A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine THE AGE OF REFORM 1830 - 1900
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine n Since Elizabethan times, there had been a system in England of helping those who were sick or who could not find work, as well as poor widows and orphans. glossary
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine n Known as the “Poor Law”, the money for this system came from the householders in each parish. Many people were unhappy with the cost of the system and the way it was run. The New Poor Law, passed in 1834, targeted people who were able-bodied yet unemployed. glossary
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine n Out-of-work labourers were no longer to get relief (money). Instead they were to go to the workhouse, where they would be separated from their families and fed the poorest food. The New Poor Law saved money, but it caused misery to thousands of people. glossary
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine The author Charles Dickens used his novels to reveal the plight of the poor. He painted a vivid picture of the appalling conditions in workhouses, in factories, and in the slums of London.
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine A scene from one of Charles Dickens’ s novels, Oliver Twist. Oliver is famous as the workhouse boy who dared to ask for more food because he was hungry.
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine n For those in work, life was sometimes little better. Conditions in many mines and factories were atrocious, with women and children working long hours with dangerous equipment. Various Factory Acts limited working hours and the age of children being put to work. glossary
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine n But the Acts were largely ineffective until inspectors were employed to check that the news laws were being obeyed. In the late 1830s, unrest over working conditions and the New Poor Law broke out in the north of England. glossary
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine n Out of this unrest grew the movement called Chartism. Chartists believed that the only way towards fairer laws was if more working men had the vote. Until 1832, only wealthy landowners were allowed to vote. In 1832 the Reform Act gave vote to men living in property worth £ 10 per year, about 750.000 people. glossary
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine Feargus O’Connor (1794 - 1855), a Chartism leader, was dedicated to improving the condition of the working classes in England. He was never a very stable character, and was prone to violent outbursts.
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine n In 1839 a group of Chartists presented the People’s Charter to parliament. It called for the vote for men of 21 years and over, but it was rejected. After 1848, Chartism died out, but parliamentary reform continued. In 1867 the Second Reform Act gave vote to about one in three working men. glossary
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine n The Education Act of 1870 introduced universal elementary; the Trade Union Act of 1871 gave unions legal status and a later Act the right to picket peacefully; the Ballot Act of 1872 made voting secret, putting an end to bribery and intimidation. glossary
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine The Age of Reform is also known as the Victorian Age, so-called because of the sovereign’s name (Victoria 1837-1901).
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine n It was a very important period, in fact a series of reforms were passed. They improved the conditions of life and work of proletariat, avoiding the risk of a social revolution. It is also true that humanitarianism became a common value among the middle-class. But it was an age in which morality and hypocrisy reigned supreme. glossary
A.Rotolo I.T.I. Malignani - Udine ACTIVITY n Work in pairs. One of you is a supporter of the new workhouses, the other is a critic. n Supporter: You are to write a letter to your friend, who is a critic, convincing him or her that the New Poor Law is a good thing. n Critic: You are to write a letter to your pro-Poor Law friend. n Compare your letters and discuss: n Which is the most convincing? n Why do you think it is more convincing than the other one?