The Struggles Of The Working Class 1860 1914,

1625 words - 7 pages

"Oppression can only survive through silence" said Carmen de Monteflores and history proved this concept most thoroughly. However, the oppressed groups are generally not silent at all. They revolt, get violent, and are repressed again. This is not a rule, just a simple generalization and, of course, there are numerous exceptions. There is always a possibility that these downtrodden factions will get together to form a strong opposing force that will be an equal or almost equal rival to those that oppress. The coercion of the working class continued throughout the eighteenth century. Horrible working conditions, poverty, and hunger were blooming in the world of the industrial proletariat. The fruitless revolts did not change the situation and just when it seemed like the treatment of the waged people could not get any worse, the resolution appeared in all its glory. This historical period (1860-1914) could be best described using the Hegelian philosophy. The constant oppression of the working class will serve as thesis. The antithesis would come with the unification of the proletariats, forming the trading unions. The role of synthesis is given to the emergence of political democracy and mass political parties.

The time period from 1860 to 1914 is defined by the surfacing of the "mass societies." The social order practically ignored the industrial proletariat and the foundation for a reform was laid. The industrial proletariat refers to all the workers who desperately depended on their wages. These people had absolutely no role in politics or in society in general. Even as late as 1860, the workers had to depend on themselves only to improve their social conditions. During the Industrial Revolution, as the number of machines multiplied, the workers grew restless. Their life was not improving and they had nothing to lose. They were tired of under-representation and exploitation. Stefo Bartolinnei, who thoroughly studied the relations between the European labor parties, declared that "workers became hostile to the state and socialism was their last step." He saw this period of European history as the time of addition of the lower classes to the national order. During this time workers became politically interested and the desire to be politically represented overwhelmed industrialization and economic development. The unification of the working class and their wish to take part in the political life did not pass unnoticed. By 1914, the industrial proletariat gained the right to vote, the workers' newspapers emerged, the mass political parties that were obliged to take into consideration the opinions of the working class, and lastly the Welfare state became known during this time. The appearance of the Welfare state happened in Germany under the influence of Bismarck. Since the working class turned to socialism as their last resort, Bismarck offered a conservative alternative to socialism--the welfare. Welfare symbolized the decline of the...

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