Henry VIII to the
During the late 18th century and early 19th century, there was
considerable social upheaval as a largely agrarian society was
transformed by technological advances and increasing mechanization,
which was the Industrial Revolution.
Much of the agricultural workforce was uprooted from the countryside
and moved into large urban centres of production, as the steam-based
production factories could undercut the traditional cottage industries,
because of economies of scale and the increased output per worker made
possible by the new technologies. The consequent overcrowding into
areas with little supporting infrastructure saw dramatic increases in
the rate of infant mortality (to the extent that many Sunday schools
for pre-working age children (5 or 6) had funeral clubs to pay for each
others funeral arrangements), crime, and social deprivation.
The transition to industrialization was not wholly seamless for
workers, many of whom saw their livelihoods threatened by the process.
Of these, some frequently sabotaged or attempted to sabotage factories.
These saboteurs were known as "Luddites".