed to be just as familiar with the inverse of Benthamism as they were with its normal application. The pleasure principle was measured in terms of minimalization of pain. If the sum of pain, in a given situation, is less than the sum of pleasure, than it should be deemed pleasurable. The inverse principle applied to the working class was how pain (work) can be inflicted, with the absolute minimum distribution of pleasure (wages), without creating an uprising. This was seen in Andrew Ure's article. He eloquently defended the industrial system and dismissed the infractions as conjecture. However, the argument made by Ure clearly pointed to the existence of disciplinary actions being performed by the industrialist and how these were allowed by the government. His argument stated that no employer wished to beat their young employees and, if it occurred, then it was on a small level. The argument did not condemn the use of physical discipline. It did not directly acknowledge its occurrence, but neatly circumvented the issue by saying it was not the "wishes" of the employer. This was an example of the beliefs of the middle class to take disciplinary and suppressive actions taken against the working class. The second, Evangelicalism, was considered to be selfish because of its inflexibility toward actions outside of its moral realm. The Church at that time would help the poor only to pacify its conscience. Andrew Mearns, in his article " The Bitter Cry of Outcast London", investigated the misery of the working class and exhorted the church for inactivity on the working classes behalf. He stated that "whilst we have been building our churches and solacing ourselves with our religion . . . the poor have been growing poorer, the wretched more miserable, and the immoral more corrupt." He continued, listing detailed accounts of how the lower class survived and suffered. It was written to evoke a reaction from the church attending middle class. Isolated by these ideologies and rigid social class distinctions, the lower class began to resent the industrialists that employed them. There were basically two types of radicals that followed a more active part in expressing their disdain for the system that imprisoned them; as discussed in the book Radical Underworld. The first
Topics Related to The Differences In The Social Classes Of Mid-Victorian England I. Intr
Social classes, Socialism, Male feminists, Utilitarians, Marxism, Working class, Middle class, French Revolution, Social history of England, Conservatism, Rebellion, Victorian era, distinct class, distinct transformation, evangelicalism, crucial, utilitarianism, mid victorian, industrial revolution, rebellious, pleasure, included women, working class, middle class, british society
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