The Industrial Revolution Of The 19th Century

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The 19th century brought about a time of rapid industrialization and social change for Europe. With the advancement of the Industrial Revolution came a new class of poor, urban factory workers, forced to toil under brutal conditions for meager pay. On the other side of the ever-widening wealth gap lay the new aristocracy: the landowners and the business owners that controlled the means of production. Karl Marx, a revolutionary socialist thinker, and his colleague Friedrich Engels watched as the proletariat fell to its knees, bent over before the bourgeoise and begging for mercy. Marx and Engels responded to the pleas of the exploited working class with the publishing of the Communist Manifesto. It spoke of the booming urban population, the boundless metropolitan poverty, and the outrageous social inequalities. The manifesto was simply a reaction to the class struggle between the rich and the poor, the Have’s and the Have-Not’s. It was a call to action to end the exploitation of the proletariat, to overthrow the capitalists and create a perfect communist society.
The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century gave the societies of European states a new appearance by bringing about rapid transformation in both the workplace and the household. Before the eighteenth century most people lived in rural, parochialist farmlands that were spread thin across Europe’s agricultural landscape. Most work was done in either the aforementioned farmlands or in small shops. However, the development of industry and urbanization changed this. The industrializing west of Europe had the largest population increases, with the populace surging by 10 million in just 50 years. The once small town of Manchester represents perfectly the quintessential indust...

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... while the number of university students in Russia in the 1840’s was 4,600 out of a population of 50 million. A simple inability to pay for schooling was not the sole reason for the significant lack of European students, rather, children of working class families spent most of each day laboring in factories to contribute to their family’s income.
The Communist Manifesto is, at its core, a call for the workers of the world to unite. Simply by being apart of European society during the 19th century, both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels witnessed the oppression felt by the working class. Their manifesto offered the vision of a new way of life, where there is an equal distribution of wealth along with economic and social equality for its citizens. They rejected the capitalist system, where the working class’ worth is measured only in the quantity of goods it can produce.
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