Historical Interpretation of Economic-Social Change

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Historical Interpretation of Economic-Social Change The problem when looking at historical interpretations of economic-social change is that it is very difficult for the historian to comment without any of his or her personal political bias, it is for this reason that both sides of the standard of living debate must be looked at side by side. Historians commenting on the standard of living debate can be classified into two categories, the 'pessimists' who believe that the conditions for the working classes deteriorated, and the 'optimists' who hold the view that conditions improved with industrialisation. Historians when writing about the standard of living debate, attempt to explain the winners and losers of industrialisation by their own interpretation of evidence, as the study of the English working class has always been a politically biased subject. A pessimistic observer of Industrial Manchester was Friedrich Engels who wrote The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. This primary source is valuable, as Engels' father owned the factory in Manchester, which Engels had been sent to manage. Engels therefore had real experience of life in the city and his father's factory, and wrote with a social conscience. In describing Manchester following industrialisation Engels comments on the segregation in housing of the working class and middle class and identifies the distinct areas. The south bank of the Irk housing working class families "contain unqualifiedly the most horrible dwellings which I have yet beheld…..there stands ,a privy without a door, so dirty that the inhabitants can pass into and out of the court... ... middle of paper ... ...ilas Marner, London, Penguin Books Ltd Tonge, Neil (1993,2002) Industrialisation and Society 1700-1914, Cheltenham, Nelson Thornes Ltd Mathias, Peter (1969). The First Industrial Nation, London, Methuen & Co Ltd http://www.brainyencyclopedia.com/encyclopedia/d/da/das_kapital.html accessed 18/10/04 http://www.learningcurve.gov.uk/ http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/classics/manifesto.html#Notes - accessed 27/10/04 www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1844engels.html - accessed 28/10/04 http://www.bartleby.com/65/to/ToynbeeA.html -accessed 28/10/04 www.mcrh.mmu.ac.uk/confer/regid/jw.htm - accessed 29/10/04 www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wwollstonecraft.htm - accessed 29/10/04 www.faithnet.org.uk/Science/Sociology/feminism.htm - accessed 29/10/04 www.srcf.ucam.org/wu/feminism.txt - accessed 29/10/04
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