• The introduction of liberalism in the 18th century meant a new age in British politics, which continued through the Industrial Revolution
  • Gladstone (Liberal) and Disraeli (Conservative) were two of the most influential political leaders of the late Industrial Revolution
  • Both advocated reform of social structure; as a result, some of the more productive governments came to power.

Social Legislation

  • New Poor Law drafted in 1834, which was based on the pleasure pain calculation called the “less eligibility principle.”
  • In order to receive poor relief, an individual had to enter a workhouse and in order to discourage people from going on relief, conditions in the workhouse were designed to be worse than the conditions outside.
  • Protesters saw workhouse as prisons and named them “Bastilles”

Remained until 1909

  • About 5 percent of the population was dependent on the New Poor Law
  • Thought that the impact of legislation could be calculated by a simple formula called “principle of utility”
  • This principle states that laws should be designed to create “the greatest happiness of the greatest times”
  • If real conflicts arose, the government would intervene and create an artificial measure of social utility.
  • The Factory Act of 1833 – prohibited the employment of children under nine and placed limits on working hours of those between the ages of 9 and 18
  • Factory Act of 1847 – limited children to 10 hour day. This limit became the standard working day for adults in textile mills.
  • The Mines Act of 1842 – prohibited the employment of women and of children under 10 years of age, in underground mines.

Why?

  • With the conditions workers had to endure and the outbreak of killer diseases, Edwin Chadwick helped draft the Public Health Act of 1848, which included a General Board of Health to overseas conditions
  • The social legislation redefine the government’s role in social policy.
  • It established new ways of investigating social problems and created a body of professional civil servants.

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