Englishmen 17th Century

Chapter two of Past Speaks, covers many different articles that discusses the many social classes that were present in Britain at that time. When Thomas Hobbes described the life of the Englishmen as “nasty, brutish and short. ” he was partially correct. On the contrary he was also mistaken. Thomas Hobbes made a generalization of the Englishmen, and failed to mention some of the upper and profitable people of the British society. Obviously the wealthy and prosperous people were not included in this generalization that is made.

Farmers from Norfolk were very successful, as stated in Past Speaks chapter 2, “Pointing out the practices which have succeeded so nobly here, may perhaps be of some use to other countries possessed of the same advantages, but unknowing in the art of them. ” Arthur Young, a traveling one-man bureau, wrote about these farmers and successful cattle-breeding men. He speaks of a man by the name of Robert Bakewell, who turned out to be a very wealthy man.

Bakewell experimented in the breeding of cattle. He managed to breed a large amount of cattle that could produce more meat and less bone, in which he ended up shipping overseas to neighboring countries. Thomas Hobbes again, did not include these men in the comment he had made. Henri Misson, visiting sportsmen to England did write on the sports and diversions of England. Misson writes “Anything that looks like fighting is delicious to an Englishman.

If two little boys quarrel in the street, then passengers stop, make a ring round them in a moment, and set them against one another, that they may come to fisticuffs. ” This piece does support Thomas Hobbes comment on the difference of Englishmen from the 17th to the 18th century. This seemed as little or nothing had changed with the society. Another quote from Past Speaks “these by-standers are not only other boys, porters and rabble, but all sorts of men of fashion; some thrusting by the mob that they may see plain”.

This is evidence that not only the lower social class, but the upper class as well were enthused. This is evidence to Hobbes remark. Thomas Hobbes however did not believe in Democracy. Thomas Hobbes believed in a diverse group of representatives presenting the problems of the common person, which would eliminate the power of a cruel and unfair king. Hobbes believed in having a King rule, he thought that people needed a single person to provide leadership and direction.

Hobbes quote “No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” from the Leviathan, Hobbes was explaining how people are self-interested, and cannot be trusted to govern society. So Hobbes was not only describing the life of the Englishman, he was also describing what it might be, without the strong authority to keep everyone in line. Henry Fielding also provides evidence that nothing has changed from the 17th to the 18th century. In 1751 Mr. Fielding wrote a novel on the crimes and robberies of this time.

He writes in The Works of Henry Fielding “The Drunkenness I here intend is that acquired by the strongest intoxicating liquors, and particularly by that poison called Gin; Which I have great reason to think is the principal sustenance (if it may be so called) of more than a hundred thousand people in this metropolis. ” Obviously this effect on society does not improve the common good. Later in his piece Fielding states “the great revenue arising from the tax on this liquor (the consumption of which is almost wholly confined to the lowest order of people) will prove the quantity consumed better than any other evidence.

” This quote also depicts that the lower income society is contributing to this “nasty, brutish, and short” society. It is shown that once again, that the lower social class is the main source of this brutish class. The works that speak of the wealthy do not even mention robbery, prostitution, poverty or alcoholism. There is the mention of how they like to watch fighting or brute sports like that, but as mentioned in class, English like to watch physical contact sports. It sounds as if Thomas Hobbes was in disgust with the current political system of parliament.

For all of his distrust of human nature, Hobbes was interested in justice and he did advocate that people should come together so that the monarch would hear their concerns. What came of this was his famous term “voice of the people. ” There is a large representation to follow that little had changed by the mid 18th century. Yes, there is the start of the industrial revolution around the corner with the start of spinning wool, and the use of water wheels to optimize production. But there is soon to be a large increase in trade, with the opening of many ports on the jagged coastline.

After the mid 18th century, the statement that Hobbes makes would no longer hold much truth. There is to be a separation from the wealthy to the poor. Another vice for the wealthy was gambling. The wealthy are drawn into the thought of increasing their money. These practices are still done today, just in a much different fashion. These men would bring large amounts of money to “increase”, and end up going home empty handed. There is no way that a democracy or monarchy would be able to stop this type of offense. This also supports the view of Hobbes.

What drove the industrial revolution were profound social changes, as Europe moved from a primarily agricultural and rural economy to a capitalist and urban economy, from a household, family-based economy to an industry-based economy. This required rethinking social bond and the structure of the family; the surrender of the family economy, for instance, was the most dramatic change to the structure of the family that Europe had ever undergone. In 1750, the European economy was overwhelmingly an agricultural economy.

Largely wealthy and aristocratic landowners owned the land; they leased the land to tenant farmers who paid for the land in real goods that they grew or produced. Most non-agricultural goods were produced by individual families that specialized in one set of skills: wagon-wheel manufacture, for instance. Most capitalist activity focused on mercantile activity rather than production; there was, however, a growing manufacturing industry growing up around the philosophy of mercantilism. The bringing of this Industrial Revolution brings an end to this social class controversy.

The statement that is made by Hobbes is lost in the transition from an agricultural society to a mass production manufacturing society. One of the major factors that bring the Revolution is the population growth. With a larger population, there is a larger workforce to supply goods. People, who were used to producing for their family, now have to produce more for a profit. Thomas Hobbes was one of the most infamous philosophers of his time, who had many great accomplishments and wrote many pieces of literature, some of which are very controversial. ?

This is a picture of Thomas Hobbes in his book Leviathan This depicts his views towards dependence and authority. THOMAS HOBBES of Malmesbury London, LEVIATHAN, The Matter, Forme, & Power, OF A COMMON-WEALTH ECCLESIASTICALL AND CIVILL. , Printed for ANDREW CROOKE, at the Green Dragon in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1651. Walter L. Arnstein, THE PAST SPEAKS, Sources and Problems in British History, second edition, ; 1993 by D. C. Heath and Company Rapaczynski, Andrzej. Nature and Politics: Liberalism in the Philosophies of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Cornell University Press, 1987.