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Manchester DBQ Argumentative

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In the 19th century, Manchester developed with an industrial revolution that led to the city being an industrial center in England. Because the growth in industry was on such a large scale in a small amount of time, there were both negative and positive reactions. Some were concerned with health due to the change in living conditions and the introduction of unsafe and unsanitary factories, while others were concerned with the aesthetic appeal of the city.

In general, the majority of the population reacted negatively to industrialization. Robert Southey, an English Romantic poet, says that Manchester lacks the basic necessities of life (Doc 2). In his description of Manchester, Southey states that the buildings of the city are large and without beauty, and that the workers inside the buildings are “wretches” for going to work instead of focusing on prayer. Frances Anne Kemble describes a crowd of artisans and mechanics who were dissatisfied with the way the government was run, saying there was a starving man set to protest against the machinery and “gain and glory” that rich men in Manchester would get from said machinery (Doc 4). However, Kemble, who was an actress, poet, and dramatist, was bound to have exaggerated the scene she described. This may have led to her including more into her account than had actually happened.

Public health reformer Edwin Chadwick states in a report that disease in labor classes was occurring immensely, and that the population exposed to industrialization do not have the effects of “moral influences,” which leads to reckless adults (Doc 6). Chadwick is reliable in saying how the conditions themselves affect the population, because he is a public health reformer; he tries to improve the health of the population, and in doing so, he must find what is wrong with the current system. In a British medical journal known as The Lancet, Thomas Wakley —a medical reformer— shows that in rural districts, the average age of death is lower in industrial districts compared to rural districts (Doc 8).

Despite the many negative reactions, some thought that the change was for the better. Thomas B. Macaulay describes (in an essay that responds to Robert Southey in Doc 2) the negative views to the positive as that of comparing a cottage to a factory to see which is more appealing (Doc 3). He says that the development of the manufacturing system has lead to longer life due to more food, better homes and clothes, and improved attention to sickness. However, because Macaulay is a liberal Member of Parliament, he is bound to have these views. The liberal side promotes change, meaning Macaulay will as well. Alexis de Tocqueville makes a statement that sounds negative at first, until the meaning of his words in Document 5 are examined; he states that from sewers, although filthy, “pure gold flows.” Industrialization from his point of view was, although appearing to be a dirty, disastrous thing, a large step forward from humanity.

His odd standpoint on industrialization may come from his origins. Tocqueville is from a prerevolutionary France, meaning that he has yet to see the benefits of industrialization. In Doc 9, Wheelan and Co. make a statement saying that Manchester is the most aesthetically appealing city in England, and that beauty cannot be experienced unless you’re physically there. Compared to the first lines of Doc 7, it shows the improvements in the city. However, because Wheelan and Co. is a business, they are biased in trying to appeal to others in their directory. William Alexander Abram, a journalist and historian, published an article in 1868 explaining how the factory laborers conditions had improved greatly throughout the century (Doc 10). Abram combats the statistics in Doc 8, telling how the conditions have changed for the better of the population’s health.

Because of the industrialization, many people were very concerned about the health of the population. Edwin Chadwick sees how the yearly death rates from “filth and bad ventilation” are higher than the deaths from wounds or wars (Doc 6). The laboring class is affected by overcrowded buildings, and impurities in the atmosphere. Flora Tristan tells of the worker’s lack of clothing, bed, furniture, fuel, and food in Doc 7. In her journal, she tells of how at work, the people breath in cotton fibers, wool, copper, lead, or iron; that they are stuck between lack of food and abundance of alcohol, and that they are emaciated, their eyes dead. Flora Tristan, however, is biased. She is a French socialist, meaning not only is she from a different government, she also wants the classes to end. In describing the working class, she sees their conditions as possibly worse than they are, for the purpose of dividing the attention to why workers should not be separate from the rich.

In Doc 8, the average ages of death are displayed in rural versus industrial districts. In rural districts, the laborers lived to be 25-38, while in industrial districts, only to 17-19. This is understandable, as factory work was dangerous and began at a young age. But even farmers had a lower age at death; in rural districts, the population lived to be from 41-37, while in industrial districts, they lived from 20-27. These statistics show that even though people were not working in a factory environment, the factory itself, as well as the denser population in cities affected everyone. There is one man, Thomas B. Macaulay, who sees the influence of industrialization as a good one (Doc 3). He states that people live longer because they have better food, homes, clothes, and health care.

While some were worried about the health of the population, others were a bit more materialistic and worried about the appearance of the city. In Doc 1, the map shows the development of Manchester. In 1750, the city was small, organized, and spread out. However in 1850, the city is vast and packed together in unorganized ways. Robert Southey, who visited Manchester from another part of England, describes the city to be “destitute” (Doc 2). He says that he houses are blackened with smoke, and that the buildings among the houses lack the beauty of a convent. In Document 11, the view from a bridge over River Irwell is shown in an engraving from The Graphic. The depiction is smoky, the sky filled with smog, with sewers running into the river. The magazine it comes from however, is one that deals with social issues; the depiction may have been manipulated for the purposes of showing how classes should not exist, as it is an engraving, not a photograph.

Overall, in 19th century Manchester, most people reacted negatively to the Industrial revolution, while few were satisfied. There were many concerns about the health of the city, and the appeal of it as well due to the effects of industrialization.

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