Class and Class Consciousness in the Industrial Revolution by R. J. Morris

By R. J. Morris

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Extra resources for Class and Class Consciousness in the Industrial Revolution 1780–1850

Sample text

Each event raised the level of working-class consciousness, driving the working class towards an institutionalised, constitutionalised and powerful place in British society. Indeed some historians and at least one sociologist see the progress of the nineteenth century not as an institutionalisation of class conflict, but as a continuous process of claims for civil rights 30 which were progressively granted [Marshall, 1950]. Much of the literature of class contains detailed discussion of one or more of these organisations or events.

What happened was the creation of economic conditions in which the relationships of commercial and capitalist production could no longer remain stable. Let Uf. examine how this result was gained for four very different but important sections of the labour force. Agricultural labourers were important not only because they formed the largest portion of the labour force but also because they and the peasant small-holding families from which they came were the source of the urban wage labour force essential to industrial growth.

First there were those who controlled the state and sought to maintain the stability of the state, and then there were those sections of the middle class who aspired to gain a dominant and controlling position within British society for their own social class. As such an effort also involved maintaining social stability, there was co-operation as well as tension between the ideas and actions of these two groups. It 58 is within this framework of analysis that Perkin's discussion of the struggle of ideals might be developed.

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