Industrial Revolution Change

Published: 2021-09-10 04:05:11
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Category: Industrial Revolution

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How did the industrial revolution change the way working class were policed. In this essay I will research into the industrial revolution and how this affected the working class, I will look at the way society was policed before and how it changed during and after the revolution. The Industrial revolution began around 1750 and gradually spread across Britain, the changes to Britons agricultural, manufacturing, mining and transport had a huge effect on the socio-economic and cultural conditions in the UK and had a major impact on the way we live our lives today.
In eighteenth century Britain there were three primary social classes, the peasants, the bourgeoisie and the aristocrats, conditions of the working class or peasants were very bad. The peasants had to work for everything they had. Hunger was very common among the poor and very low times all the people could eat was whatever bread they could find. The cities were often crowded and the people had to live very dirty and over populated areas. Sickness and disease were rife. Contagious diseases were extremely common. Prejudice against peasants often meant they could not get treatments.
Life outside the cities wasn’t any easier. Families and farmers were often found sharing shelter with their animals. The industrial revolution helped to urbanise Britain. The machinery that was invented replaced farm workers which resulted in many of the unemployed farm workers moving into the city looking for jobs in factories, this resulted in an influx of new machinery and tools which would carry on the revolution Britain. At the time of the industrial revolution the English parliament was run by merchant and capitalist classes so the interests were mainly that of the wealthy upper class.
The working conditions in most of the factories were terrible and the employees often worked long hours in very hot and dangerous environments, this lead to high mortality rates. However between 1819 and 1874 Acts were established which provided safer, more humane conditions for workers. In the 18th century there were no public officials’ equivalent to the police or district attorneys, English law stated that any Englishman could prosecute any crime; it was his job to file charges and find evidence to get justice, those who did take the role of policing often in their spare time and were unpaid.
Constables main tasks were to collect taxes and transport the accused to court. However often the constables were corrupt and were often incompetent or ineffective. Brothers, Henry Fielding (1707-54) and Sir John Fielding structured the first effective police force, they wanted justice and developed a primitive record keeping system, and this banded eight Westminster constables and pioneered a police force that was known as the Bow Street Runners. The Bow Street Runners gained trust of the public and became very revered. With public executions and public exhibitions of heads and quarters as well as bodies hung in irons, it is clear that the eighteenth century confronted its mortality in a way that is both intense and direct. ” – Richard B. Schwartz, Daily Life in Johnson’s London (6) The criminal courts in the 18th century were quite different from those of today, some of these differences meant the accused were seen as guilty until proven innocent and could not protests their innocence.
They accused were only allowed to try and prove their innocence by writing a final statement, before trial. A written defence that would be read out in court, however, often the accused could neither read nor write. In the 18th century mechanism of law was uncompromising and brutal. A total of 240 offenses resulted in the death penalty, punishments ranged from humiliate to whipping and burning, however, many 18th century theorists believe hanging was too light of a punishment and proposed “breaking on a wheel”.
In 1752 a law was passed which required further terror and peculiar mark of Infamy to add to the death penalty, this law required the convict to be kept on bread and water then after his execution his body was to hung in chains in public view, the body then went to the surgeons for dissection. “Dr. Samuel Johnson was one who saw that capital punishment satisfied a sinister human craving for power over others’ lives, but did not really deter crime. Undiscriminating severity simply made criminals more cunning and more desperate, and confused small crimes with great ones. -Clive Elmsley, Crime and Society in Society in England 1750-1900 (11) Gradually these brutal punishments were abolished, in the 1800’s crime rates rose from 5000 per year to 20,000 in 1840, it was time to reform punishments, although the Victorians were keen in punishment for crime and needed some way to reform these prisoners, prisons already existed but they were small and un-kept, the Victorians decided on prisons, they built new and extended old ones, they still believed that the criminal should be npleasant experiences and so it deters people from committing crimes, in the prisons the men were required to work. By the prison Acts of 1865 and 1877 prisons were under of government control. This is how prisons and policing is governed now, prisons have similar aspects to that of the ones in the 1800’s, although we do not enforce physical labor, the prisoners can change their lives through courses etc. In eighteenth century Britain the working class were seen as lazy and worthless, often they had to commit crime to be able to eat and provide for their families, they had terrible health and very poor.
The peasants was often convicted for crimes that they did not do because they had neither the skills nor the legal support to defend them, the industrial revolution lead to better working conditions and health. The policing system at the beginning of the 18th century were almost in-existent, they gradually became apparent but were extremely brutal and often did not fit the crime, coming to the end of the 18th century we see a different punishment system, a more humane system which provided the peasants with better conditions and more humane, it gave them more rights and a chance to prove their innocents.

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