The Moral Economy Of The English Crowd

1097 WordsSep 28, 20175 Pages
E. P. Thompson in “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century” and David Montgomery in “The Shuttle and the Cross: Weavers and Artisans in the Kensington Riots of 1844” use historical materials as a means to explain how the underlying class conflict lead to market economies in the nineteenth century. Thompson describes the conflict between the working class citizens and the producers of bread lead to conflicts; namely riots, between the two classes. Montgomery details the events of riots in Philadelphia between Protestant and Catholics during a time of flux in wages. Both, Thompson and Montgomery describe how there were divisions between two classes within a market economy, which fueled the creation of division and…show more content…
From the growing separation between the two classes there grew a need for economic control over distribution and pricing of food items. Thompson does discuss some other aspects of the riots, such as the female involvement and by doing so; he steps outside of the primary focus of historical materialism by looking at the events via gender lens. By looking at the gender involvement of the riots, Thompson follows the thinking of what John Tosh discusses in The Pursuit of History: Aims, Methods and New Directions in the Study of History, as a failing point of the singular theory focus. Thompson by turning attentions to other involvement opens the door to how his singular theory could be inclusive of other ideas and circumvents Tosh’s concerns of overly focused theories. In Montgomery’s essay, he details the events that lead to and the after math of the riots in antebellum Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s politics were being driven by the economic situation between the unions, their workers, and the factories with religion playing the role of the dividing force between the working class. The riots were the result of an increase in Catholic population from Europe, which caused the native Protestants to become fearful of changes taking place at the public school in regards to the reading of the bible, namely which version of the bible students in public school should read.
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