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The mid to late 19th century and early 20th witnessed an extraordinary number of European and American female travelers who wrote of their adventures. Industrialization had increased womens mobility and women more easily could travel by train and streamer. As important, by end 19th century, European imperialism had made many areas of the world safe for women travelers. Annie Taylor, first European woman to enter Tibet, stated after she was captured, I am English and do not fear for my life!
While many female travelers were married, a significant number were not, a situation very different from the women in most of the world where single status and the right to live and travel alone would not be tolerated.
The reasons women offered for their explorations varied. Some revealed their relief from the strictures of family life, noting the freedom of traveling. Most gave socially acceptable reasons, such as a desire for missionary work or some scientific endeavor. Few relinquished their status as ladies; for example, refusing to assume clothing that might be more appropriate to the regions they visited.
Womens writings and general observations about cultures new to them inevitably were not very objective. As cultural emissaries they tended to reinforce accepted prejudices at home, and their impact on the visited cultures were minor. Still, womens observations often touched upon areas ignored by men, and in some cases offered more detailed information about a culture and behavior than did diplomat dispatches and scholarly writings. Above all, there was an audience for whatever publications or lectures women traveling to exotic lands produced, giving them the status of cultural emissary in their own countries.
Of the many possibilities for study, the lives of three women offer easily accessible and differing views.
Example #1: Gertrude Bell. The observations of this lyrical writer powerfully influenced British decisions regarding the creation of nations in the Middle East. She is considered one of those who helped found modern Iraq. Bell, unmarried and fearless, exhibited enormous ability to mix rather easily in the Arab world as she explored the region. mapped, and was suppose to be conducting archaeology. During World War I, she became a political officer, and after, was named to the post of Oriental Secretary. Of her journals, letters, and books, The Desert and the Sown, offers a particularly fine account of her 1905 journey through Syria from Jericho to Antioch. Example #2: Mary Kingsleys writings about West Africa are wonderfully chatty and humorous. The popularity of Kingsleys books and lectures gave her an influential platform for imparting her often controversial views of West African culture. Travels in West Africa, published on January 21, 1897, was her most famous.
Exhibiting a stiff upper lip, Kingsley never ignored danger and adventure during her explorations in 1893 and again in 1895. Penetrating worlds few white men and no white women had seen before, she expressed sympathy for the peoples she encountered. A certain sort of friendship soon arose between the Fans and me. We each recognized that we belonged to that same section of the human race with whom it is better to drink than to fight.. The Fan also did their best to educate me in every way; they told me their names for things, while I told them mine, throwing in besides a few colloquial phrases such as: Dear me, Whod have thought it. They also showed me many things; how to light a fire from the pith of a certain tree, which was useful to me in after life.
Ctenopoma kingsleyae .
(One of the new species of fish that were
discovered by Mary Kingsley and named after her.)
Upon her return to England, Kingsley criticized the paternalistic attitudes of British laws and statements. She had great scorn for "stay at home statesmen, who think the Africans are awful savages or silly children - people who can only be dealt with on a reformatory penitentiary line."
Example #3: Mary Seacoles autobiography, The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, published in 1857, describes her love of travel, her adventures in the Isthmus Canal during a cholera epidemic, and her care and feeding of British soldiers during the Crimean war. As I grew into womanhood, I began to indulge that longing to travel which will never leave me while I have health and vigor. I was never weary of tracing upon an old map the route to England; and never followed with my gaze the stately ships homeward bound without longing to be in them, and see the blue hills of Jamaica fade into the distance. At that time it seemed most improbable that these girlish wishes should be gratified; but circumstances, which I need not explain, enabled me to accompany some relatives to England while I was yet a very young woman.
As a woman of color, a mulatto from Jamaica, and a well liked nurse, she is credited with introducing many medical personnel to the practice of using herbal medicine. Even so, she notes the times people treated her badly because of her color. My experience of travel had not failed to teach me that Americans (even from Northern States) are always uncomfortable in the company of colored people, and very often show this feeling in stronger ways than by sour looks and rude words.
Seacoles descriptions of Crimean war personalities and scenes of the battlefield are valuable resources. Seemingly better liked than Florence Nightingale, who rejected her services, she was called Mother Seacole by the soldiers. I have never been long in any place before I have found my practical experience in the science of medicine useful. And in the Crimea, where the doctors were so overworked, and sickness of was so prevalent, I could not be long idle; for I never forgot that my intention in seeking the army was to help the kind-hearted doctors, to be useful to whom I have ever looked upon and still regard as so high a privilege.
MRS. SEACOLE'S HOTEL
IN THE CRIMEA
S ource: Mary Seacole,
"Wonderful Adventures of
Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, " 1957
In addition to these positive reforms, other laws were steps back, such as the 1834 Poor Law which forced many aged, sick, and poor children to enter workhouses where they had to work in degrading conditions ("Britain").
Clearly, the reforms of the nineteenth century in Great Britain must be put into their historical context in order to be properly appreciated. The beginning point of the justice of a social issue two centuries ago was obviously far behind our own times, and if we judge the Britain of that era according to our own standards, then Britain will fail in every case. One might ask, for example, how reducing the work hours of children over nine years of age to eleven hours a day is a legitimate reform, but compared to no limits whatsoever on child labor, it was at leaMore on 19th Century Great Britain.
19th Century Great Britain. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 03:15, February 24, 2017, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1304122489.html
Lots of Essays. "19th Century Great Britain." LotsofEssays.com. LotsofEssays.com, (December 31, 1969). Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
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The 18th century saw revolutionary changes in Britain -- it was the beginning of the Agrarian and Industrial Revolution which took place in Europe and America. From the second half of the 18th century onwards there is a wealth of documentation on Britain and India by Englishmen. There is no such documentation on Britain and India by Indians. Only now is the history of 18th century India being researched and written about in depth.
Within Britain the early 18th century was much the same as the second half of the 17th century. Major changes began to occur in the middle and second half of the 18th century. Britain was now beginning to be wealthy and powerful. Scotland had been conquered and joined with England in 1701, forming Great Britain. The British navy was the strongest in the world. The slave trade and the Atlantic coast colonies were thriving. The "Navigation Act" of Britain in 1651 which mandated that all goods flowing to or coming from British colonies must be carried on British ships added to Britain's wealth.
The American colonists propensity to use smuggled goods from the West Indies and thus avoid paying duties to the British government was a thorn in the side of the British government, The squabble over duties went to the very heart of the British system of colonial financing, and was therefore not a minor matter.
The same financing system together with land taxes and plunder, was used to an extreme later in India for massive wealth transfers from India to Britain. Gandhi's "salt march to the sea" was the equivalent of the Boston Tea Party in popularizing the unpopularity of certain taxes.
Britain's government revenue was made up in large part by excise taxes and stamp duties from transshipment of colonial goods. English companies and individuals made their profits principally on the three way trade between Britain, North America and Africa. England became dependent on the profits from the slave trade.
As a result of the slave trade and the massive profits for individual Englishmen from the West Indies and India, the mercantile class in England experienced a sharp increase in wealth and began investing in land and peerages. They rapidly became part of the �landed gentry� of England and formed a powerful lobby. Most of the peerages purchased at this time were from merchants from the West Indies and later from India.
These nouveau riche �nabobs� were able to initiate and pass powerful �Enclosure� laws which enclosed large areas of the common land of England creating a large class of newly poor landless peasants.
The English countryside was transformed between 1760 and 1830 as the open-field system of cultivation gave way to compact farms and enclosed fields. Despite massive increases in agricultural output, British per capita income fell in the period 1770-1820. the rich got much richer and the poor became penniless.
Population of England and Wales
Britain after 1760
The population of England and Wales nearly tripled in the century between 1750 and 1850 due to falling death rates. After 1750 there was a surplus of labor which provided the fodder for the Industrial Revolution. As an example, the population of Manchester increased by an order of magnitude in the two plus generations between 1760 and 1830 -- 17,000 to 180,000. For another example, in 1800 more than 15% of the population of London were domestic servants.
There is an excellent focused web site on the Industrial Revolution in England, at http://www.cottontimes.co.uk written recently by a teacher in England who lives in Lancashire. The site covers a wide field of Lancashire Industrial Revolution history and I hope the entire site is available for a long time. I have copied three of his pages in the side bar on Children, Housing and Weavers. The site is particularly interesting because the Lancashire textile industry and the Manchester Board of Trade were largely responsible for much of the famine in India's Deccan in the late 18th century, and for the destruction of the native Indian textile industry. One of the huge crimes committed by the British government against India was the decimation of the Indian textile and agrarian industry by the protection and feeding of the Lancashire cotton industry. Gandhi's "swadeshi" movement in the early 20th century was a move against the import of British textiles. It had a significant impact on a Lancashire textile industry which was struggling mightily during the depression of the 1930's.
Britain sacrificed at least two generations of its peasants and laborers during the late 18th century through the mid 19th century. The increase in population in England, together with the increasing gap between rich and poor, the demands of the Industrial Revolution, coupled with the rigors of the Napoleonic wars (1793 - 1815) and the paranoia about revolution in England, made England into a two society nation.
As an example of the plight of the poor, between 1790 and 1796 the price of bread rose from 54s a qtr in 1791 to 90s in 1796. This was in a period when per capita income was falling. There were bread riots throughout the country. The government under William Pitt passed several laws restricting civil liberties. In May 1792 "seditious meetings" were outlawed. In Dec 1792 Pitt told the militia to be ready for rebellion. In 1794 Parliament suspended habeas corpus�indefinite jail without trial. In 1795 the seditious meetings acts and the treasonable practices act allowed transportation to penal colonies for anyone who spoke against the king or tried for reforms. In 1798 labor unions were outlawed by the �combination act".
The Penal Code (the "Bloody Code") in England was based heavily on its provisions for capital punishment. In 1688, the death penalty was the standard punishment for about fifty crimes, but by 1765, the number rose to around 165 crimes, and it finally reached 225 before the system of law was abolished in 1815.
Not only was the population of Britain exploding, the Industrial revolution was increasing productivity. The textile industry provided the most jobs, and it was natural that new machinery would be applied to cost reduction there. By 1812 the cost of making cotton yarn had dropped nine-tenths, and by 1800 the number of workers needed to turn wool into yarn had been reduced by four-fifths. And by 1840 the labor cost of making the best woolen cloth had fallen by at least half.
One of the many workers protests during this time was theLuddites in 1811. The movement was crushed by the government using spies and provocateurs.
In addition to a new factory-owning bourgeoisie, the Industrial Revolution created a new working class. The new class of industrial workers included all the men, women, and children laboring in the textile mills, pottery works, and mines. Often skilled artisans found themselves degraded to routine process laborers as machines began to mass produce the products formerly made by hand.
This was the context in which Roberts and Blanchett chose to join the Army. Roberts was probably a displaced agricultural laborer, and Blanchett was probably a skilled wool worker with no future.
The second half of the 19th century introduced a new style of enterprise to America, Big Business. The 19th century values of work and of being an independent business man clashed with the modern 20th century values of extreme expansion with large work forces and of earning the most money possible. The rise of the robber barons and the captains of industry helped the economy by pushing America into first place in the production of several products and by creating many new jobs. Although these new opportunities appealed to the masses, not everyone was satisfied by his new occupation. The creation of labor unions was a reaction to the numerous complaints about working conditions, wages, and work hours. The first unions protested with peace and reason. Once they realized that nothing could be accomplished through negotiation, drastic measures were taken and violence was the answer to their problems. The clashes between management and workforce in the Great Railroad Strike, Homestead Strike, and Pullman Strike emphasize these crises that were resolved through force and destruction.
Economic depression in 1873 was the main factor in setting off the 10% wage cuts and shortening of work days in the railroad business. In 1877, Laborers took action by seizing control of the rails by sequestering the rail switches and by blockading freight trains, only letting passenger trains through. Strikes broke out in many cities including Baltimore where 10 protesters and bystanders were killed by the local militia. Engulfed in rage, the laborers rampaged through the city destroying all things pertaining to trains. Only after Hayes was called for help did the real action begin. In Pittsburgh, the National Guard was called to quell another.
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. ailed including Eugene Debs, leader of the American Railway Union who ordered the workers to stop pulling the Pullman cars. The government prioritized a strong healthy economy over a large and happy population.
Rapid industrialization and nation-wide corporations led to wealthier families and a new middle class. Although there were many who did enjoy the new luxuries paid for by new salaried jobs like managers, technicians, and engineers, many more people were below the poverty line and resided in the slums, living with other families with no privacy and unsanitary conditions. These families were unfortunate because of the wage cuts and the replacement of labor by immigrants and African Americans. A change was in order and the labor unions took the plate by voicing their complaints, and, when that didn’t work, resorting to physical means to get what they wanted.
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