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Encyclopedia > Luddite

The Luddites were a social movement of English textile artisans in the early nineteenth century who protested — often by destroying textile machines — against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt threatened their livelihood. American Civil Rights Movement is one of the most famous social movements of the 20th century. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem God Save the King (Queen) England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Unified  -  by Athelstan 967 AD  Area  -  Total 130,395 km²  50,346 sq mi  Population  -  2006 estimate... Sunday textile market on the sidewalks of Karachi, Pakistan. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Sunday textile market on the sidewalks of Karachi, Pakistan. ... Wind turbines The scientific definition of a machine is any device that transmits or modifies energy. ... A Watt steam engine. ...


This English historical movement has to be seen in its context of the harsh economic climate due to the Napoleonic Wars; but since then, the term Luddite has been used to describe anyone opposed to technological progress and technological change. For the modern movement of opposition to technology, see neo-luddism. Combatants Allies: Austrian Empire[1] Kingdom of Portugal Kingdom of Prussia[1] Russian Empire[2] Kingdom of Spain[3] Kingdom of Sweden United Kingdom[4] Ottoman Empire[5] French Empire Kingdom of Holland Kingdom of Italy Kingdom of Naples Duchy of Warsaw Kingdom of Bavaria[6] Kingdom of Saxony[7... The wheel was invented circa 4000 BC, and has become one of the worlds most famous, and most useful technologies. ... A technological change is a term that is used in economics to describe a change in the set of feasible production possibilities. ... The term luddite is both a political/historical term relating to a political movement during the Industrial Revolution and a pejorative used to attack those who are perceived as being uncompromisingly or unnecessarily opposed to one or more technological innovations. ...


The Luddite movement, which began in 1811, was named after a mythical leader, Ned Ludd. For a short time the movement was so strong that it clashed in battles with the British Army. Measures taken by the government included a mass trial at York in 1813 that resulted in many death penalties and transportations (removal to a penal colony). Ned Lud is the person that forms the basis for the character of King (or Captain) Ludd who was supposedly the leader and founder of the Luddites. ... Generally, a battle is an instance of combat in warfare between two or more parties wherein each group will seek to defeat the others. ... The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. ... York is a city in North Yorkshire, England, at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss. ... Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences. ...


Their principal objection was to the introduction of new wide-framed looms that could be operated by cheap, relatively unskilled labour, resulting in the loss of jobs for many textile workers.

Contents

History

The original Luddites claimed to be led by one Ned Ludd (also known as "King Ludd", "General Ludd" or "Captain Ludd") who is believed to have destroyed two large stocking frames that produced inexpensive stockings undercutting those produced by skilled knitters, and whose signature appears on a "workers' manifesto" of the time. The character seems to be based on a local folk tale about someone whose motives were probably quite different[citation needed]. Ned Lud is the person that forms the basis for the character of King (or Captain) Ludd who was supposedly the leader and founder of the Luddites. ... A stocking frame was a mechanical knitting machine used in the textiles industry. ... Knit hat, yarn, and knitting needles Knitting is a craft by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth. ... Look up manifesto in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


The work by Binfield (see weblink below) is particularly useful in placing the Luddite movement in correct historical context — organised action by stockingers had occurred at various times since 1675, and the present action had to be seen in the context of the hardships suffered by the working class during the Napoleonic Wars.


The movement began in Nottingham in 1811 and spread rapidly throughout England in 1811 and 1812. Many wool and cotton mills were destroyed until the British government harshly suppressed them. The Luddites met at night on the moors surrounding the industrial towns, practising drilling and manoeuvres and often enjoyed local support. The main areas of the disturbances were Nottinghamshire in November 1811, followed by the West Riding of Yorkshire in early 1812 and Lancashire from March 1812. Battles between Luddites and the military occurred at Burtons' Mill in Middleton, and at Westhoughton Mill, both in Lancashire. It was rumoured at the time that agent provocateurs employed by the magistrates were involved in stirring up the attacks.[citation needed] Magistrates and food merchants were also objects of death threats and attacks by the anonymous King Ludd and his supporters. Some industrialists even had secret chambers constructed in their buildings, which may have been used as a hiding place.[1] Nottingham is a city (and county town of Nottinghamshire) in the East Midlands of England. ... Long and short hair wool at the South Central Family Farm Research Center in Boonesville, Arizona Wool is the fiber derived from the fur of animals of the Caprinae family, principally sheep, but the hair of certain species of other mammals such as goats, alpacas, llamas and rabbits may also... Cotton ready for harvest. ... A factory (previously manufactory) is a large industrial building where goods or products are manufactured. ... Nottinghamshire (abbreviated Notts) is an English county in the East Midlands, which borders South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire. ... The West Riding as an administrative county prior to its abolition in 1974. ... Lancashire is a county in North West England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Generally, a battle is an instance of combat in warfare between two or more parties wherein each group will seek to defeat the others. ... {infobox England place| |Latitude= 53. ... Westhoughton Mill (Wray and Duncrofts Mill), situated in the town of that name in Lancashire, was the site of an 1812 battle between the Luddites and the English military. ... Lancashire is a county in North West England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... An agent provocateur (plural: agents provocateurs) is a person assigned to provoke unrest, violence, debate, or argument by or within a group while acting as a member of the group but covertly representing the interests of another. ...


"Machine breaking" (industrial sabotage) was made a capital crime (Lord Byron, one of the few prominent defenders of the Luddites, famously spoke out against this legislation), and 17 men were executed after an 1813 trial in York. Many others were transported as prisoners to Australia. At one time, there were more British troops fighting the Luddites than Napoleon I on the Iberian Peninsula. Three Luddites ambushed a mill-owner in Crosland Moor, Huddersfield; the Luddites responsible were hanged in York, and shortly thereafter 'Luddism' waned. German supply train blown up by the Armia Krajowa during World War II Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening an enemy, oppressor or employer through subversion, obstruction, disruption, and/or destruction. ... Capital punishment, also referred to as the death penalty, is the judicially ordered execution of a prisoner as a crime, often called a capital offense or a capital crime. ... Lord Byron, Anglo-Scottish poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (January 22, 1788–April 19, 1824) was an Anglo-Scottish poet and a leading figure in Romanticism. ... In legal parlance, a trial is an event in which parties to a dispute present information (in the form of evidence) in a formal setting, usually a court, before a judge, jury, or other designated finder of fact, in order to achieve a resolution to their dispute. ... York is a city in North Yorkshire, England, at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss. ... This picture depicts women in England mourning their lovers who are soon to be transported to Botany Bay. ... Napoléon I, Emperor of the French (born Napoleone di Buonaparte, changed his name to Napoléon Bonaparte)[1] (15 August 1769; Ajaccio, Corsica – 5 May 1821; Saint Helena) was a general during the French Revolution, the ruler of France as First Consul (Premier Consul) of the French Republic from... The Iberian Peninsula, or Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe. ... Crosland Moor is a district of the town of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. ... Huddersfield is a large town in England near the confluence of the River Colne and the River Holme. ...


However, the movement can also be seen as part of a rising tide of English working-class discontent in the early 19th century (see, for example, the Pentrich Rising of 1817, which was a general uprising, but led by an unemployed Nottingham stockinger, and probable ex-Luddite, Jeremiah Brandreth). An agricultural variant of Luddism, centring on the breaking of threshing machines, was crucial to the widespread Swing Riots of 1830 in southern and eastern England. Pentrich is a small village between Belper and Alfreton in Derbyshire. ... The Swing Riots were a widespread uprising by the rural workers of the arable south and east of England in 1830. ...


In recent years, the terms Luddism and Luddite or Neo-Luddism and Neo-Luddite have become synonymous with anyone who opposes the advance of technology due to the cultural changes that are associated with it. By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a mastery of technology sufficient to leave the surface of the Earth for the first time and explore space. ...


Criticism of Luddism

One view of Luddites is that they were a paramilitary group, trying to enforce a production monopoly for their own financial gain through sabotage and the resultant intimidation. A paramilitary organization is a group of civilians trained and organized in a military fashion. ... German supply train blown up by the Armia Krajowa during World War II Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening an enemy, oppressor or employer through subversion, obstruction, disruption, and/or destruction. ...


Also, neoclassical economic historians would argue that Luddites' opposition to the free market and opposition to technological 'progress' were roughly equivalent, believing that the progress that created what we generally refer to as 'modernity' (and especially the high standards of living prevalent in developed nations) was due to the use of technology for private gain, and that this pursuit of private gain, through the medium of specialization, comparative advantage, and mutually beneficial exchange, accumulatively enhances the general welfare. This view, shared with other writers, is a key thesis of David Landes' The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, and Roszaks' The Cult of Information. Neoclassical economics refers to a general approach (a metatheory) to economics based on supply and demand which depends on individuals (or any economic agent) operating rationally, each seeking to maximize their individual utility or profit by making choices based on available information. ... The term economics was coined around 1870 and popularized by Alfred Marshall, as a substitute for the earlier term political economy which has been used through the 18th-19th centuries, with Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Karl Marx as its main thinkers and which today is frequently referred to as... In economics, the theory of comparative advantage explains why it can be beneficial for two parties (countries, regions, individuals and so on) to trade if one has a lower relative cost of producing some good. ... David Landes is professor emeritus of economics and retired professor of history at Harvard University. ... The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is a book by David Landes, currently Emeritus Professor of Economics and former Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard University. ...


The term "Luddite fallacy" has become a concept in neoclassical development economics reflecting the belief that labour-saving technologies (i.e., technologies that increase output-per-worker) increase unemployment by reducing demand for labour. The "fallacy" lies in assuming that employers will seek to keep production constant by employing a smaller, more productive workforce instead of allowing production to grow while keeping workforce size constant.[1] The Luddite fallacy is a concept in development economics related to the belief that labour-saving technologies (i. ...


E. P. Thompson's view of Luddism

In his work on English history, The Making of the English Working Class, E. P. Thompson presented an alternative view of Luddite history. He argues that Luddites were not opposed to new technology in itself, but rather to the abolition of set prices and therefore also to the introduction of the free market. The Making of the English Working Class is an influential work of English social history, written by E. P. Thompson a notable a New Left historian; it was published in 1963 (revised 1968) by Victor Gollancz Ltd, and later republished at Pelican, becoming an early Open University Set Book. ... Edward Palmer Thompson (February 3, 1924 - August 28, 1993), was a British historian, socialist and peace campaigner. ... A free market is an idealized market, where all economic decisions and actions by individuals regarding transfer of money, goods, and services are voluntary, and are therefore devoid of coercion and theft (some definitions of coercion are inclusive of theft). Colloquially and loosely, a free market economy is an economy...


Thompson argues that it was the newly-introduced economic system that the Luddites were protesting. For example, the Luddite song, "General Ludd's Triumph":

The guilty may fear, but no vengeance he aims
At the honest man's life or Estate
His wrath is entirely confined to wide frames
And to those that old prices abate

"Wide frames" were the weaving frames, and the old prices were those prices agreed by custom and practice. Thompson cites the many historical accounts of Luddite raids on workshops where some frames were smashed whilst others (whose owners were obeying the old economic practice and not trying to cut prices) were left untouched. This would clearly distinguish the Luddites from someone who was today called a luddite; whereas today a luddite would reject new technology because it is new, the Luddites were acting from a sense of self-preservation rather than merely fear of change. A Turkish woman in Konya works at a traditional loom. ...


Further insight can be gleaned from Kevin Binfield's 'Writings of the Luddites'.[2]


Sources

Source A: An official announcement, 12th February 1811 "Any person who breaks or destroys machinery in any mill used in the preparing or spinning of wool or cotton or other material for the use of the stocking or lace manufacture, or being lawfully convicted ....shall suffer death."


Source B: A letter sent to an Huddersfield millowner in 1812 "Information has just been given that you are the owner of those detestable shearing frames, and I have been asked by my men to give you a warning to pull them down. If they are not taken down by the end of next week, i shall send at least 200 men to destroy them. If you fire at my men, they have orders to murder you and burn all your houses. Go to your neighbours and inform them that the same fate awaits them if their frames are not taken down.

Signed by the general of the army,
Ned Ludd"

Source C: An extract from the public record office, Yorkshire "The disturbances in the west riding of this country caused by a set of people calling themselves Luddites had become so serious that it was no longer possible to protect people and their property, within which mills improved machinery or finishing frames had been introduced. Such was the case at William Cartwright's water mill which was defended by Mr Cartwright and a guard of soldiers. It is said ten important places where this kind of machinery had been used had been unlawfully destroyed by the Luddites"


Source D: This paper was pasted up in Nottingham on Saturday morning , 9th May 1812

Welcome Ned Ludd, your case is good,
Make perceval* your aim;
For by this bill, 'tis understood
It's death to break a frame -
With dexterous skill, the hosiers kill
For they are quite as bad;
And die you must, by the late bill -
Go on my Bonny lad.
You might as well be hung to death
As breaking a machine
So now my lad, your sword unsheath
And make it sharp and keen.
We are now ready your cause to join
Whenever you may call;
So make foul blood run clear and fine
Of tyrants great and small!

ps:Deface this who dare they shall have Tyrants fare for Ned is everywhere and can see and hear.


*Perceval = The Prime Minister


Source E: 'The Croppers song', from 'The rising of the Luddites by Frank Peel'

"Come cropper lads of high renown
Who love to drink good ale thats brown
And strike each haughty tyrant down
With Hatchet, pike and gun!

Chorus:

Oh, the Cropper lads for me
Who with lusty stroke
The shear frames broke
The cropper lads for me"

See also

Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. ... Since the beginnings of mechanization and even industrialization, there has been a strand of opinion which rejects, objects to, or has been highly critical of the costs of the changes that these trends brought about. ... Critique of technology is a theory which critizes technology for its negative impact under capitalist conditions (as means of domination, control and exploitation), or more generally as something which threatens the very survival of humanity. ... Global mean surface temperatures 1850 to 2006 Mean surface temperature anomalies during the period 1995 to 2004 with respect to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 Global warming is the observed increase in the average temperature of the Earths atmosphere and oceans in recent decades and the projected... Humanistic naturalism places the emphasis upon a naturalistic outlook based upon the scientific method of reasoning, qualified by a complementary emphasis upon the humanities. ... The Making of the English Working Class is an influential work of English social history, written by E. P. Thompson a notable a New Left historian; it was published in 1963 (revised 1968) by Victor Gollancz Ltd, and later republished at Pelican, becoming an early Open University Set Book. ... Edward Palmer Thompson (February 3, 1924 - August 28, 1993), was a British historian, socialist and peace campaigner. ... The term luddite is both a political/historical term relating to a political movement during the Industrial Revolution and a pejorative used to attack those who are perceived as being uncompromisingly or unnecessarily opposed to one or more technological innovations. ... NIMBY (an acronym of Not In My Back Yard) describes the phenomenon in which residents oppose a development as inappropriate for their local area, but by implication do not oppose such development in anothers. ... Propaganda of the deed (or propaganda by the deed, from the French propagande par le fait) is a concept of anarchist origin, which appeared towards the end of the 19th century, that promoted terrorism against political enemies as a way of inspiring the masses and catalyzing revolution. ... Reactionary (or reactionist) is a political epithet, generally used as a pejorative, originally applied in the context of the French Revolution to counter-revolutionaries who wished to restore the real or imagined conditions of the monarchical Ancien Régime. ... German supply train blown up by the Armia Krajowa during World War II Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening an enemy, oppressor or employer through subversion, obstruction, disruption, and/or destruction. ... The Swing Riots were a widespread uprising by the rural workers of the arable south and east of England in 1830. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Technorealism is an attempt to expand the middle ground between techno-utopianism and neo-Luddism by assessing the social and political implications of technologies so that people might all have more control over the shape of their future. ... Techno-utopianism refers to any ideology based on the belief that advanced science and technology will eventually bring about a techno-utopia, a future society with ideal living conditions for all its citizens. ... Theodore Kaczynski (born May 22, 1942), also known as the Unabomber, is an American infamous for his campaign of mail bombings that killed three and wounded 23. ... This is a list of topics related to the United Kingdom. ...

External links and references

Kirkpatrick Sale is an author, technology critic (neo-luddite) and tax resister. ...

Fiction


  Results from FactBites:
 
Pynchon - Essays: "Is it OK to be a Luddite?" (3102 words)
Luddites had, in this view, come to be imagined as the counter-revolutionaries of that "Industrial Revolution" which their modern versions have "never tried, wanted, or been able to understand."
To people who were writing science fiction in the 50's, none of this was much of a surprise, though modern Luddite imaginations have yet to come up with any countercritter Bad and Big enough, even in the most irresponsible of fictions, to begin to compare with what would happen in a nuclear war.
The word "Luddite" continues to be applied with contempt to anyone with doubts about technology, especially the nuclear kind.
Luddite Sociology (1038 words)
The original Luddites claimed to be led by one Ned Ludd (also known as "King Ludd", "General Ludd" or "Captain Ludd") who is believed to have destroyed two large stocking framesthat produced inexpensive stockings undercutting those produced by skilled knitters, and whose signature appears on a "workers' manifesto" of the time.
Luddites are often characterised, and indeed their name has to some become synonymous with, people opposed to all change—in particular technological change such as that which was sweeping through the weavingshops in the industrial heartland of England.
He shows that the Luddites were not opposed to new technology, but rather to the abolition of set prices and therefore also to the introduction of what we would today call the free market.
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