The first intellectuals to examine the effects of industrialization were products of the Enlightenment
All Enlightenment thinkers believed so strongly in science and progress, in the reliability of human reason, and the need for total freedom they could only see the good that the Industrial Revolution had wrought.
They argued that human reason, unchecked by government regulation, would eventually produce paradise on Earth
Ironically, these writers were first liberals.
What is liberalism?
believed that people are inherently good, rational, and reasonable.
Therefore, they don’t need absolute governments, state churches, censorship, and surveillance to tell them how to behave.
Rather, a free interchange of ideas, goods, and services would result in an enlightened utopia for all.
Gov. regulations and laws only retards economic progress
Economies are healthy when individuals pursue their own self-interest. When they did so, an “invisible hand’’- the market- would take care of all.
Pursuit of individual self-interest, multiplied across society, generated demand, production, distribution, and wealth, which trickles down to all.
Adam Smith: The first liberal to confront industrialization
Thomas Malthus’s Essay on Population of 1798 was almost as famous, but far more frightening.
Malthus’s reason and scientific inquires revealed something darker: a world doomed by simple math.
He noted that the world’s food supply increases geometrically: it doubles, and then it squares itself. The conclusion is obvious: sooner or later, with the inevitability of a scientific law that population is going to out-run the food supply.
High taxes were placed on cheap newspaper to keep them out of the hands of literate workers
George Canning and Sir Robert Peel
Around 1820, a new generation of British politicians like George Canning and Sir Robert Peel took power.
They came from middle class backgrounds.
They were raised on the Classical Liberals and Utilitarian’s
They launched a series of reforms, designed to wipe away old, irrational, and oppressive measures.
By the time of Napoleon’s fall, France was well on its own way to industrialization.
Moreover, the revolution had accelerated the development of an ambitious middle class while seeming defeat of the revolution in 1815 had also restored the monarchy and aristocracy to a qualified power in France.
In other words, you have a strong middle class, but remember that the Ancien Regime is to some extent restored. This was going to lead to a conflict.
Louis XVIII was restored Bourbon king who presided over France between 1814-1824.
He tried to unite the nation
His legislature was divided between conservative Royalists, or ‘’Ultras’’-they wanted to scrap the constitution and revive the glory days of Louis XIV
Charles X mounted a massive coronation designed to send a signal about the sanctity of the French monarchy.
He compensated aristocrats whose land had been confiscated during the French Revolution. He restored control of education to the church in 1830, he issued the Five Ordinances, a French version of the Six Acts
He dissolved the legislature.
He imposed a strict censorship of the press.
In short, Charles X, having lived through the French Revolution, was determined to undo it.
Second French Revolution
1830, Paris erupted into a second French Revolution.
Middle-class intellectuals wrote pamphlets denouncing the Five Ordinances.
Workers and students erected barricades in the narrow medieval streets of Paris, paralyzing the city and making it impossible to bring in troops.
Beginning on July 26, there were three days of street fighting.
Charles X, abdicated and fled to Britain.
The French legislature chose Louis Philippe, duke of Orleans, in his place hence, the term the ‘’July monarchy
Louis Philippe was an aristocrat with the soul of a factory owner.
He was sort of a ‘’citizen-king.’’ His virtues were thoroughly middle class.
He approved a liberal constitution that widened the franchise to include more of the middle class
He removed censorship of the press.As for workers, who you remember had mounted the barricades along with students and paid most of the price, they didn’t get much out of the July Revolution.
By the 1830s
Liberalism had given the middle classes in Britain and France what they wanted. It had given them the franchise and political power it implied
It had removed old irrational aristocratic privileges and censorship. It had given them complete economic freedom.
As for workers, the franchise and political power continued to be denied them.
It would not be until the second half of the 19th century that Mill’s later idea, and with them a greater sense of responsibility for workers, would begin to gain traction with the middle class and government.