"Manchester: Industrialization and Growth"

Essay by ccmustangs2001High School, 10th gradeA, April 2004

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"Identify the issues raised by the growth of Manchester and analyze the various reactions to those issues over the course of the nineteenth century."

Background: Manchester, England, became a leading textile manufacturing center soon after its first large mechanized cotton mill was built in 1780. Its population increased from 18,000 in 1750 to over 300,000 by the census of 1851, much of this made up of the working class and immigrants. In the 1832 Reform Bill, Manchester was granted representation in Parliament and middle-class men received the vote. After Queen Victoria's visit in 1851, Manchester was granted a royal charter.

The early to mid 1800s in Manchester was a time of what could be seen as prosperous growth. Between 1750 and 1850 Manchester nearly quadrupled in size (DOC 1). The radical changes that occurred in this 100 year time span brought forth different responses from the social, economic, and political stand points.

Visitors, such as Robert Southey, from England, and Alexis de Tocqueville, from France, did not see Manchester as a glorious sight. Robert Southey says that he could not imagine a more destitute city (DOC 2). He probably saw the same plumes of smoke that were depicted in The Graphic's magazine picture of the Irwell River (DOC 11) The factories at this time, as one could expect, were putting forth pollution, and in a sense, laying a black cloud over Manchester. According to the French visitor Tocqueville, the city was leaving the civilized side of man and turning him savage (DOC 5). Yet, this same city that was looked upon by so many, was actually giving forth good for the rest of the world. At the expense of all this good, were men's lives. The lowest life expectancy, according to the medical reformer Thomas Wakley, was at its...