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Showing posts from April, 2019

Luddites and the Rise of the Machines

Luddites breaking the frame of a textile machine in 1812 Opposition to technological innovation is nothing new. Just look at the Luddites of the early Regency period. These displaced craftsmen knew first-hand how industrial progress, while it might make money for the business owners, could destroy a person’s livelihood. When these weavers, lace-makers and other textile artisans saw their jobs being taken by unskilled laborers willing to work under harsh factory conditions for low wages, they snapped. Rallying around the fictitious character of Ned Ludd, the “Luddites” fought back by breaking the frames of new textile machines. But it was really the economic hardship they were experiencing at the hands of the mill owners, not the machines themselves, that ignited the Luddite's ire. 1812 engraving of Ned Ludd Starting in the spring of 1811, the rioting textile workers tore the country apart; they burned textile mills, destroyed equipment, issued death threats,