The Years of Growth and Fear
The Age of Critical Realism
In 1815 Britain occupied a strong position in the world after the defeat of Napoleon. Its self-confidence was based on industry, trade and navy. Britain used its power to control the world markets. Britain kept its ships in almost every ocean of the world. It became a very powerful empire in a world scale. But at home Britain was in danger. The population in 1815 was 13 million people. A lot of former soldiers who had taken part in the Napoleonic Wars were looking for work; unemployment was increasing, the prices doubled, the disappointment of the working class was growing. Towards the end of 1820's the rise of a powerful manufacturing and trading class was obvious. The political victory of the bourgeoisie brought no relief to the working class and worsened their living conditions.
The new methods of exploitation were invented. Crime and misery caused much trouble. People were hungry, they ate birds and animals. The dirty and crowded workhouses were hated and feared. There in the workhouses, the poor lived in dangerous conditions. Nevertheless, only those who lived in the workhouses were given any help at all.
Several uprisings took place in the period between 1815 and 1830. In 1819 the working people and their families gathered in Manchester to protest against the social inequality. They were attacked by the government forces and eleven people were killed during that riot. The rich feared the poor, but they understood the need to reform the law in order to improve social life in the country. The Whigs wanted to avoid the revolution only by reform. The Tories were more conservative: they hoped that Parliament would accept only the rich. Nevertheless, the middle class was represented in Parliament. The poor were still kept out of it.
There were reasons for fear. Since 1824 workers began to join together in unions. They tried to defend their rights, and in 1838 they put forward a People's Charter, demanding the democratic changes of the Parliament, including the right to vote and be elected.
Chartism had important literary results in the development of popular poetry. The Chartists revived the revolutionary poems of Byron and Shelley. It is interesting tо know that Shelley’s "Song to the Man of England” became a Chartist marching-song:
Song to the Men of England
Men of England, wherefore plough
For the lords who lay ye low?
Wherefore weave with toil and care
The rich robes your tyrants wear?
Wherefore feed, and clothe, and save,
From the cradle to the grave,
Those ungrateful drones who would
Dram your sweat - nay, drink your blood?
Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
Many a weapon, chain and scourge,
That these stingless drones may spoil
The forced produce of your toil?
Have ye leisure, comfort, calm.
Shelter, food, love's gentle balm?
Or what is it ye buy so dear
With your pain and with your fear?
|M*A*s media Accountability Systems|
«Letters to the Editor» column/program, including messages critical of the newspaper/ magazine/ station
|Years||The Renaissance Elizabethan Age|
|2. Are friends as important at an older age as when one is young? Why?||Hardening Of The Arteries Fear runs wild in the veins of the world|
|I vent my frustration at you old man, after Years your ears will hear You screamed that you||Numbing rumble, countless medicine, Depleted from years of abuse|