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Children also had smaller hands, which were often needed to reach in among the parts of a machine.

Furthermore, employers found that children were more malleable, and adapted to the new methods much better than adults did. Children were also sent to work in mines, being small enough to get more coal and ore from the deep and very often unsafe pits Stearns. They could also be forced to work as long as eighteen hours each day Sadler. This unprecedented growth and profit was another social change that occurred during the Industrial Revolution. There were little or no government regulations imposed upon factory policies, and this allowed the wealthy, middle-class owners to pursue whichever path was most profitable, regardless of the safety and well being of their workers.

This relentless pursuit of money caused another important social change: the ultimate breakdown of the family unit. Since workers, especially women and children, were labouring for up to eighteen hours each day, there was very little family contact, and the only time that one was at home was spent sleeping. People also had to share housing with other families, which further contributed to the breakdown of the family unit.

As a result, children received very little education, had stunted growth, and were sickly. They also grew up quite maladjusted, having never been taught how to behave properly Sadler. The living conditions were indeed horrible; working families often lived in slums with little sanitation, and infant mortality skyrocketed.

However, the social changes that took place were not all negative.


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Most classes eventually benefited in some way from the huge profits that were being made, and by most workers were making somewhat better wages. The government, however, did have to eventually intervene in order to put an end to child labour and other unacceptable practices. It was in that the most outspoken and violent movement to protest the Industrial Revolution began. In the first few months of that year, manufacturers in the city of Nottingham began to receive threatening letters from the mysterious "General Ned Ludd and the Army of Redressers.


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  • The concept became known as Luddism , and over the next year the movement spread throughout the industrial centres of England. Damages inflicted were generally restricted to the destruction of factories and mills, but did occasionally extend to violence against people, including the killing of William Horsfall, the owner of a large mill in the area of Yorkshire Luddites - the machine breakers. The government's reaction to Luddism was quick and crushing. Twelve-thousand troops were sent to protect factories in Nottingham and other regions where Luddites were active; at least 23 people were executed for attacks on mills in the summer of , and many others were deported to Australia.

    Although some violence continued, the Luddite movement in England had disintegrated by The Luddites. Although English officials had managed to repress the violence of the Luddites, they could not stop the discontent that was growing across the country. Workers became interested in politics for the first time, demanding better working conditions, less corruption in the government, and universal sufferage. The public assembly at St.

    He published numerous works during his lifetime, the most notable being The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital — Disputed [ edit ] Democracy is the road to socialism. Attributed to Marx in recent years, including in Communism by Tom Lansford, p. Misattributed [ edit ] The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament.

    The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs. Art is always and everywhere the secret confession, and at the same time the immortal movement of its time. Owners of capital will stimulate working class to buy more and more of expensive goods, houses and technology, pushing them to take more and more expensive credits, until their debt becomes unbearable. The unpaid debt will lead to bankruptcy of banks which will have to be nationalized and State will have to take the road which will eventually lead to communism. Said to be a quote from Das Kapital in an anonymous email, this attribution has been debunked at Snopes.

    A number of basic cultural trends, including new literary styles and the spread of science, ran through the entire continent. European states were increasingly locked in diplomatic interaction, culminating in continentwide alliance systems after At the same time, this was a century of growing nationalism , in which individual states jealously protected their identities and indeed established more rigorous border controls than ever before.

    Finally, the European continent was to an extent divided between two zones of differential development. Changes such as the Industrial Revolution and political liberalization spread first and fastest in western Europe—Britain, France, the Low Countries , Scandinavia, and, to an extent, Germany and Italy. Eastern and southern Europe, more rural at the outset of the period, changed more slowly and in somewhat different ways.

    Europe witnessed important common patterns and increasing interconnections, but these developments must be assessed in terms of nation-state divisions and, even more, of larger regional differences. Some trends, including the ongoing impact of the French Revolution, ran through virtually the entire 19th century. Other characteristics, however, had a shorter life span.

    Some historians prefer to divide 19th-century history into relatively small chunks. This comment is entirely justified. The Wordsworth of The Prelude , is the voice of great poetry; but the clapped-out, withered old reactionary of The Excursion and Ruth is fit only for the dustbin. Evans continues: "As a young man he had high hopes for humanity: he had been nurtured in the Lake District, where everything had led him to think well of man. The teaching of Rousseau and his own experience convinced him that man was naturally good. In the French Revolution he saw a great movement for human freedom, welcoming it as many welcomed in our own days the Union of Soviet Republics.

    Wordsworth himself confesses that the greatest shock of his life came when England declared war on the young French Republic. In the years which followed he had to endure an agony of spiritual disillusionment. He saw that the France of the young Buonaparte was following, not the vision of the liberties of man, but the path of Charlemagne. Partly under Burke's influence, he came to regard England as the protector of freedom against this new imperialism. Evans is too kind. Just as many of the middle class fellow travellers of the October revolution swung over to the camp of reaction, using the crimes of Stalin as an excuse for their personal cowardice, so Wordsworth betrayed the ideals of his youth in the most cynical manner, hiding behind the crimes of Bonaparte.


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    The bitter old reactionary tried to hide from his own conscience by burying himself in the hills of the Lake District, where he posed as a poetic mystic, lost amidst the beauties of Nature, where he could in complete safety meditate on the follies of mankind. But poetic inspiration had deserted him entirely. In The Prelude we have fine descriptions of nature, especially Wordsworth's beloved Lake District, where the ecstatic unity of subject and object - the total identity of the poet and nature - reaches a pitch of intensity that brings us close to pantheism.

    By contrast, in late Wordsworth, we have mere bathos, verging on the comic, as when he addresses a spade in a poem incredibly entitled " To the Spade of a Friend an Agriculturalist , Composed as we were labouring together in his Pleasure Ground" i. Here bankrupt politics go hand in hand with bad poetry. In a merciless parody on one of Wordsworth's best-known sonnets, J. Stephen exposes his poetic decline:.

    And, Wordsworth, both are thine Graves, The Crowning privilege , p. Of course, it cannot be maintained that the production of great art or poetry depends on the political standpoint of the artist or writer. The relationship of social developments and art is not so direct or mechanical. But what is true is that great art must be linked to humanity, and thus cannot be utterly indifferent to the fate of the human race. The greatest artists have always been finely tuned - in one way or another - to the changes in society.

    This is particularly true of those great events like wars, religious reformations and revolutions that mark turning points in human history. Great poetry has derived its inspiration from such events which make the soul of the poet vibrate to the heart-beat of history. No-one can deny that the poetry of Wordsworth declined at the same time that he swung to the right in politics. This cannot be ascribed to accident. Wordsworth was inspired by the French Revolution, and his poetic Muse took flight, spurred on by the spirit of youthful generosity and enthusiasm, and by a vision of the future which was full of hope.

    When this vision died, poetic inspiration began to dry up with it. Of course, this did not happen all at once. A capable poet as he was can live for some time on his accumulated skills and can for a time compensate for the lack of human inspiration with technical ability. But it is equally a fact that as time went on, the emptiness of his soul was reflected in an emptiness of his literary production.

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    Inevitably, this affected the personal relations between Wordsworth and Coleridge. They quarrelled with each other and parted company. This process can also be explained by the way in which they broke with their past. The speed with which both men slid into the arms of reaction differed. Wordsworth, the hypocritical "poet of Nature" displayed the greater cynicism and lack of principle.

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    Coleridge followed suit. As early as he wrote: "I have […] snapped my squeaking baby-trumpet of sedition, and have hung up its fragments in the chamber of Penances. It is always the same with intellectuals who desert the revolution. They invariably go to the opposite extreme and "find religion". In the end Coleridge revealed himself to be an out-and-out reactionary with a contempt for the "lower classes", as revealed in a letter to one of his friends on the subject of servants:. Without religious joys and religious terrors, nothing can be expected for the inferior classes of society.

    In turning their back on humanity, both Wordsworth and Coleridge destroyed the source of their poetic inspiration.

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    After all, there is nothing poetic in the bitterness of an old reactionary. In his disillusionment, he attempted to find solace in mysticism and metaphysics. But his inspiration, too, was withering on the vine. Gone was the youthful sparkle and ebullience that characterised him in his revolutionary period. He was now tired, ill and increasingly addicted to laudanum. He felt that his muse was deserting him and complained that he was unable to finish his long poem Christabel. He managed to finish the second part, but the lack of inspiration was so obvious that he gave up all thought of a third.

    He expressed the sad reality in his verse:. These despairing lines have the feel of an epitaph about them. It is the epitaph for the death of English poetry for the remainder of the 19th century. With the later Wordsworth we enter another world: that of middle class Victorian England. Paradoxically, it was Wordsworth himself who condemned the values of Victorian England in his sonnet "The world is too much with us" with its attack on "getting and spending" - the motor-force of 19th century English capitalism.

    Yet he ended up as one of its most enthusiastic converts. The obsession with nature was only a convenient disguise to conceal the crude reality of this hard-hearted, flint-faced world of business, with a profit-and-loss sheet in place of a soul. For the "Lake Poets" it afforded a convenient escape-route from reality. For the newly risen moneyed middle classes who grew prosperous out of the blood, sweat and tears of little children in mines and factories, the products of such poets acted as a sedative, like a consoling sermon on Sunday, or a good joint of roast beef at dinner, or a glass of laudanum before bedtime.

    Unlike Wordsworth and Coleridge, Byron remained loyal to his youthful revolutionary fervour. His innermost nature was revolutionary, but his weakness was his Romanticism. This was reflected in his admiration for Napoleon, just as later Romantics were to become admirers of Stalin without understanding what he really stood for. The poetic spirit rebels against the constraints of tradition and habit and seeks to reshape the world in a new image. Thus, conservative poets are generally bad poets. The later writings of Wordsworth are proof enough of this assertion.

    But not all those poets who set out as revolutionaries deserted the cause. Lord Byron died in Greece, where he had gone to fight for the cause of national liberation. Shelley, whom Marx greatly admired, remained a consistent revolutionary democrat until his death. And the great national poet of Scotland, Robert Burns, also remained a fierce opponent of monarchy, religion and oppression.

    Of the three, it was Byron who made the biggest impact during his lifetime. His poems acted as a major source of inspiration for generations of Romantics, from Alfred de Musset in France to Alexander Pushkin in Russia. Unfortunately, his verses have not lasted well. His most famous poems are very long and belong to a more leisurely age when people had the time and inclination to read such things. But Don Juan still sparkles with a wit that is most un-English, and the shorter lyrical verses can still give much pleasure.

    Don Juan begins with a rebuke to those poets who had sold their soul to the Devil, like Robert "Bob" Southey who had, like so many others, abandoned his revolutionary ideals and become a hack writer, and was finally rewarded for services rendered with a pension from the English government, which made him Poet Laureate, although in practice he had given up poetry for more lucrative journalism and politicking. To this creature, and with a pointed reference to the "Lakers", the "Lake poets", Wordsworth and Coleridge Byron ironically dedicates his epic poem:.

    Lord Byron, who died in Greece when he was still young he was 36 , was seen by his contemporaries as a complete rebel. His generation was forged under the hammer-blows of the great events that flowed from the French revolution. But Byron's revolutionism needed no external source. It flowed from his innermost nature. His active involvement in radical politics began at a very young age. George Gordon, sixth lord of Byron was born into what Thackeray might have called "shabby genteel" surroundings. Abandoned by his father, "Mad Jack", he was short and lame as the result of a physical defect a shortened Achilles tendon.

    But on the other hand he was endowed with a handsome face and an instinctively rebellious temperament, fired by raw energy. But the world into which this natural revolutionary was born was anything but a revolutionary place. Napoleon's final defeat at the battle of Waterloo ushered in a new period of European and British history: a period of triumphant reaction, in which, to quote Marx: "Pope and tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police spies" entered into an anti-revolutionary conspiracy to "exorcise the spectre of Communism.

    This general atmosphere of reaction inevitably affected the psychology of the intellectuals and artists. A whole layer of former supporters of the French Revolution, notably Wordsworth and Coleridge, capitulated and went over completely to the side of the counterrevolution.

    However, a new generation of young poets still upheld the revolutionary tradition. And a new revolutionary force was beginning to take shape - the proletariat. This was reflected in the poetry of both Byron and Shelley. The defeat of Napoleon brought no improvement in the condition of the masses. After there was a deep slump, which paralysed trade and brought widespread unemployment and poverty. Even before this the Continental system had destroyed trade for English manufactured goods. The ranks of the unemployed were swelled by a flood of discharged soldiers and sailors.

    The victors of Waterloo and Trafalgar were forced to beg for crusts of bread in the streets of London, Manchester and Portsmouth. It was a period of great misery for the masses. The living standards of the masses suffered steep falls. In the period the weekly earnings of weavers were 26 shillings, 8 pence. Form - 20 shillings; from - 14 shillings, 7 pence. With this money, it was possible to purchase in equal quantities of flour, oatmeal, potatoes and meat : pounds of food in the first period, pounds in the second, and a mere pounds of food in the third.

    The position of the textile workers was particularly bad. The mood of the masses was turning in a revolutionary direction. The authorities were increasingly alarmed. There were outbreaks of violence and smashing of machines in Lancashire and Yorkshire by the Luddites. These were desperate unemployed working men who had been threatened with hanging for the crime of machine smashing. The violence frightened the ruling class even more. The spectre of revolution loomed large in their minds.

    The young Byron supported the workers. He even wrote a poem in honour of "King Ludd". In he delivered his maiden speech in the House of Lords. This is traditionally a non-controversial speech that is meant to provide the excuse for polite applause. But Byron chose to address the Lords on the subject of Luddism. It was a fiery speech denouncing the evils of capitalism and defending the working class, which was listened to in stony silence by the assembled aristocrats: "These men merely destroyed their looms," the young orator thundered, "which had become impediments to earning their bread.

    Byron was a gifted orator with a flare for the dramatic gesture. To his horror, the speech was met by a blank wall of indifference. Byron's failure to make the slightest dent on the parliamentary benches convinced him that change had to be brought about by other means. He adopted a position strongly reminiscent of anarchism. One might say that occasionally the gesture or pose seemed more important to him than the idea itself.

    But this was entirely characteristic of the Romantics in general. It was also characteristic of many Romantics to admire - even worship - Napoleon, the Corsican upstart who had hijacked the French Revolution in its period of decline. The attraction felt for the person of Bonaparte among the Romantics bears a certain resemblance to the attitude of many foreign intellectuals to Stalin.

    Sincerely sympathising with the cause of the Russian Revolution and the USSR, they lacked the Marxist understanding to be able to analyse the real nature of Stalin's regime or see any difference between it and the regime of workers' democracy established by Lenin and Trotsky in In an analogy to Stalin, Napoleon, the gravedigger of the French Revolution, was seen by many as the continuator of the revolutionary traditions of Wherever his armies set foot, they set about smashing the old order in Europe, and therefore, in a distorted form, they stood for revolution.

    On the other hand, the armies of England everywhere defended the forces of reaction. Nelson, the national hero, hanged the patriots of Naples and delivered them over to torture and murder at the hands of the reactionaries. Inside England, the reactionaries went on the rampage, smashing printing presses and beating up suspected radicals. Byron, though an Englishman, was an admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte, and also an actor of considerable skill.

    Such attachments were dangerous, being considered as unpatriotic and subversive at the time. Byron's attachment to Napoleon reflected, on the one hand, a sincere attachment to the revolutionary cause, which, albeit in a completely distorted form, Bonaparte seemed to represent. On the other, it was an expression of defiance against England and its ruling oligarchy. Byron felt alienated from his native land, he felt he was an outcast - which he was. His revolutionary politics and unconventional behaviour led him to be described as "Mad, bad and dangerous to know".

    It is not surprising that Byron felt ashamed to be English and abandoned the country as soon as he could. In a typical Romantic gesture, he sought refuge in the most lonely and inaccessible places in the Alps. He visited Italy, where he wrote his celebrated Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. He visited exotic places where respectable Europeans of the time did not venture to go - places like Albania and Turkey. He had a portrait of himself painted in Albanian traditional dress. As portrayed in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage , nature is seen, not as in the comforting visions of the later Wordsworth and Constable, a place of tranquil repose and meditation - a place to which to escape - but a turbulent place where waterfalls thunder and huge rocks glower.

    This nature contains a threat to the established order of things - it is an anarchistic nature that knows no rules and cannot be tamed. In fact, it is not nature at all, but a poetic metaphor for the indomitable revolutionary human spirit. Childe Harold was an immediate success in England. Byron was now popular. The publishers were delighted.

    This was better than poetry - it was good business. This was the new capitalist England where everything - and everybody - was for sale, from tea and calico to the consciences of politicians and the souls of poets. Byron himself was a shrewd businessman where money was concerned and drove a hard bargain. He would demand and get a good percentage of the profits. This poet's head may or may not have been in the clouds, but his feet were firmly on the ground. What saves Byron from banality is his sense of humour. He is witty not in an English but in a French way. This is a rarity.

    This wit sparkles and bubbles like champagne. It is full of life, and completely irreverent. It scandalised the British Establishment as much as it delighted the public. Byron was grossly maligned by the reactionaries, not so much for his scandalous sex life but for his politics, his attacks on the establishment and his defence of the underdog. In the end, Byron had to stay abroad. He was joined in Italy by Shelley and his wife, Mary. In exile, they became even more radical and hostile to the Regency and the reactionary government in London. Byron was attracted by the Italian revolutionary secret society, the Carbonari , who were attempting to organise the resistance against Austria.

    He swore he would only return to England after the victory of the revolution which "alone can save the earth from pollution. It was Byron's misfortune to be taken over by the English establishment that savaged him when he was alive and hounded him till he left the country, never to return. Copies of his masterpiece, Don Juan , had to be smuggled back into England where they were sold in cheap editions to middle class and working class readers sympathetic to the Radical cause.

    This subversive book was an instant success, selling thousands virtually overnight. This fact showed how the mood of the masses was open to revolutionary ideas. Byron did not cause this mood, but he connected with it through his forceful, witty and biting verses and his merciless satire on the existing order.

    However, Byron was ever the man of action who believed that a man should be judged not by what he writes but by what he does. In he set sail for Greece to participate in the war for independence against the Turks. He arrived in Cephalonia at a time when Greece was in the grip of revolutionary turmoil. Byron felt at the bottom of his soul the call of revolution. He even abandoned poetry. Even his letters of this period became prosaic, as other demands took priority. The law of revolution is a stern master and admits no equal.

    When the cannons roar the Muse is silent. It would have been nice to think that he had died in action, fighting for Greek freedom, but it was not quite like that. He died of dysentery in Messalonghi, without having fired a shot in anger. Marx said of Byron that it was fortunate that he had died so young, whereas it was tragic that Shelley had not lived longer: "The true difference between Byron and Shelley consists in this, that those who understand and love them consider it fortunate that Byron died in his thirty-sixth year, for he would have become a reactionary bourgeois had he lived longer; conversely, they regret Shelley's death at the age of twenty-nine, because he was a revolutionary through and through and would consistently have stood along with the vanguard of socialism.

    Why was Marx so sceptical about Byron's attachment to the revolutionary cause? He probably sensed that, behind all the noisy scandals and revolutionary rhetoric, there was just another bourgeois dilettante and poseur. Here the form was more important than the content. Marx's comments underline the difference between the two men. For all its sound and fury, Byron's revolutionism was shallow. It was all on the surface. Byron was particularly careful about his image. He had himself painted dressed in a white shirt, carelessly unbuttoned at the collar, covered in an immense black cloak.

    In this way was born the myth of the "Byronic hero". But on closer inspection we see that this untamed beast is only a pose, a creature of the imagination. Here we have a beast that is very tame indeed: it is a sheep in wolves' clothing, a toothless lion, a paper tiger to terrify young society ladies - a drawing-room "revolutionary". The portrait of the Byronic hero shows the ideal of the bourgeoisie - its imaginary face, not its real bare backside. Byron remained a rebel to the end, yet there was something superficial about his radicalism. He never fully broke with his bourgeois-aristocratic standpoint.

    The success of Byron's poetry was no accident. The Romantic dream allowed the bourgeois - or at least their poetically inclined sons and daughters - an escape from the crude reality of the market economy and the "cash nexus". By immersing themselves in the adventures of Manfred, roaming solitary in the Alps, or the Corsair dashing from one adventure to another on the high seas, they could forget for an hour or so the sordid world of pounds, shillings and pence.

    Byron's verses were popular because they presented the bourgeoisie with an image of itself, not as it was, but as it would have liked to see itself. Romanticism in general, and the poetry of Byron in particular, corresponds to the period in the early 19th century when the storm and stress of the French Revolution had calmed down, when the bourgeoisie had set its fat rump firmly in the saddle, and was getting down to the serious business of making money. In Romanticism the bourgeoisie relived the dreams of its revolutionary youth - but from the comfort of its armchair.

    The "free spirit" of Childe Harold and Don Juan manifested itself as free trade. The anarchistic poet was just the idealised embodiment of the anarchy of the market. This is the eternal contradiction of all forms of anarchism, Romanticism included: that in rebelling against the bourgeois system in its most superficial manifestations, it merely reaffirms the bourgeois system in its essentials. By posing the question of revolt as the revolt of the individual against a heartless and unfeeling world, it never for a moment abandons the standpoint of individual egoism - that is, the standpoint of the bourgeoisie.

    Unlike Byron, who was adopted by the British establishment after his death, Shelley was always an outcast. This is no accident. He was undoubtedly the most consistently revolutionary of all English writers. From his earliest years he defended the most advanced revolutionary-democratic views, including militant atheism and republicanism, but also socialism.

    It is no accident that the name of Shelley was kept alive by the working class when it was out of favour with the "respectable" reading public in England. Indeed, the latter met the news of his death with complete indifference. Whereas Byron's rebellion could be written off as the expression of aristocratic eccentricity or extravagance, this was an altogether more serious type of revolt.

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    They sensed that here was a serious enemy of all they stood for. Shelley hated injustice with a passion that never deserted him to the end of his tragically short life. The poetry of Shelley is impregnated with the spirit of revolutionary democracy :. The young Shelley, expelled from Eton for propagating atheism, embraced the French Revolution with a passionate enthusiasm.