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Hello, I'm Mr. Olivey and this is the third lesson of our inquiry into life during the 19th century.

Now, in order to do this lesson, you will need to get two things.

Can you please make sure you've got a pen and some paper to write with, if you haven't got those, pause the video now and go and get them.

Okay, good.

Second thing is can you make sure you've got a reasonably quiet place to work in like the room I'm in now.

I've actually been reading a different book again today.

This book is called "English Social History" by the historian G.



And it's really interesting and relevant to what we're doing today, because he looks at how ordinary people lived and how their lives changed in the past.

And that's exactly what we're going to be doing today.

I can't wait to teach you some real social history today.

So let's get started.

This is lesson three of a four lesson inquiry and the title of today's lesson is popular protest from 1800 to 1850.

And our inquiry question remains, how far did working conditions improve during the 19th century? Now, this is really a question about change.

We're asking, you know, did working conditions stay the same? Did they get better? Did they go backwards? And who did they change for? You know, did everyone experience change at the same rate? Now, before we can move on to looking at what workers thought about their own working conditions, we first need to recap the story from lessons one and two, and that's exactly what we're going to do now.

So we started off by looking at the kind of jobs that children had to do during the Industrial Revolution.

Working in coal mines and as chimney sweeps and doing all kinds of other horrible work.

And we saw that poets like William Blake really hated the changes that had been brought by the Industrial Revolution.

They wanted to return to a world of simple rural life.

And we saw that the Industrial Revolution was a period from around 1750 to 1850, where Britain was changed from a mainly rural country where most people lived in the countryside to a largely urban one where most people lived in towns and cities, working in factories and where there were all kinds of new machines and new technologies, transforming the way people lived.

When we looked at the statistics, we saw the population of England increased an enormous amount during the Industrial Revolution and that vast numbers of people moved to towns, which also grew.

And then finally in that first lesson, we thought about some of the causes of the Industrial Revolution.

We considered the Agricultural Revolution, considered the role of coal.

We considered inventions and innovations and the role of empire and slavery.

And then in lesson two, we were introduced to this idea of the class system where people in Britain were sorted into whether they were working, middle, or upper class with the vast majority of people being working class.

We saw that some people claimed that this was put in place by God.

You know, God was the one that made these people high and lowly.

And we also considered the kinds of reforms that governments like the Whigs tried to bring about to improve working conditions and to improve Britain, to get rid of what they thought was corrupt and wrong.

We saw that some of these reforms like the Great Reform Act, The Factory Act, and The New Poor Law, they didn't actually make working people's lives better at all.

In some ways they made them worse.

Okay, so just to check that you've understood everything we've covered so far, please, could you have a go at this question? Which of these did not happen during the Industrial Revolution? So read through the options and then pause the video.

Okay, so let's find out the answer.

It is number four.

So adults were not given the vote during the Industrial Revolution.

In 1850, most men and all women could not vote, but all these other changes certainly did happen.

So England's population did grow an enormous amount.

Coal did become an important fuel and governments did try and pass acts to improve working conditions, even though they didn't always achieve their aims. So that's how far we got with our inquiry.

We've seen that working conditions were very bad in 1800.

We've seen that the working conditions changed because of the Industrial Revolution.

And we've seen that governments tried to pass act to improve working conditions, but that these were not always successful.

But this lesson we're going to learn that story of how ordinary workers reacted to the changes that they saw around them.

How did they deal with this changing world during the Industrial Revolution? Now the first kind of protest I'm going to introduce you to is a food riot because in the 1700s, in rural communities, before the Industrial Revolution, the way people tried to improve their living conditions and their working conditions was through very local forms of protest and a food riot was where people would follow a certain like ritual, which is a set of actions performed in a predetermined way.

They would follow a certain ritual.

So they would go up to let's say the miller's windmill and they would threaten to burn it down if he didn't make a grain cheaper, if he didn't make flour cheaper.

And they might go to the farmer's barn and throw rocks at it or burn it down if they deemed that his prices were too high.

Now this may seem like random violence or revolutionary chaos, but it absolutely wasn't.

It was a form of symbolic communication where certain buildings that had certain meanings would be attacked to try and negotiate for lower and what they deemed as fairer food prices.

The historian E.


Thompson described this all as part of the moral economy of the crowd.

Now this phrase may seem difficult, but it's not.

What Thompson essentially was saying was that crowds in England, in the 18th and in the 19th century were governed by ideas of morality, ideas of fairness and right and wrong.

And it was only when people selling food were deemed to be charging an unfair price that these riots would break out to try and negotiate a lower price.

So that's food riots.

So which of these statements describes food rioters? Pick the right one, pause the video now.

Okay, let's find out.

It is number two.

Food rioters have specific rituals of protest used to negotiate with grain sellers.

They didn't burn down random buildings.

They only attacked buildings that had special symbolic meaning.

They certainly didn't murder anyone who owned a mill and nor did they want to take over the government.

They simply wanted fair prices for their food.

Okay, that's the sort of riots that took place before the Industrial Revolution, but let's look at what happened during the Industrial Revolution.

This is Luddism.

Now, to understand what Luddism is, we first need to understand what a stocking frame is.

And a stocking frame is a piece of machinery, invented during the Industrial Revolution, used to make items of clothing.

Now, in some ways, these may seem really good to us.

You know, stocking frame is a more efficient way of getting clothes.

However, if you were a worker and a piece of machinery has replaced you and now means you're unemployed, it certainly hasn't made your life any better.

In fact, it's made it much worse.

So groups of workers banded together and they attacked these new stocking frames that they deemed to be unfair because they had ruined their jobs.

They didn't just smash up any machines.

They only smashed up the new ones that they deemed unfair.

Now, Luddism may seem like just random chaos.

You know, people fighting against progress, but we need to be careful as historians not to just fall into that trap of assuming that people in the past were stupid and backwards.

That's not true.

The historian who wrote about the Luddites and their fictional leader called Ned Ludd, wasn't real.

He was just a made up character.

But you know, he symbolised their movement.

The historian who wrote about them, Eric Hobsbawm said that, "Luddism was by no means "the hopelessly ineffective weapon "that it has been made out to be." He instead argued that the Luddites and their actions were actually quite effective at negotiating for better pay and better working conditions and resisting these new machines that were making them unemployed.

Now, who was Ned Ludd? Pick the right one of these options.

Pause the video now.

Okay, let's find out.

Ned Ludd was a fictional character used to represent the Luddites.

He certainly wasn't the descendant of James the Second who wanted to become King of England, nor was he a 30-year-old man from Preston, nor was he a Whig politician.

He was a fictional character, he's made up.

He was used to represent the Luddites and their cause.

Okay, how far did working conditions improve during the 19th century? So I will come back to our inquiry question, but first I want to introduce you to another group that I think are rather similar to the Luddites, but they didn't live in the towns and the cities.

Instead, they lived in the countryside because despite the Agricultural Revolution, rural life had remained largely the same.

People would work the land, mainly with their hands and with slightly more efficient tools.

But, you know, there were still vast numbers of people involved in farming at this time, but then a new piece of machinery that was invented started to change all this.

And it was called a threshing machine.

Now, a threshing machine was a very efficient way of processing wheat and things that were grown.

And it used things like horses to power it.

So fewer people were needed.

And this threshing machine led to huge unemployment in the countryside.

So a group of people known as the Swig Rioters responded by burning down and smashing up these threshing machines, just like the Luddites.

And they would also go to hay rigs which are like basically big piles of hay and burn those down in protest as well.

And they were also led by a fictional character, called Captain Swing.

Now, again, the Swing Rioters may seem like sort of foolish people resisting progress, but again, we can actually see that what they were doing was not sort of random chaos.

The historian, Eric Hobsbawm says, "The aims of the Swing Rioters were not revolutionary." Instead, what they wanted to achieve was they wanted to resist what they deemed as unfair new technology that was ruining their world and their way of life.

So, which of these groups were the Swing Rioters very similar to? Look at the options and pause the video and pick the right one.

Okay, the Swing Rioters were very similar to the Luddite protests of 1811.

They were nothing like The New Poor Law.

That wasn't even a protest.

That was an act.

They were nothing like the English Civil War.

And they were nothing like the French Revolution.

The Swing Rioters were really interested in their economic condition.

They were not so much a political group in terms of trying to take over how the country was run.

They just wanted things to stay the same and stop changing and stop making them unemployed.

So how far did working conditions improve during the 19th century? Well, the reason I kind of grouped the Luddites and the Swing Riots together is because they're examples of how new technology that in some ways may have improved working conditions in terms of safety or efficiency, did not always make people's lives better.

In fact, sometimes it was deemed to have made their lives worse because it led to unemployment and poverty.

So there's quite an interesting tension there in our question between the improvement and the progress of the Industrial Revolution and the ordinary people who suffered because of those changes.

Finally, then we're going to look at a movement known as Chartism which kind of ends the first half of the 19th century.

And the Chartists were a group of people who wanted something called the People's Charter.

They wanted votes for all men over 21 and over, and they wanted ordinary people to be involved in politics.

The Chartists throughout the 1840s and the late 1830s tried some very huge petitions to parliament to try and change things.

But ultimately they did not succeed in achieving their aims. But the Chartists may seem very different to all these earlier protests 'cause this is working class people being involved in politics on a national scale.

Now, the reason they can be involved on national scale is because in the time of the food riots, people really couldn't move around the country very easily.

You know, there were no railways, the roads were very bad and it was very slow to travel anywhere.

But by the time of the Chartists in the 1840s, something called Railway Mania had happened where railways have been built all across the country in this huge boom of people trying to get rich quick by building railways.

And this meant that it was actually suddenly much more efficient to travel from one part of the country to the other.

And this meant that the leaders of the Chartists could travel up and down the country, speaking at huge meetings of people, known as Monster Meetings.

Yet, even though the Chartists may seem entirely different to the earlier forms of protest, perhaps E.


Thompson's idea of there being a moral economy of the crowd, where working people try to negotiate with the people above them for fair conditions can also be seen in the Chartist movement.

Because if we think about it, this is people gathering together, not trying to overthrow the government, not trying to destroy it.

Instead, what they're doing is they're trying to change it.

They're trying to get what they deem to be fair deal.

They want to be involved in politics so they can improve working conditions, improve their lives.

So perhaps the moral economy of the crowd wasn't destroyed by the Industrial Revolution after all.

Okay, so how was Chartism different to 18th century food riots? Read through the four options and pick the correct one.

Okay, let's find out the answer.

Number two, so Chartism was a national movement whereas food riots were local protests.

It's not true though, that Chartists only lived in the countryside and food riots happened in cities.

Actually food riots did happen in cities sometimes.

And some Chartists lived in rural places.

It's not true that Chartists were mainly middle class.

You know, most Chartists were working class.

Although some of the leaders were perhaps middle class and it was not true that Chartists wanted to overthrow the government.

Instead they just wanted to reform the system and change it from what they saw and improve it.

Okay, so we come back to our inquiry question then.

We can see that during the 19th century, the first half, at least, workers struggled to try and improve their conditions.

And it wasn't the case that workers' conditions gradually just got better in a really straightforward way.

In fact, some changes that may seem like improvements to us actually made life worse.

If we look at the new threshing machines in the Swing Riots or if we look at the role of the new stocking frames for the Luddites, this is really quite complicated story.

I think it's why it's such a fascinating question here, because we can't answer this easily.

You have to really think about it.

What I'd like you to do is pause the video, read the slides on the next page and answer the comprehension questions, and resume the video once you've finished Okay? Pause the video, read the sides on the next page and answer the comprehension questions and resume the video once you've finished.

Right, let's go through those answers.

Question one.

What did 18th century food rioters want to achieve? The correct answer is cheaper wheat and bread, but a better answer would be, food rioters did not want to overthrow England's political elites.

Instead, they used symbolic forms of protest like burning down a miller's barn to negotiate and ask for lower food prices.

Question two.

What did the Luddites want to achieve? The correct answer is to ban more efficient stocking frames.

The better answer would be the Luddites were angry that more efficient stocking frames were leading to job losses.

In response, they smashed these machines to try and preserve their jobs.

The government responded by executing several Luddites in 1812.

Question three.

What did the Swing Rioters want to achieve? The correct answer, they wanted to get rid of threshing machines, but a better answer would be the Swing Rioters wanted to get rid of threshing machines because mechanisation was leading to poverty and job losses in the countryside.

Question four.

What did the Chartists want to achieve? Correct answer, they wanted votes for all men, age 21 and over.

The better answer would be the Chartists wanted votes for all men, age 21 and over, they also wanted working class people to be involved in politics.

They wanted to use political power to improve their working and living conditions.

Finally, question five.

How similar were the Chartists to earlier forms of popular protest? The correct answer is the Chartists used similar symbolism and ritual to other protests.

But a better answer would be, the Chartists were not revolutionaries.

They simply wanted to be treated fairly and listened to by their country's elites.

Unlike earlier protests, however, Chartism was a national, not a local, movement.

So that's how far we've got with our inquiry question then.

We've seen that on one level, working conditions did approve, according to the sort of acts passed by the government.

However, we've seen this other side to the story, the worker's side of the story where issues keep cropping up and these issues aren't always to do with the conditions being dangerous.

Sometimes it's actually about new technologies coming in that are leading to job losses and workers are wanting to fight and resist those changes.

So what I'd like you to do is drawing on everything we've learnt this lesson, pause the video now and write down any thing you think will be useful to answering our inquiry question next lesson.

So drawing the everything we've looked at together today, maybe in five or so bullet points, thinking about how far did working conditions improve during the 19th century? Once you've done that, that's it for this lesson.

Well done for all your hard work today.

If you'd like to, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak.

Well done for all your hard work today.

Next lesson, we're going to draw everything we've looked at together by encountering two more examples of working class people protesting about their conditions, and then writing an answer to our question.

I've really enjoyed teaching this to you today.

I'll see you next time, goodbye.