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The Age of Social Change


The French Revolution opened up the possibility of creating dramatic change in the way in which society was structured. Not everyone in Europe, however, wanted a complete transformation. Some were 'conservatives', while others were 'liberals' or 'radicals'.

Industrial Society and Social Change

  1. This was the time economic and social change.
  2. Industrialisation brought men, women and children to factories.
  3. Work hours were often long and wages were poor. 
  4. Unemployment was common, particularly during times of low demand for industrial goods.
  5. Housing and sanitation were problems since towns were growing rapidly.
  6. Liberals and radicals searched for solutions to these issues.

Liberals, Radicals and Conservatives


Liberals:

  1. One of the groups which looked to change society were the liberals.
  2. Liberals wanted a nation which tolerated all religions.
  3. Liberals also opposed the uncontrolled power of dynastic rulers.
  4. They wanted to safeguard the rights of individuals against governments.
  5. They argued for a representative, elected parliamentary government, subject to laws interpreted by a well-trained judiciary that was independent of rulers and officials.
  6. They were not 'democrats'.
  7. They did not believe in the universal adult franchise.
  8. They felt men of property mainly should have the vote.
  9. They also did not want the vote for women.

Radicals:

  1. Radicals wanted a nation in which government was based on the majority of a country's population.
  2. They supported women's suffragette movements.
  3. They opposed the privileges of great landowners and wealthy factory Owners.
  4. They were not against the existence of private property but disliked Concentration of property in the hands of a few.

Conservatives: 

  1. Conservatives were opposed to radicals and liberals.
  2. Conservatives had opened their minds to the need for change.
  3. Conservatives had been generally opposed to the idea of change.
  4. By the nineteenth century, they accepted that some change was inevitable.
  5. They believed that the past had to be respected and change had to be brought about through a slow process.

Support for socialism

  1. Workers in Germany and England began forming associations to fight for better living conditions. They set up funds for members in distress, reduction of working hours and right to vote.
  2. Socialists formed and international body, namely the 'Second international'.
  3. They set up funds for helping members in times of distress and demanded a reduction of working hours and the right to vote.
  4. In Germany, these associations worked with the Socialist Democratic Party and helped it in winning the parliamentary elections.
  5. In 1905 socialists and trade unionists formed a labour party in Britain and a Socialist Party in France.
  6. Socialism, however, could not precede the influence of the radicals, liberals and conservatives.

The Coming of Socialism to Europe

  1. Socialists were against private property.
    Reason: Individuals owned the property that gave employment but the properties were concerned only with personal gain and not with the welfare of those who made the property productive.
  2. Socialists believed in the idea of cooperatives.
  3. Demanded that governments encourage cooperatives.
    Cooperatives: These were to be associations of people who produced goods together and divided the profits according to the work done by members.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)

  1. Marx argued that industrial society was 'capitalist'.
  2. Capitalists owned the capital invested in factories; and the profit of capitalists was produced by workers.
  3. The conditions of workers could not improve as long as this profit was accumulated by private capitalists.
  4. Workers had to overthrow capitalism and the rule of private property.
  5. Marx believed that to free themselves from capitalist exploitation.
  6. He was convinced that workers would triumph in their conflict with capitalists.
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FAQs on The Age Of Social Change - History for Class 9

1. What is the concept of social change?
Ans. Social change refers to the transformation in the behavior, attitudes, and beliefs of individuals or a society as a whole. It can occur due to various factors such as technological advancements, political movements, cultural shifts, or economic developments. Social change can bring about positive or negative consequences and often leads to a reorganization of social structures and institutions.
2. How does social change impact society?
Ans. Social change has a profound impact on society. It can lead to the improvement of living conditions, the promotion of equality and justice, and the advancement of human rights. Social change can also bring about cultural diversity, technological advancements, and economic growth. However, it can also result in social unrest, conflicts, and inequalities if not managed effectively.
3. What are the factors that drive social change?
Ans. Several factors contribute to social change. Technological advancements, such as the invention of the internet or smartphones, have revolutionized communication and transformed various aspects of society. Political movements and activism play a significant role in bringing about social change by advocating for reforms and challenging existing power structures. Economic factors, such as globalization and industrialization, also drive social change by influencing production, consumption, and employment patterns.
4. Can social change be predicted or controlled?
Ans. While it is challenging to predict the exact nature and extent of social change, it is possible to identify certain trends and patterns based on historical data and analysis. Sociologists and researchers study social dynamics, societal trends, and human behavior to understand the factors that contribute to social change. Although social change cannot be fully controlled, efforts can be made to shape its direction and mitigate its negative impacts through policies, education, and collective action.
5. What are some examples of social change in recent times?
Ans. Recent examples of social change include the global movement for gender equality and women's rights, the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and the Black Lives Matter movement. These movements have brought attention to issues of discrimination, inequality, and social justice, leading to significant changes in laws, policies, and societal attitudes. Technological advancements, such as the rise of social media platforms, have also facilitated social change by enabling mass mobilization, information sharing, and amplifying marginalized voices.
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