The Age of revolution
The age of revolution.
With the American declaration of independence, George Washington became the first president of USA. The loss of the American colonies was a consequence of the American was of his independence. This is why this period is often called “Age of revolutions”, in particularly with the Industrial Revolution. It was a process that changed Britain from an agricultural to an industrial country. There were positive aspects, technological inventions and the communication was improved. But working conditions were bad and salary very low. Besides open field were closed, so it was very difficult for the poor people, who did not own land. The consequence was the pauperization, (impoverimento) that forced the rural population to move to cities to find work (urbanization).
In Britain, the French Revolution, had many supporters, particularly among Romantic poets, but later many thinkers began to fear (paura) that the terror might direct to Britain.
The French Revolution was led by Napoleon, who was defeated by Britain at Trafalgar later at Waterloo.
Free trade and Political Repression.
George IV was an unpopular king but however he had many supporters called "New Tories". During his reign William Pitt's son became prime minister, and became conservative. He was influenced by Adam Smith, so he proposed the end of the government’s regulation of trade. After the French Revolution he brake out, and became a much more conservative Statesman.
Radicalism in Britain.
The Tory government was against revolutionary writings, and publishers limited their freedom of speech. In the meantime, many workers were worried about the introduction of new machines, because machines caused unemployment (disoccupazione). This led to the Luddite Riots, which took their name from Ludd, a hero who destroyed a power loom (telaio) in protest. The luddist started destroying machines in Nottingham and the movement was directed to England. Another battle was the Peterloo massacre, where a lot of people died in St Peter’s field. The tragedy was an ironic reference to the battle of Waterloo.
The road to reform.
The period between 1811 and 1820 was called the Regency. After the death of George III, his son became king and he was called firstly the Prince Regent, and then George IV. During his reign, Trade Unions were legalized and the prison system was reformed. George IV was succeeded by William IV, and this was a period of important reforms. There was the First Reform Act, that extended the possibility to vote to middle-class men, while the parliament was controlled however by the upper.