Analysis Of The 1833 Factory Act

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The Factory Act (1833) was part of the Whig Reform programme, which ran from 1833-1841 and was undertaken as a defensive response to fears of revolution and anarchy in the wake of revolution elsewhere in Europe. (, 2016) It was one of many social reforms of the time and there is division amongst historians as to its importance and success. This paper will analyse its content, make an analysis of its value and conclude that while the 1833 Factory Act was a critical piece of social legislation, it was not a terribly effective one and in essence changed far less than may have been hoped.
This Act introduced by Whig, Althorpe and was fairly basic. It involved several regulations which were focused on children and specifically in
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On the surface all seems well, Nassau seemingly cares about the condition of the poor, supporting a welfare type state, but in reality the intentions were not entirely humanitarian, previously the poor relief was funded through local taxes of middle and upper class people. As a means of reducing the cost, new laws were passed. The 1834 Poor law amendment act introduces the policy of “less eligibility”, the conditions inside the workhouses were made deliberately worse than the conditions in outside, the normal healthy worker had to be extremely poor to be entitled to poor relief. Thus yet another ineffective, unintended act, the same mistake made as the Factory Act, the result was not intended, unsurprising that its enactment was patchy and unenthusiastic, this seemed to be the trend with acts passed around that era. For a more meaningful change it would take the Chartists, years of constant pushing against the laissez-faire ideology to cause a purposeful impact on the minds of the country and challenge laissez-faire philosophy (Lee, 1994, p.89-101). As a whole, in the 1830s, generally any moves to lessen the burden of the poor and disenfranchised swam against a very strong tide of indifference and capitalist greed. Profits came before people. There was always a reluctance against any new regulations surrounding the welfare of people. But the Factory Act 1833 unlike the poor law amendment act caused a chain of Factory Acts to passed even decades later, further improving factory conditions, it was one of drivers of Britain’s road to a welfare

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