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To what extent had a middling class emerged in Britain by 1832 - Essay Example

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A Critical Analysis of the Growth of the British Middle Class between 1750 and 1832: An Economic Evolution or a Political Revolution? Introduction “Sometime during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, we have been told, an industrial revolution transformed Britain”1…
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To what extent had a middling class emerged in Britain by 1832
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Download file to see previous pages The nobility controlled political and economic power in Britain whilst the commoners formed the working class. The Industrial Revolution was however based on the potential to make wealth and control estates. Due to the possibility of commoners becoming successful in business or in industrial affairs, a significant proportion of members of this class became wealthy and developed a different social life. Gradually, the noble class accepted a distinct social class of commoners who were able to wield a lot of influence and could not be considered like the destitute paupers. This culminated in the Reform Bill of 1832 which recognised the middle class3. However, it is apparent that a lot of transformation occurred in the period prior to 1832, which ushered in the need to recognise the 'middle class' as a distinct social grouping in England. This paper will study the period circa 1780 to 1832 to ascertain the important elements and aspects of the emergence of the British middle class. This paper will establish a historiography of the British middle class and its beginnings. Fundamental Debates Basically, the British society before the mid-eighteenth century was mainly ran by the nobility who formed a top tier of the society4. This include people from noble births and this was in sync with the teachings of Medieval times that kings and nobles had the divine right to rule over communities. In examining the pre-Industrial revolution period, Carmadine goes further to trace the different classes back to the Civil War and Great Rebellion which ushered Britain from an era of serfdom to a period where things were shaped in a capitalist manner5. However, by the mid-1700s, the British isles was basically agrarian. And this allowed the aristocracy to maintain an oligopoly over matters in the country. Wealth was strongly connected to the distribution and control of land and this allowed the aristocracy to have a great dominion over the way things were done in Britain6. Then came the Industrial Revolution which transformed the economy significantly and had an effect on the way things were done. This caused the society to be based more on wealth and money rather than just an agrarian system which was tied to beliefs and acceptance of nobility. The discussion on the growth of the middle class in Britain is based on some important factors that can be examined in order to justify why the society changed. From research, it is identified that two fundamental schools of thoughts exist to explain why and how the middle class evolved in the late 1700s to take over from the status quo. The first idea is based on the premise that the middle class evolved as a challenge to the aristocracy that existed and held an oligopoly over things. Under this argument, it is said that there was the need to liberalize and recognize the middle class and this caused the changes that culminated in the Reform Bill of 1832. The second school of thought identified that the middle class evolved directly from the wealthy industrialists who made the best of opportunities that came with urbanisation, industrialisation and the growth of capital through investments. This group became significantly powerful that they were able to rise up and effect changes. Due to this, the aristocracy had no choice but to recognise them. The Economic Evolutionary School of Thought. This school of thought identifies that the gradual economic strength that some members of the old proletariat society acquired after ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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