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Liberty's DawnA People's History of the Industrial Revolution$
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Emma Griffin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300151800

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300151800.001.0001

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Sons of Freedom

Sons of Freedom

(p.212) Chapter Nine Sons of Freedom
Liberty's Dawn

Emma Griffin

Yale University Press

Despite being born into poverty, many of the ordinary workers who lived through the industrial revolution in Britain somehow rose to prominence as effective actors on the political stage. A look at their autobiographies offers insights into why and how working men moved from the margins of the political process to the center. The autobiographies indicate that mutual improvement societies were the single most significant route into politics after the 1820s and that Sunday schools were a precursor to the working class's political activities. To understand this process, it is necessary to look at the London Corresponding Society, founded in January 1792 by a shoemaker named Thomas Hardy. In the early nineteenth century, a radical change in local power relations presented new opportunities for working men to exercise power within their communities.

Keywords:   industrial revolution, Britain, autobiographies, mutual improvement societies, politics, Sunday schools, working class, London Corresponding Society, power relations

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