The Industrial "Revolution"
The industrialization of Europe, like the French Revolution, left a permanent mark on society. Life as it was described in the 18th century changed drastically; classes shifted, wealth increased, and nations began assuming national identities. Describing this industrialization as a revolution is apt - despite the longer timeframe involved, the social consequences and economic changes that the world has faced because of industrialization easily equate the political effects that any of the European revolutions had. The changes can not be underestimated in importance to society today.
Effects of the Industrial Revolution on Politics
Although Britain had become a constitutional monarchy a century earlier, the vast majority of the population remained disenfranchised from the electoral system. As industrial strength grew along with a more forcible middle class, electoral reform was a necessity to balance the new society's power structure.
* Before 1832, only 6% of the male population could vote - represented by aristocrats who owned large plots of land in the countryside and other property (Haberman).
* By 1832, the middle class factory owners wanted political power to match their new-found economic punch - this resulted in the Reform Bill of 1832 which enfranchised 20% of the male population to vote (Stearns).
* The Reform Bill also redistributed electoral districts to better reflect the large populations of city centres. Before, most of the electoral power could be found in the countryside where aristocrats owned vast properties (Stearns).
* The middle-class became more or less satisfied, but workers were still not represented by the British electoral system (Haberman).
The dissent and insubordination of the English workingmen reached its peak in the mid- nineteenth century with Chartism, an ideology that called for political reform in the country. Its name was based on the People's Charter, a document...