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The Industrial Revolution and Work in Nineteenth Century Europe. Front Cover Taylor & Francis, Oct 3, - History - pages Rewriting Histories.
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Between and , the populations of major countries increased between 50 and percent, chiefly as a result of the use of new food crops such as the potato and a temporary decline in epidemic disease. Population growth of this magnitude compelled change. Peasant and artisanal children found their paths to inheritance blocked by sheer numbers and thus had to seek new forms of paying labour. Families of businessmen and landlords also had to innovate to take care of unexpectedly large surviving broods.

These pressures occurred in a society already attuned to market transactions, possessed of an active merchant class, and blessed with considerable capital and access to overseas markets as a result of existing dominance in world trade. Heightened commercialization showed in a number of areas. Vigorous peasants increased their landholdings, often at the expense of their less fortunate neighbours, who swelled the growing ranks of the near-propertyless.

These peasants, in turn, produced food for sale in growing urban markets. Domestic manufacturing soared, as hundreds of thousands of rural producers worked full- or part-time to make thread and cloth, nails and tools under the sponsorship of urban merchants. Craft work in the cities began to shift toward production for distant markets, which encouraged artisan-owners to treat their journeymen less as fellow workers and more as wage labourers.

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Production expanded, leading by the end of the 18th century to a first wave of consumerism as rural wage earners began to purchase new kinds of commercially produced clothing, while urban middle-class families began to indulge in new tastes, such as uplifting books and educational toys for children. In this context an outright industrial revolution took shape, led by Britain , which retained leadership in industrialization well past the middle of the 19th century.

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In , British steam engines were generating , horsepower out of a European total of , Nevertheless, though delayed by the chaos of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, many western European nations soon followed suit; thus, by British steam-generated horsepower made up less than half the European total, with France, Germany, and Belgium gaining ground rapidly. Governments and private entrepreneurs worked hard to imitate British technologies after , by which time an intense industrial revolution was taking shape in many parts of western Europe, particularly in coal-rich regions such as Belgium, northern France, and the Ruhr area of Germany.

Women in Nineteenth-Century Europe

German pig iron production, a mere 40, tons in , soared to , tons a decade later and reached , tons by the early s. French coal and iron output doubled in the same span—huge changes in national capacities and the material bases of life. Technological change soon spilled over from manufacturing into other areas. Increased production heightened demands on the transportation system to move raw materials and finished products.

Massive road and canal building programs were one response, but steam engines also were directly applied as a result of inventions in Britain and the United States. Steam shipping plied major waterways soon after and by the s spread to oceanic transport. Railroad systems, first developed to haul coal from mines, were developed for intercity transport during the s; the first commercial line opened between Liverpool and Manchester in During the s local rail networks fanned out in most western European countries, and national systems were planned in the following decade, to be completed by about In communication, the invention of the telegraph allowed faster exchange of news and commercial information than ever before.

New organization of business and labour was intimately linked to the new technologies. Workers in the industrialized sectors laboured in factories rather than in scattered shops or homes. Steam and water power required a concentration of labour close to the power source.

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Concentration of labour also allowed new discipline and specialization, which increased productivity. The new machinery was expensive, and businessmen setting up even modest factories had to accumulate substantial capital through partnerships, loans from banks, or joint-stock ventures. While relatively small firms still predominated, and managerial bureaucracies were limited save in a few heavy industrial giants, a tendency toward expansion of the business unit was already noteworthy.

Commerce was affected in similar ways, for new forms had to be devised to dispose of growing levels of production.

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  4. Small shops replaced itinerant peddlers in villages and small towns. In Paris, the department store , introduced in the s, ushered in an age of big business in the trading sector. Gordon highlighted that definitions both of what constituted work and its level of skill were informed by the gendered bodies that performed such work, determining how nineteenth-century contemporaries classified and remunerated different forms of work, and also the significance given to such labour within narratives of Scottish economic development by twentieth-century historians.

    Looking at other forms of resistance painted a different picture also see: Gordon, Their inclusion also challenged any sense of a cohesive or unified working-class, as the multiple lines of power in operation were exposed, and working-class men became not only oppressed, but oppressor. As divisions appear within social classes, class as a unified category breaks down, requiring a rethinking of social relations.

    For example, Scottish artisans defined themselves through participation within fraternal networks centred on drinking, bawdy songs and stories, misogyny and casual violence.

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    Class identity, therefore, was by no means a simple function of occupation. Patriarchal gender models remained central to ideas of social order. In this context, it was participation in a shared social, more than economic, world that created a cohesive class identity. Building on this framework, they also highlighted the extent to which consumption became a central marker of social class.

    What a person purchased, wore and how they decorated their homes became central to class identity, both creating a sense of community and demarcating the middle classes from outsiders. At the same time, consumption could be used to carefully delineate hierarchy within the middle classes, as different levels of wealth allowed access to different types of goods and degrees of purchasing freedoms see also Gordon and Nair, Far from class being a product of production then, class becomes a product of consumption, a model that places women, often seen as the main agents of consumption practices, at the heart of class identity see also Abrams and Fleming, Moreover, such an approach emphasises the usefulness of intersectionality as a theoretical model, as it requires greater attention to the intersection of different facets of identity that shape purchasing choices, including ethnic identity, sexuality, the physical body, but also retains an awareness of the structural constraints in creating cohesive social groupings.

    Yet, very quickly, historians found that a model focused on social classes was unworkable within an early modern context. Instead, the terms of rank, estate or social status became popularised as historians attempted to provide a sense of the variety of layers of hierarchy within early modern society, as well as the distinction of power within them Leneman, ; Dodgshon, Perhaps reflecting underlying Marxist influences, there was considerable debate about how these hierarchies were maintained or dissolved during times of political and social upheaval, such as during the Scottish Reformation, the British Civil Wars, the Restoration, the Revolution and the Jacobite rebellions Macinnes, ; Brown, These rethinkings opened up discussion on the nature of power relationships within early modern Scottish society, allowing the conversation to move beyond the movement of power between social groups to an exploration of how people experienced power.

    New church histories focused on the ways that in early modern Scotland social power, particularly at a local level, was informed by public adherence to a morality determined by post-Reformation religious discourse, as well as the social hierarchies of rank and a patriarchal gender hierarchy, where women were subordinate to their husbands or fathers but not entirely denied autonomy.

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    Utilising kirk and presbytery session records, such historians created a picture of early modern power relationships at a local and regional level, warning us against making too sharp a distinction between the male and female experience. Ordinary people, especially the poor who were reliant on church support to survive, typically had little choice but to submit to church discipline. In contrast, the social elite had considerably more autonomy, reinforced by their roles as patrons and landlords to the clergy Todd, ; Graham, Women were more likely to be disciplined for fornication a central concern of the early modern kirk due to their capacity to get pregnant, making it difficult to disguise their sin.

    Because it was morally and financially beneficial to the church to ensure that men were also held responsible for their sins, fathers of illegitimate children could be implicated. Yet, it was possible for men to deny paternity and so escape censure; fathers could be more mobile than pregnant women and choose to leave, rather than face the scrutiny of the kirk session and the local community. At the same time, women whose sexual partners did not marry them after pregnancy were often left to bear the brunt of both childcare and the consequences, including social exclusion, loss of employment and poverty.

    The penalties of unwanted pregnancy therefore led a number of women to commit infanticide, a crime where they made up a majority of the accused Kilday, ; Abrams, ; on the need to reintegrate the body into gender history see: Roper, In this way, the structures implemented by the kirk placed greater restrictions over the lives of women than their male counterparts. Rather than an imposition of authority, the kirk, in its local context, appears as an institution in which ordinary people held a vested interest, perhaps unsurprising given the level of adherence to the Presbyterian faith in early modern Scotland Todd, It has been central to the development of historiography around the development of the state in early modern Scotland.

    This is most obvious in histories of the Scottish witch-hunts. Larner demonstrated the ways that witch-hunts usually followed after central government openly expressed concerns about witches, and she notes the ways that the social elite were deeply implicated in the policing and prosecution of witchcraft. With all witchcraft accusations in Scotland being reviewed by the Privy Council and many originating from the kirk session, the state and Church were involved in the Scottish witch-hunts from the lowest to the highest level.

    In this context, he argues, the witch-hunts were a manifestation of the power of the post-Reformation social elite, in which male professionals such as lawyers and Protestant ministers were increasingly influential members pp. The witch-hunts were, Goodare argues, a means for an increasingly interventionist state to impose authority upon women.

    This imposition of authority must itself be viewed within an overall context of an increase in the public prosecution of crime during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and the inclusion of sexual deviance within the definition of crime.

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    In this context, the common assertion that a female witch had sex with the Devil becomes culturally connected to other far more common female sexual offences, namely fornication and adultery. Although accusations for witchcraft were fairly rare outside periods of nationwide panic in —1, , , and —2, the threat of the accusation may have encouraged women to conform to patriarchal ideals concerning female behaviour.

    Working conditions during the industrial revolution

    As Louise Yeoman demonstrates, while wealth and influence may have enabled many women to escape accusations or convictions for witchcraft, for a small minority, it led to them being indicted by male relatives. Her article investigated the cases of seven women accused of witchcraft to illustrate their origins in family rivalries centred upon property disputes and the contestation of female familial power in early modern Scotland. By comparison the Scottish Parliament was ostensibly a male space it was composed of entirely male members ; however, despite its institutional maleness, noblewomen could influence parliamentary politics through informal means.

    While unable to sit in parliament, the fact that most political decisions were made in private homes, as well as the significant economic and social resources that many elite women had at their disposal, gave women significant political influence and even authority. For women, like Anne, duchess of Hamilton, who held her title in her own right, her entitlement to intervene in her local community as well as national affairs went relatively unchallenged—rank trumping gender.