The British society was violent compared to its European counterparts
It is hard to make generalisations about this subject but it does not seem to be a rapid change. Wages are an important factor in any society, by looking at wage increases and prices we can get an overview of how money was spent and how inflation was subsidised by wage increases. Wages were complex as different regions paid different wages also the type of worker was taken into account. Overall the skilled workers faired best, out of the poorer classes, their wages were constant and their work was in demand.
By the end of the 18th century factory operatives earned more than agricultural workers, this obviously gives evidence for the fact that the increasing population increasingly wanted more manufactured goods and it also in turn provided the industrialists with a labouring force. The wages meant that spending became more frivolous, although during the early 19th century large inflation crisis’s caused a slump in public spending, which in turn effected the industrial market.
I think that although wages were indeed rising inflation meant that people weren’t essentially getting extra, because inflation meant that they could only roughly buy the same that they had been before. This does show that the economy was becoming more sable due to people being employed full time. The change was not rapid although in the 20th century the changes started to pick up pace a bit. 18th and 19th century politics was corrupt, disproportional and a massive farce. The influence of Lords, corruption and bribery of the electorates was common place in the governmental system, in fact electorates would expect to be bribed for their vote.
If a borough were to be contested, which meant if there were too many candidates they would have to go for an election, then the election would be fought with bribery costing a prospective candidate £100,000. In other circumstances there would usually be no election because the borough would just send one of each party to represent them. Popular bribery would be to buy free drinks, pay people or, what was called cooping of electorates, which involved getting your opposition drunk and locking them away until after the elections!
Other more sinister ways were used to get elections. If a candidate was chummy with a landed estate owner then he could expect to get that seat as the estate owner could tell all the voters if they didn’t vote for a particular candidate he would take his business some where else. This resulted in a lot of the nobility influencing the decisions of MP’s, as they were the ones who got them the seat in the first place. Although there was some minor discrepancies with the political system it was defended rigorously by its supporters, and indeed the public.
The political system must have been the slowest reform made to England overall. Its change was not rapid. In conclusion the changes made to 19th century England were not at all rapid, about the only rapid change was the population and other slow changes were made because of the increase in population sizes. I think that all countries history is a gradual struggle and rapid change scarcely happened, except in the case of revolution where a countries political system changed within days.
People seemed happy with the current changes, the world wars brought a sense of patriotism and the country was steadily improving. In relation to the other part of this essay, was England a violent society. I can see from the evidence that England did have a lot of sports, which were quite violent. Bear bating and boxing were favourite sports of the English, England was deemed violent by their European counter parts. This was because not only the lower classes but the gentry and upper classes also enjoyed sports such as hunting and other violent unpleasant forms of entertainment.
The nobility in Russia and Germany were patrons of the expressive arts such as music, art and theatre, they were horrified to see that English gentlemen were hunting and killing animals. The violence was also perpetuated in the army, where whipping was still common place and in the navy, where press gangs were sent out to find young men to become naval men. The public schools, which the upper class children were sent to also, displayed harsh punishments, such as the cane and server beatings.
Another piece of evidence from the time, which also suggests England was a violent culture was a cartoon character called John Bull, who was depicted to be this ‘Jack the lad’ type character, who loved hunting and hated education. Prisons were old boats called Hulks, which were off of the coast of England; an alternative was to send prisoners abroad to Australia. Criminals were punished readily, and if you stole bread you could get the death penalty. It would be wrong to say that the whole of English society was violent pigs, which had no disregard for anything and were all ‘John Bull’ type characters.
The whole English ethos was not violence personified, it was violent yes, but not more than other countries. The riots were just as harsh as those abroad were and the crime penalties were the same. Due to bad publicity England was dubbed uncouth and stupid, not all the gentry were these John Bull characters, in fact hardly any were. John Bull was a radicalism of English society, which had been blown out of proportion, so although England seems to be very violent, it was non more so than its European counter parts.