Marx & Engels - Comparing Their Views (The Western World)

Essay by Reimche February 2004

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Mary Prince and Friedrich Engels believed the lives of both the slaves and the English industrial workers were extremely challenging. Many people believe that slavery was a much harder life, when they would compare it to the life of an industrial worker. This may be because it seems that the industrial workers were employed, and it was their choice to be there. But this in fact in not true in most cases, because the workers were forced to raise their family with the minimal pay they received. If there were choices for the English working men, they would have opted out of their industrial jobs and into a much safer environment, one which did not include all the carbonic acids, and diseases. The lives of slaves were no better off than those of the English workers. The slaves were depended upon for almost everything by their masters. They received harsh punishments for nearly every act they committed, whether it was good or bad, and if they were at fault or not.

The thought of slaves brings up images of a master whipping their slaves, which wasn't a rare occurrence, and that is why people generally believe the life of a slave to be worse than that of an English industrial worker.

Friedrich Engels states that English industrial workers were forced to work in an atmosphere where everything combined to poison the air. Many of the workers were from the country, and endured severe privation while migrating. They were penned in dozens into tiny rooms, and deprived of all enjoyments except sexual indulgence, and drunkenness. They become pale and narrow chested because of their brutal working conditions. Such diseases as scarlet fever and typhus arose in many of the workers, mainly for the reason that their working conditions were unsanitary.