AP European History: “European Workers in the 19th Century DBQ”

Topics: Socialism, Karl Marx, Working class Pages: 3 (1031 words) Published: February 5, 2014
“European Workers in the 19th Century DBQ”

During the nineteenth century in Europe, the majority of European workers had moved from the country into cities on account of the modernization of their farms. Due to the large increase of population in such close quarters, the living conditions of the workers were in shambles, and the people began to protest and demand better living conditions. While some sought for government reforms that would put a new emphasis on those less fortunate, others found it to be more efficient to have a full-out violent revolution to find a better economic equality. Some of the supporters of these more radical ideas thought that gender equality was one of the true keys to a better life of the working class. Simultaneously as thousands starved from the unfair conditions, a core group of conservatives (old misers) continued to cling to the laissez-faire policies that had given them so much wealth, but were also wrong in thinking that it would also give the poor the same assets.

Being that England was a traditionally more liberal and reform-minded country, it had some of the best success in creating a substantial shift in government policies to become more caring (specifically within Parliament). Those of the London Workingmen’s Association petitioned the English Parliament in 1838 for increased male suffrage (Doc 4) among other electoral reforms. They did, in fact, find success with the passage of the “Great Reform Act,” which was a law that guaranteed male suffrage, a more fair distribution of the electorate, and the requirement that members of Parliament needed to own property. Of course, the chartists of Doc. 4 were very one-sided in their petition and failed to see that the passage of the Charter would practically allow those exact workers to obtain high seats in government. Nevertheless, the reforms did improve the overall livelihood of the British masses enough to allow John Stuart Mill to assert that “the general tendency [of...
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