19th Century 1800-1899
The 19th Century opened the doors to industrial growth never seen before in the world.
Britain rose as the major industrial power and following the Act of Union confidently called itself ‘Great Britain’ incorporating Ireland. French Revolutionary Wars are over in the 19th century but the aftermath in Britain, of years of war, is costly.
The thunder of the machines could be heard across northern England as the largest factory complex in the world opened. It uses steam acquired from burning coal. The Industrial Revolution arrived with a roar. Luddites in various cities in the spinning and cloth finishing industries, feared the changes in working practices and took matters into their own hands. They set about destroying the new machinery. They feared technological unemployment.
Napoleon’s master plan of European dominance in the 19th century started to unravel.
It culminated in his final military defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Returning soldiers and sailors flooded the streets of Britain looking for employment but there was little to be found. An already desperately poor rural community felt the pressure of these returning fighters. Poverty forced people into poor relief and in the end this brutal system cried out for Reform. The government feared revolution and put in place measures to suppress any such agitation. A group of revolutionaries chose a strategy of killing government cabinet ministers, believing it will trigger a massive uprising. It became known as the ‘Cato Street Conspiracy’.
The 19th Century is an open door for science development and invention
Dalton the chemist told us the world is made up of atoms and Michael Faraday gives us the gift of the principles of electro-magnetism. Sewing machines, bicycles, the telegraph and morse code, the telephone and the electric motor revolutionize life for ordinary people. Physicians make the drug morphine from raw opium and the Royal College of Surgeons is established. John Snow’s far reaching work on the causes of the cholera epidemics sweeping Europe brings results. Medical advances in antiseptic use, anesthetics and hospital care give people the chance to live longer.The first successful oil well is drilled.
To match the march of manufacturing in Britain, roads, bridges, tunnels, railways and steam ships were built and by the end of the 19th Century, humans had mastered the skies through powered flight. Charles Darwin and others offer a new way of explaining our world, developing a theory of evolutionary selection and specialization. A schism opens between the men of science and the men of religion.
The 19th century brings a halt to the sickening trade of slaves around the globe
Britain at last outlaws slave trading across the Atlantic, a corner has been turned. Trade deals are done between Britain and other European nations and funally, ‘The Abolition of Slavery Act’ is passed in Britain. Britain makes New Zealand a colony and war in Afghanistan makes Britain look weak in India and fuels local disturbances.
The golden age of Empire, will begin to lose it’s shine and the total dominance Britain once enjoyed, lessens.
A gold rush opens up the West in America. Millions of people migrate around the world. The Irish famine and social economic pressure all over Europe encourages people to take their chances in new worlds, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and America all see population rapidly rise.
The Boxer Rebellion is a form of state terrorism, nationalists who want to exclude foreign interference, they attack Christian missionaries.
The 19th century is a time for Reform
The need for social reform becomes critical, many organisations are formed by social reformers keen to ease the appalling conditions many poor people find themselves in.More adults in Britain demand the vote. Many Acts of Parliament are passed concerning the rights of women and children.There is a surge of anger from the working classes relating to poor provision, working conditions and the lack of a voice in political affairs. This is happening not just in Britain but across the world.