Ch 10 Whig England

Ch.10-Whig England

Hits: 1779

CHAPTER X: WHIG ENGLAND

SECTION 5: WAR AND INDUSTRY

 

THE REAL HISTORY OF THE PERIOD BETWEEN 1688 AND THE MID-18th CENTURY IS CONCERNED WITH ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH.

FIRSTLY, THIS WAS DONE THROUGH A GROWTH IN THE NATIONAL DEBT AND CONSEQUENT TAXATION OF THE MASSES. BY CONCENTRATING WEALTH INTO THE HANDS OF A SMALL CLASS, THE STATE WAS PROVIDED WITH ACCESS TO FINANCES FOR WAR.

SECONDLY, IT WAS DONE BY THE RAPID INCREASE IN TRADE BASED ON MONOPLY CONTROL OF A COLONIAL EMPIRE.

THIRDLY, THE PLUNDER OF INDIA ALSO HELPED.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AGRICULTURE ON A FULLY CAPITALIST BASIS CAME LATER.

IT WAS AN AGE OF UNQUESTIONED ACCEPTANCE OF RECOGNISED AUTHORITY, OF DOMINATION OF THE SQUIRE AND PARSON IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. IT WAS AN AGE WHERE ELEGANCE WAS MORE PRIZED THAN IMAGINATION!

ONLY BENEATH THE SURFACE WERE THE STREAMS OF GOLD POURING INTO THE CITY, UNTIL THEY BURST. THEN IT WAS TRANSFORMED INTO MILLS, MINES AND FOUNDRIES.

TO THIS WE GIVE THE TERM ‘INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION’, BUT IT DID NOT HAPPEN AS SUDDENLY AS IMAGINED. IT OCCURRED BY TRANSITION THROUGH WARS AND THE CHANGE FROM AGRICULTURE TO INDUSTRY. IT OCCURRED IN A COUNTRY WHERE CLASS CONFLICTS WERE ONCE MASKED AND SUPPRESSED BUT WERE TRANSFORMED INTO DIVISIONS OF A VIOLENT AND ANTAGONISTIC NATURE.

PROFIT BECAME THE RESULT OF THE ACCUMULATION OF CAPITAL, AND THE COLONIES PROVIDED IT.

IN 1700, THE AMERICAN COLONIES’ POPULATION WAS 200,000. 50 YEARS LATER, IT WAS 1,500,000. IN 1790, IT WAS CALCULATED THAT £70 MILLION WAS INVESTED THERE, COMPARED WITH £18 MILLION IN THE FAR EAST. SLAVERY IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER PROVIDED THE PROFIT FROM TRADE.

ARMIES WERE KITTED OUT AND GUNS DEVELOPED, NOT ONLY FOR THE BRITISH ARMY, BUT FOR BRITAIN’S ALLIES WHOM DEPENDED ON SUBSIDIES TO KEEP THEM IN THE FIELD.

TECHNICAL INVENTIONS MIGHT HAVE BEEN MADE AT ANY TIME, BUT DID NOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL THE LATE 18th CENTURY. WATT, ARKWRIGHT OR ROEBUCK SHONE WHEN CONDITIONS OF THE TIME FORCED MEN TO USE THEIR WITS RATHER THAN THEIR ‘ELEGANCE’ TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF MASS PRODUCTION.

THE CITY HANDLED THE CAPITAL, CREDIT AND CONTRACTS THROUGH JOBBERS, BANKERS’ ARMY CONTRACTORS AND THE NOT TOO REPUTABLE 18th CENTURY PARLIAMENT.

ALONG WITH THIS CAME SOCIAL STATUS. LANDOWNERS PLOUGHED THEIR MONEY INTO INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE, WHILE THEIR SONS OFTEN WENT INTO TRADE.

SUCH WERE THE CONDITIONS IN ENGLAND. IN FRANCE, IT WAS SIMILAR (BUT DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES). WHILE FRANCE WAS STRIPPED OF HER COLONIES, THE FRENCH BOURGEOISIE WERE OVERTAXED AND PEASANTRY EXPLOITED, WHICH PRODUCED THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.

THIS, TOGETHER WITH THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND, PRODUCED THE MODERN WORLD

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Policy.

I accept cookies from this site