Over the course of the 19th century, the number of European industrial workers increased dramatically due to the economic changes that were occurring. The move to industrialization transformed the living and working conditions of workers and their families. The rush to the city for jobs caused over population and poor sanitary conditions to occur for these workers. Many citizens and intellectuals argued over different solutions to these problems that the European worker was facing at the time. The solutions included government intervention, the passing of reforms and revolutions.
Many theorists and even political leaders argued that it is the government’s responsibility to aid the workers by improving the living and working conditions that these workers were to be put in. Saint-Amand Bazard, a French social theorist stated that although a laissez-faire policy seems to always work out in the end, the starving population of low income workers cannot wait the few years to eat and require action at that moment. Louis Blanc, a French political leader said that it is essential for the government to be strong in a time of despair because “there are weak persons who need a social force to protect them”. Similar to what Blanc stated, Ferdinand Lessalie claims that it is the state that holds a country together by unifying individuals into a moral whole.” According to the ideas and thoughts of these theorists, the government’s actions are what are needed to strengthen the state and improve the lives of the working class.
Some politicians and activists stated that the government’s actions needed to include reforms and civil rights. Many activists at this time believed suffrage was the answer to improving the lives of the working class. Because the working class did not have the right to vote in 1838 the London workingmen’s association stated “the laboring classes may be silently plundered or suddenly suspended from employment” due to the fact that they did...
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