The Luddites.

Essay by TheG October 2005

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In the year 1812 there was a series of violent disturbances in Yorkshire, when new machines were introduced into the woolen industry. The new developments in technology meant that many workers found themselves made redundant and out worked. Feeling helpless and struggling to feed their families many of these jobless men bonded together to make a union and in their frustration vandalized these machines. They are called the Luddites.

With the introduction of the steam engine, a series of new inventions followed that changed the way that business was run in England. The woolen industry, one of the England's largest exports, was no exception. Work in Britain revolved around the manufacture of wool. The changes meant that while productivity was greatly increased, many skilled people were put out of work and were therefore left without enough money to feed their families.

Families that used to have meat every day were now forced to eat porridge and skim milk.

Many had to endure the grueling and embarrassing process of standing in queue for the poor relief, just so they had enough money for the most basic of essentials.

The manufacturers, however, were of the opinion that change is inevitable. They believed that the jobless workers should attempt to learn a new skill and keep up with the times instead of complaining. After all,isn't it the boss's responsibility to provide work for these people? Why should they employ a large amount of people to do the same work in a week that can be done in a single day by these new machines?

Enok Taylor, the man responsible for the creation of tools and the new machines hired people to create the machines. He claims that the changes reduce the cost for the manufacturers by about 80% or more.