Britain: War and relatively Short Period Essay

Submitted By gabriellesienna1995
Words: 875
Pages: 4

“Britain was on the brink of Revolution” Explain with reference to your studies of workers protests from 1799-1834. How far do you agree with this statement?
Revolution is such a strong word to be used to describe the situation of England at that time, as it states that there must if been some sort of change in power or structure that takes place in a relatively short period of time. This can be seen in the year 1799 as it became a very significant period for Great Britain as it effectively outlawed the trade unions, which are also known as the combination acts. The act was passed because of the fear that workers may strike and throughout 1799-1834, there were a number of revolts in Britain but it can be challenged as to whether it was at the brink of revolution. It became apparent that there were several issues in England when the wars in France has finished, these issues included economic, political and social problems. There is argument to say that the French War was the catalyst in the problems that England suffered although others believe we would have suffered these problems in the end anyway. The widespread unhappiness within Britain meant there was need for change, although some of these changes caused distress among the population and as result of changes, groups such as the Luddites infested England and Britain.
The main reason behind the revolution in France was because of the public’s annoyance towards King Louis XIV, because of his inability to deal with the rapidly declining living conditions, inhospitable food shortages and severe religious intolerances. The French Revolution had left Britain with a huge debt, which left most of the population unemployed and many people feeling that the foreign affairs were becoming too much of a priority in Britain’s domestic affairs which led to increased anger and frustration amongst the people of Britain. This made the British Government wary of the actions the public may take at this point because they didn’t want the people to overthrow the monarch similarly to what had happened in France.
The Luddites were portrayed as violent groups who rioted and destroyed the machinery that had put skilled tradesmen out of work. The popularity of the group was mainly in the period from 1811 – 1816 as they managed to gain reasonable support for their ‘cause’. The reason behind many of the Luddites and other groups actions during the period were that they felt as if some of the government’s acts were detrimental to the country. A significant number of the population did have revolutionary ideas but never put them into action because the popular opinion at the time was ‘revolution’ it was difficult for people to have a different opinion.
Although a lot of the views and portrayals of the luddites where of men with blackened faces who attacked factories and mills at night, these reports came from industrial northern towns such as Lancashire and Yorkshire, which are tainted slightly. From our information and resources today we can see that the men mainly consisted of skilled craftsmen, who felt as if their livelihoods were under threat due to the introduction of new machinery and that because of this machinery they faced unemployment. One limitation of the reports of the Luddites is the fact that in 1811, many people could not read or write, so when asked to describe