Education and Social Movements, 1700-1850
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1919 edition. Excerpt: ...was identified with that of all progressive sections of society in opposition to a privileged caste which had forfeited its power; in England the forces of civilisation were ranged on the side of a governing aristocracy, to whom the masses had not ceased to look for protection and redress. Meanwhile the condition of the French peasantry had been steadily improving, the position of the English masses in town and country was becoming on the whole more isolated and depressed. To the maxim which found in the ignorance of the multitude a safeguard of national stability, might' have been added the more cynical assurance that a state of economic depression does not necessarily conduce to an effective confidence in sweeping reforms. (The attitude of the skilled artisans in urban handicrafts, whose position was relatively secure and who formed for some time to come the backbone of democratic movements, stands in striking contrast to that of the newly organised masses who wavered between submissive appeals to the government and spasmodic insurrections equally devoid of purpose and effect.1' How far the crowd-instinct has been leavened by rational motives and guided into the channels of a constructive policy, is one of the main problems to be considered at a later stage of political development. At any rate the unrest which followed at the close of the Napoleonic wars was very different from the discontents of the previous century. The failure of the government to redress their grievances had infused an element of solidarity and self-dependence into the scattered groups from which the labour movement arose. The whole course of repressive legislation, which for a time stifled every expression of discontent, worked ultimately in the same direction. When...
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