Engels vs. Crystal Palace

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R & R #3

Engels Vs. The Crystal Palace

R&R Instructions: Please describe one example of how Friedrich Engels’s observations about The Condition of the Working Class in England (chaps 1-3 and 6) compare to the vision of the Industrial Revolution that we saw in the Crystal Palace documents. Be sure to focus on a specific comparison—i.e. a single point about or aspect of the Industrial Revolution that they see differently, or similarly—and use quotes wherever possible. Does it seem to you that Engels is looking at this “revolution” from a Painean perspective, or more from a Burkean perspective? Explain.

The Crystal Palace was the physical embodiment of what was supposed to be a glorious change for the people of England and the world. People of all classes coming together by way of innovation and invention. Improvements in transportation, building materials, agriculture, and textiles were all seen as improving the lot of all people, the working class and the rich alike. “If crystal palaces can be erected cheaper than any other kind of dwelling, and if the richest can have no better houses, the poorest will have them also, and another step will be made by all towards reaching that high but equal level to which the natural development of society is rapidly leading” (Editorial on Crystal Palace). And so it seems as though those who saw the industrial revolution in a bright and shiny light believed that the lives of the poor could only get better and perhaps even reach equality with the rich through continued innovation. “The poor are not so rude, the rich not so arrogant as they were. The Exhibition will mingle them still more; dwellings of a common, but improved kind, will tend to the same end, and all will be raised and equalized” (Editorial on Crystal Palace). And yet this bright, happy view is not necessarily what was reflected in the eyes of the proletariats in Friedrich Engels book. “With these inventions, since improved from year to year, the...
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