1F Industrialisation and the people: Britain, c1783–1885

This option allows students to study change, continuity, cause and consequence in this period through the following key questions:

  • How was Britain governed and how did democracy and political organisations change and develop?
  • What pressures did governments face and how did they respond to these?
  • How and with what results did the economy develop and change?
  • How and with what results did society and social policy develop?
  • How important were ideas and ideology?
  • How important was the role of individuals and groups and how were they affected by developments?

Part one: the impact of industrialisation: Britain, c1783–1832

Pressure for change, c1783–1812

  • The British political system in 1783: government and representation; national and local democracy; Whigs and Tories
  • Government: Pitt the Younger as Prime Minister and his successors; Pitt's relationship with the King; the 1784 election; reform of finance, administration and trade
  • Economic developments: industrialisation; the growth of cotton and other industries; changes in power; the condition of agriculture
  • Social developments: the middle class; the industrial workforce; landowners; agricultural labourers and the poor; working conditions; standards of living; the Combination Acts
  • Pressures on government: the political influence of the French Revolution; Irish rebellion and union; radicalism and opposition; party splits; demands for parliamentary reform
  • Pressures on government: the political, economic and social impact of war; the condition of Britain by 1812

Government and a changing society, 1812–1832

  • Government: Lord Liverpool; the Corn Laws and other legislation; attitudes to reform and repression; the economy; the repeal of the Combination Acts
  • Government: Canning, Goderich and Wellington; legislation including the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts; the metropolitan police force; O’Connell and Catholic Emancipation
  • Economic developments: continuing industrialisation and developments in key industries; agricultural change; economic policies and free trade
  • Social developments: the effects of industrialisation; standards of living and working class discontent
  • Pressures for change: Luddism and radical agitation; the anti-slavery movement; Methodism; early socialism and the ideas of Robert Owen
  • Greater democracy: the election of the Whigs; pressure for parliamentary reform; the Great Reform Act and its impact; the state of Britain politically, economically and socially by 1832

Part two: the Age of Reform: Britain, 1832–1885 (A-level only)

Political change and social reform, 1832-1846 (A-level only)

  • Government: Grey, Melbourne and the ideas and ideology of the Whig Party; the Tories in opposition and government; Peel and the transformation of the Conservative party
  • The Whig response to social change; social reforms including: education, factory legislation, abolition of slavery, the Poor Law Amendment Act, the Municipal Corporations Act
  • Pressure for change: Chartism; Irish radicalism; the Anti-Poor Law League; the Anti-Corn Law League; social reform campaigners including Shaftesbury and Chadwick
  • The Conservative response to change: finance, administration and the economy; the Bank Charter Act; trade and business reform
  • Economic developments: the railway 'revolution' and associated economic growth; agriculture and Corn Law repeal
  • Social developments: conditions in urban Britain; changes in the lives of workers and the poor; unions and other working-class movements

Economy, society and politics, 1846–1885 (A-level only)

  • Government and developing political organisation: the development of the political system and party realignment; the emergence of the Liberal Party
  • Government and democracy: Gladstone, his ministries and ideas and policies; Disraeli, his ministries, ideas and policies; increasing democracy; legislation
  • Pressure for change: social campaigns, Public Health reform; Chartism; pressure for parliamentary reform; Irish Nationalism
  • Economic developments: the mid-Victorian boom; the 'golden age' of agriculture; industrial and transport developments; impact of increased trade; the Great Depression
  • Social developments: prosperity and poverty in towns and countryside; regional divisions; influences including Evangelicalism; 'self-help'; trade unions and education
  • The political, economic and social condition of Britain by 1885; the extent of democracy and Britain’s industrial position