- 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.
- 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.
- 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.