SH10221-R
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I am currently attempting to write an Undergraduate essay on why the working class were so politically radical but I am unsure if my approach to the essay is correct and was wondering if anyone could help?
I believe it is because of change in the economic climate i.e. The shift from a rural economy to a capitalist one did not benefit all especially the labouring classes who were highly exploitative made to work long hours in the most dire conditions.
Also the growing class struggle. The tyranny of the Aristocracy who implemented laws which often punished the working class more severely than any other. The growing divide between Aristocracy and laboring class is crucial to the argument. It made the working class more conscious of who they were and what there social status was.
This manifested into series of strikes and riots: Luddites, Tolpuddle Martyrs, Spa Fields riots, Riots in Sheffield and fundamentally which sought to society a more fairer society by including the working class into the political spectrum and allowing them the right to vote.
I have look at works by E.P Thompson, Engels, Marx etc, D Thompson and Hobsbawm but I feel like I have lost sight of the question as to why the working class were so politically radical and just described why they were so radical.
IF anyone can help me that would be great!!! I am in desperate need!!
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AndrewGrace
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why the working class were so politically radical?

I would focus on the period roughly 1810-1900 and note that the key theme is the dominance of the 'Ancien Regime' (Aristocracy, Church and the monarchy) and the desire of those in power to maintain this at all cost.

-Key areas to look at

-Publication of ideas associated with the French Revolution > e.g Thomas Paine's 'The Rights of Man'

-Mass unemployment & economic downturn following the Napoleonic wars. Alongside the Corn Laws and the repressive legislation introduced by Lord Liverpool in the period 1815-20 > Consider this in terms of lack of political representation and discontent with what was an 'Aristocratic' government

-The political nature of Chartism

-Growth of the Trade Union movement/ The rise of Labour. Coupled with the 'Great Depression' (1873-1896) and the growing popularity of Socialism and the works of Marx (Look at 'Socialist groups/societies' in this period) > Largely considered in terms of the 1867 and 1884 Reform Acts


- Growth of 'Class consciousness' in the 1880s > Can be considered in terms of the rise of the Labour party and demand for representation in the form of a party for the 'workers'
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ageshallnot
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I would suggest that the key word in this question is 'so'.
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AndrewGrace
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Also yes, ageshallnot is correct. You are focusing on 'causal' factors (those that encourage radicalism/political radicalism)

You need to address the 'so' by also discussing 'enabling' factors such as increased education by the end of the 19th century and the advances in technology; the railways and communication devices, which arguably increased the scale of working class political radicalism during the victorian era, as it allowed a more co-ordinated effort to be orchestrated.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by SH10221-R)
I am currently attempting to write an Undergraduate essay on why the working class were so politically radical but I am unsure if my approach to the essay is correct and was wondering if anyone could help?
You have done a TSR special here. TSR is littered with threads asking why some tendentious statement is true; "why do red-headed girls play hard to get" etc without ever seeking to prove the truth of the major premise. You are doing this in an academic context.

Were the working class politically radical? Arguably the British working class built Mechanics' Institutes not barricades. Workers of the World Unite...and set up a grocery store. Tens of thousands of working class men met every Saturday in late Victorian England...to watch 22 men kick a ball about. In 1848 there was armed revolt all over Europe with crowned heads falling like ninepins but in Britain we create a working class insurance company; the Pru.

You do not have to change your opinion, but you need to recognise in your essay that the radicalism of the working classes is not a self-evident proposition. The Victorian era ended with massive working class support for an Imperialist war in South Africa.
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sherlock_lover_1
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The ironic thing of your statement is I have red hair haha.
Sorry made me laugh.
Thanks guys!
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ageshallnot
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[
(Original post by AndrewGrace)
Also yes, ageshallnot is correct. You are focusing on 'causal' factors (those that encourage radicalism/political radicalism)

You need to address the 'so' by also discussing 'enabling' factors such as increased education by the end of the 19th century and the advances in technology; the railways and communication devices, which arguably increased the scale of working class political radicalism during the victorian era, as it allowed a more co-ordinated effort to be orchestrated.
(Original post by nulli tertius)
You have done a TSR special here. TSR is littered with threads asking why some tendentious statement is true; "why do red-headed girls play hard to get" etc without ever seeking to prove the truth of the major premise. You are doing this in an academic context.

Were the working class politically radical? Arguably the British working class built Mechanics' Institutes not barricades. Workers of the World Unite...and set up a grocery store. Tens of thousands of working class men met every Saturday in late Victorian England...to watch 22 men kick a ball about. In 1848 there was armed revolt all over Europe with crowned heads falling like ninepins but in Britain we create a working class insurance company; the Pru.

You do not have to change your opinion, but you need to recognise in your essay that the radicalism of the working classes is not a self-evident proposition. The Victorian era ended with massive working class support for an Imperialist war in South Africa.
My brief comment has been interpreted more accurately by Nulli in this instance...
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sherlock_lover_1
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Can I say I know what factors made the working class more radical.
I wouldn't write the essay without providing evidence as to why so thanks for your advice.
I just didn't list it all as I might as well have wrote out my whole essay
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ageshallnot
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Is this essay a resubmission? I ask because you posted a similar thread back in April, and it is an odd time of year to be writing an essay.
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SH10221-R
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I've been very poorly. So it's been extended
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by SH10221-R)
I've been very poorly. So it's been extended
OK, good luck with it. Hopefully you have something more to go on now.
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