The Industrial Revolution
Site Map

powered by

Last updated:
17 February 2003
4:14AM EST

The Industrial Revolution  



An economic system where the invisible hand of competition drives supply and demand in a free market economy.

cash nexus

A mode of employment where ties between employers and employees are created through the payment of wages. Work relationships are depersonalised and become economic transactions subject to market forces. Each party seeks to further his or her own financial interests without regard for the other.


A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.


The principles of a political party in England (1838-48), which contended for universal suffrage, the vote by ballot, annual parliaments, equal electoral districts, and other radical reforms, as set forth in a document called the People's Charter.

enclosure movement

Movement by landlords to consolidate their lands which often lead to riots by displaced peasants. This first wave of people moving into cities created the beginning of the multiplier effect.


The policy that the government should leave the market to its own devices and should not interfere with the economy.


Political philosophy which is attuned to the interests of the middle class. Stresses the liberty of the individual, both in relation to the state and in the pursuit of economic self-interest.


Beliefs held by British workers who, between 1811 and 1816, rioted and destroyed industrial machinery in the belief that the advent of such machinery would diminish employment opportunities.

moral economy

The belief that the first fruits of the soil belong to the community.

multiplier effect

The economic cycle of a booming market. It occurs when primary industrial employment increases, sparking the need for more service jobs. The higher population created by this in turn brings more people to fill support services. This cycle continues until the market is saturated with goods and services or the market declines.

Poor Law Amendment

The object of the Poor Law Amendment, from the government's perspective, was to ensure that the majority of the population remained productive and economically beneficial. It was passed in 1834 with little debate, and introduced sweeping changes to the previous Poor Law. The Poor Law amendment did the following:

  • Workers receiving government aid should be discouraged from doing so by the implementation of workhouses - establishments in which the conditions were to be made worse than the lowest paying job
  • Aid should be prohibited for those not working in the workhouses


The poorest class of industrial wage earners who, possessing neither capital nor production means, must earn their living by selling their labour.


Movement that began in the late 18th century and was characterized by a highly imaginative and emotional treatment of life.


System of government where the state plans and controls the economy and collectively owns the means of producing and distributing goods.

utopian socialists

Socialist philosophers who believed that society could be convinced to gradually shift to a socialist system.