The eighteenth century is often described as the Age of Enlightenment. Europe was experiencing a period of social, political and intellectual spawning. This title refers to Europe because it was put into effect on a broad scale by several ideas from the previous 100 years. Prior to the Industrial revolution, basic capitalism existed in Europe in forms of contracts, wealth accumulation or private property. The introduction of the revolution fuelled innovation to create a system of capitalism that was, to an extent, more modern. Supposedly during this transformation, Britain led the way becoming familiar with things like widespread credit, large scale stock markets, and investments, but in more recent times, economic historians have discussed the speed of the transformation and whether the industrial revolution was really one.
It is agreed by most historians that an industrial revolution did of course happen but talks concerning exactly what constitutes an industry of ‘revolution’ have been studied. Was it exclusively British? Was it primarily industrial? If we assume that there was a revolution, putting its rapidness aside, we might ask ourselves, ‘what exactly did we learn from it?’ These questions are just a mere portion of ideas concerning this topic, which will be interpreted as part of the main idea within the body of this essay. In attempt to try and answer some of these questions, traces of change in Britain will be made out through living standards: did working classes material life get worse for most, or all of them between 1750 and 1850? Who exactly benefitted from the industrial revolution: was the gap between the highest and lowest incomes widening or narrowing, and when? Again, an investigation on the standards of living to understand the progress of the revolution will be made through mortality and height measurements, real wages and the distribution of income based on Peter H. Linderts chapter and research in the Economic History of Britain in the 1700’s. This topic will also investigate England’s established poor relief policies between 1750-1850.
The role of the government plays a key role in society during this time. It is important to know that how they treated people 200 years ago had a huge influence on how the industrial revolution was shaped and who truly received the short end of the stick. Gaps between the rich and poor were said to show signs of little to no improvements, and concern about inequality will be touched on in greater detail throughout this essay.
Before exploring workers, absolute living standards, and indicating workers suffering of well-being, we must first look at the differences between indicators. Indicators that appear to be more obvious from these living standards to help understand the living standards in depth are for example, how long they lived, the length of time they worked during the day and consumption usage on average; and to get a better result...