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Essay: To What Extent Have Class Systems Been Influenced By Mass Literacy?

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Introduction: The dawn of a writing system. (600)

13,000 years ago a written language didn’t exist, now, 1 billion messages are sent on facebook everyday. Reading and Writing hasn’t always been this ubiquitous, once it was reserved for the rich and powerful. From this comes the interaction between literacy and the hierarchy of society. This essay will explore the history of writing and whether or not it has played a crucial part to the class systems of our society. Starting at the beginning of the written word, journeying through the Industrial Revolution of 1760 and posters used during the Russian Revolution of 1917, this essay will examine the importance of literacy, and whether it contributed to class hierarchy.

The written word is so crucial and prevalent that it is difficult to imagine a time without it. Its politicalisation today is assumed. However, the link between the writing system and class system worldwide runs deeper than we may imagine, for without generalised literacy a greater understanding of class consciousness and an ability to demand change though protest, would not have been possible during the 19th century.

In order to fully understand the relationship between the class system and the writing system it is important to examine the formation of the written word. 70,000 years ago ‘the cognitive revolution’ began. This was the time when people started crafting spears for hunting, domesticating dogs and drawing on cave walls. The Hands Cave of Argentina shows the emergence of a species not just creative or intelligent, but aware of their potential to document their lifestyle for future generations to see. However, the cave drawings among other pictograms are subjective in meaning, unlike a language which is certain. During the Cognitive Revolution people lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle which, unlike an empire or civilisation, did not require any documentation, much like a tribal society. This changed when people decided to farm.

The ‘agricultural revolution’ started once we decided to domesticate plants instead of moving from place to place in search of fertile grounds, we made permanent settlements. As the need to catalogue trade, farming materials and debt grew, so did the writing system. This brings us to the first evidence of a relationship between class and writing systems, found in the Fertile Crescent 9,000 years ago.

Here clay tablets were used for administrative texts by the Sumerian’s, now referred to as Cuneiform Script. This suggests that the formation of the first writing system was based fundamentally on the beginning of a class system. With the farmers, land owners and workers having a clear place in the hierarchy of importance to their society. This also allowed people to work on a site and receive an amount of the harvest for their labour. The amount they received had to be agreed upon and remembered, this created a problem between land owner and worker. A writing system was the answer.

Therefore we can see that even from this primitive writing system a hierarchy had emerged. For instance, if the owner of the land knew how to read and write and his worker didn’t, he had an opportunity to be dishonest to his worker and say they agreed on a lower price for labour, then they actually did. But what if the worker and owner both didn’t know how to read and write Cuneiform? Would there have been an external writer to meet with? This would add another level of hierarchy, potentially leading to misinterpretation or corruption within the system.

Another example of a power shift made possible by those able to read and write, can be seen in the 16th Century, following the years of Spanish Conquest of South America, when the Spaniards employed Quipu for administering their new empire. Quipu was a form of mathematical writing using thousands of knots on hundreds of colourful strings, previously used by the Inca Empire. The Spaniards couldn’t read or write Quipu so they were dependant on native professionals. Once the Spaniards realised these professionals could easily cheat them, Quipu was phased out for Latin script and Numerals. However, a social hierarchy was already evident at this point. This shows how the ruling classes needed to be able to read and write, in order to control an empire, despite the unimportance of literacy amongst the lower classes. It didn’t stop peasants from obtaining the generic professions that kept society functioning.

Chapter 1: The Industrial Revolution

1. Pre-industrial Britain

During the eighteenth century before the Industrial Revolution; Britain was a split community between Nobels and Peasants. Transport was unavailable making communities self-reliant on themselves to provide food, clothes and anything else they needed. Agriculture was in full effect and despite advancements as a civilisation, life for most of the population was not hugely dissimilar to ancient farmers of bygone times. A hierarchy between land owner and land worker was still prevalent because education was both expensive and scarce. There were only a small number of schools and university institutions, of which ordinary people were not permitted to attend. Manual labour was intensive and crucial, as humans or animals were the only source of power behind the machines available to improve productivity. Poverty was a constant possibility with both famine and agriculture being seasonal by nature.

This image displays the average agricultural workman before the Industrial Revolution. His labour requires the necessary skills to manage the horses and carriage effectively. His other roles will include caring for the horses among other cultivation roles on the facility. This did not require a literate person, just someone who could follow instruction and physically work hard.

Soon something would happen that would require the mass population to work a very different labours.

2. Industrial Revolution: changes to the class system.

In 1781, James Watts perfected the steam engine, heat could be converted into movement, allowing the industrialisation of Great Britain. Once the machine of Industrialism started working, new class systems emerged. The middle class (consisting of Doctors, Lawyers and factory owners. Making money though the manifestation of consumerism.) And the working class (worked in the factories, mined materials for mass production or opened shops.) Perhaps the biggest change, was the industrial effect on agriculture; less and less people were required to work on farms as machines replaced most of their labour. This saw a surge in the number of people moving out of rural communities. In seventeen fifty; only fifteen percent of the population lived in towns or cities, contrastingly one hundred years later, fifty percent lived in towns or cities.

Life in crowded cities, as apposed to isolated villages brought a change in mentality, which potentially led to depression, poverty and loneness, but importantly created a sense of class consciousness, through living and working with people in the same conditions, with the same problems. People could agree on the same issues, and sympathetically complain about their situations.

‘Finally concern with productivity also implied the need for education and literacy. Reading, writing and arithmetic had been optional for peasants and farm labourers of pre-industrial societies. That is why any discussion of literature in pre-capitalist or early capitalist times involves the literature of the upper and middle classes. But the complex interacting processes of capitalist production now required a literate work force — if only to read instructions of machinery and labels on packing cases — with a basic level of numeracy and, as important as these two things, ingrained habits of time discipline and obedience.’ (- Chris Harmon)

This epitomises how education for the lower classes was modelled on the interests and needs of industrialism. In order to work in factories people needed a set of basic skills that had almost no similarities to the physical labour they were used to.

In comparison to figure 1, the worker in figure 2 requires a level of skill hugely dissimilar. The act of replenishing supplies in machines, like this cotton mill, is a difficult and problematic job. A level of literacy is required to understand any written instruction, as the productivity of these factories were leaps and bounds better then agricultural farms, due to the rapid speeds of the machines. The age of the worker is another difference. Agriculture needed strong physical labourers, children were of little importance to such work. Factories, however, had a place for small, agile workers. They were able to navigate around machinery easier and fit in places an adult could not.

3. Industrial Revolution and changes in education.

‘Previously to the Industrial Revolution literacy was reserved for the political and social elite, this marked the first time generalised education was considered. Different types of school emerged to fill the gaps, and to provide for England’s newly-industrialised and (partly) enfranchised society, various types of school began to be established to offer some basic education to the masses’ (Gillard, 2011).

‘Schools of Industry started to teach the poor the skills they needed for working in factories, such as manual training and elementary instruction. Kendal School in the Lake District is one example, opened in 1799. Sunday schools were also set up, to teach the word of god.

If the bible societies, and the Sunday school societies have been attended by no there good,” sherwin noted, “they have at least produced one beneficial effect; — they have been the means of teaching many thousands of children to read.’ – (EP TOMSON)

The fore mentioned forms of teaching did not receive negative judgement, purely as it was in the interests of the country (and the upper class) to have the lower class working in factories, productively. This was unlike the following Monitorial Schools, Infant schools and Elementary starting in 1824, when David Stow opened Glasgow Normal School. These schools were established by individuals and groups who believed in mass education and these individuals received hostility at the idea of educating the poor. The distaste of the poor being educated suited the hierarchal system, as the power of words was previously retained for leaders. The kind of power the Spaniards wanted over the Quipu professionals. Literacy rates improved in the working class population in the following years, but the lower class citizens were not equal to the middle class despite being able read and write, just like the native Quipu professionals were not equal to the leaders of the Spanish Empire, at least in their minds. Information however, became more accessible to the lower class through literacy. Politics became more transparent. This information could be pivotal to protest the way in which the country was being run. Corruption became visible to lower classes, the class most likely to receive the negative aspects of industrialisation, such as pollution of their conditions or disregard of their exposure to harmful manufacturing materials in factories.

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” (Nelson Mandela)

Chapter 2 : Protesting The Revolution

With the ability to read, now opening access to information. This could educate the general public on matters above their own, that correlate to have impact on their living conditions. For instance the public vote.

‘In early-19th-century Britain very few people had the right to vote. A survey conducted in 1780 revealed that the electorate in England and Wales consisted of just 214,000 people – less than 3% of the total population of approximately 8 million.’ – { http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/citizenship/struggle_democracy/getting_vote.htm }

The British electoral system was unrepresentative and outdated because education was lacking. The public did not have input. They knew little about politics prior to generalised literacy, which opened access to see holes in the system. Add to this any type of secret society being illegal, and the possibility that laws were put in place to prevent protest, seems evermore likely. As without such activist groups, how can a protest be arranged? Mass education is the direct answer to all of the above, and literacy is the direct vehicle of information.

Luddite Movement

The Luddites functioning from 1811-1816, are an earlier example of protest towards the Industrial Revolution. A group of Nottingham workers met in private, planning to destroy machinery. They felt their skills for the crafts they had learned and mastered were being forgotten, as machines replaced labour. The physical way in which the Luddites functioned did not require literacy, yet they generated a large following, this was in part due to the amount of attention vandalising machines would receive, in the form of reward posters, that unintentionally advertised the movement. Though it must be mentioned, the Luddites did write threatening letters to officials and factory owners.

This physical approach of protest however, did not work in their favour as the hostility was eventually met by military force. Luddites being shot by factory owners was also a frequent occurrence. The motives behind the Luddites were radical, if they were politically inclined instead, they might have been more successful. In addition to the development of protest towards the industrial revolution, this also represents the drastic and violent response of the government.

This reward poster, accounts the time a group of masked men armed with hammers, clubs and pistols entered a factory destroying five stocking frames. The poster offers 200 pounds to anyone who can supply information about the offending individuals. 200 pounds was a considerable payout in 1812. However, it cannot be ruled out that this reward might also have been aimed at members within the Luddites group, as a member on the inside would have been able to bring down the Luddite movement incredibly effectively. The last paragraph states:

‘WE the under-signed Workmen of the above-named George Ball, do hereby certify that we were employed in working the under-mentioned frames…when the mob came to break them…we had never been abated in our Work…by the said George Ball, our master ; of whom we never complained, or had any Reason so to do.’

This worker-written statement plays to the advantage of George Ball, portraying him as a pleasant master. Essentially being a well crafted piece of written propaganda in an attempt to turn the working class against Luddites.

In reference to propaganda, this handbill printed in 1812, shows the smart tactics carried out by officials to persuade the working class against beliefs of the Luddites. ‘Fellow Weavers!’ Immediately puts the author and workers on the same level. The writer is speaking to the exact demographic likely to follow beliefs of the Luddites. The structure of the handbill talks to a variety of workers. ‘Colliers!… Canal-Diggers!… Spinners and Weavers’. Describing only the positive changes for each worker, such as machinery requiring no food compared to horses used before. ‘They are even named from this, as the ten-horse power saves the food of ten horses, for the use of man.’ This isn’t true, technically speaking the machines consume coal. Requiring a huge amount of energy to supply in itself. This level of literary tactic was not yet used by activist groups. If such strategies were, the Luddites might have been more effective in their protest, gaining more of a following needed to overthrow the government and factory owners in their form of violent protest.

Tolpuddle Martyrs.

The story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs (1834) demonstrates the establishment’s sensitivity towards grouping of individuals. Swing riots of the 1830’s had seen agricultural workers turn to violent protest, adding to tensions between land owner and worker. In Dorset, England, 1834, six agricultural workers were sentenced to transportation to Australia for swearing a secret oath as members of a friendly society. The society (The Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers) was set up by leader George Loveless as a reaction to falling wages. Landowner James Frampton managed to take them to court, where they were convicted by a jury of twelve fellow landowners. The British public protested the sentence, collecting 800,000 signatures calling for their release and attending a march of 100,000.

But why was such a large number of the public influenced to act upon this case? Especially when considering, while the Martyrs are, rightly, remembered numbers of others, some of whom were hung are barely mentioned in the historical record. It is not the case of the Tolpuddle men that is exceptional but the way it has been kept in the public mind on this reading. (E.P. Thompson). It has been theorised that because George Loveless was a literate man, he could write down his experiences, while others could not. It is also possible that the society was linked through family to union organisations in metropolitan areas like London, and could have been part of a wider movement. Then possible, with the lower classes ability to write letters and plan strategically on a nationwide scale.

Without the working class reading and writing it would be difficult for them to form nationwide unions, movements and societies to bring about change and to plan, promote and control effectively over large areas. As the writing system trickled down the class system, it allowed those who it touched to possess the same abilities as the upper levels used. This did not assume someones place within the system itself, but for the first time allowed people to work their way up from the class they were born into, potentially putting them in a position to speak out against conditions they once experienced, with a less hostile reception. The attention the Tolpuddle case received sparked interest in working class issues, not just from the working class.

Oliver Twist Figure?

Charles Dickens released Oliver Twist, or, The Parish Boy’s Progress by monthly instalments in the magazine Bentley’s Miscellany, from February 1837 to April 1839. With Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens controversially offered a glimpse into the life of the poor. Beyond the theme of ones environment affecting their identity, Dickens shows how Oliver struggles to change his life for the better, stuck in the lower end of the class system. This represents the lives of many people during this time as they are unable to better their condition. The outlook of the poor from the rich man’s perspective is also explored with neglect and disgust.

‘Oliver Twist is a great success and we know it’s read throughout society, there are popular representations and theatrical adaptations that the poor watch, but it’s also read by Queen Victoria for example who says she finds it excessively interesting. And there’s an interesting exchange between her and Lord Melbourne (who’s the Prime Minister) and he doesn’t want to read Oliver Twist, he says, ‘It’s set amongst workhouses and pickpockets and coffin makers and people of that sort. I don’t wish to know about them in reality and I don’t wish to read about them in fiction.’ (John Bowen) Here, the interest of Queen Victoria, is an example of the higher class becoming interested in class issues. Although the reaction of the Prime Minister shows the ignorance towards any change.

Figure 5 is a public notice to persuade the public against joining any kind of illegal society or union, or risk being guilty of felony, and liable to be transported for seven years. The way in which this caution is formed shows clever use of the written word.

‘WE, the undersigned Justices think it our duty to give this PUBLIC NOTICE and CAUTION, that all persons may know the danger they incur by entering into such societies.’

This is an effort to come across helpful and caring of the individual, despite any individual joined to a union by secret oath already having a strict opinion of the ruling class. Though, the caution seems focused on preventing more workers joining such groups, rather then trying to change perspectives of functioning activists. The Tolpuddle martyrs represented a peaceful protest that could be far more successful then the Luddites, especially if it had a mass following. The government wanted to keep a criminal persona to these groups. Since the verdict of the Tolpuddle martyrs publicly received negative reactions. Public perception is a game both sides were playing. The government was aware they needed to keep the general public on their side, and activist groups knew mass numbers were needed to bring change.


The Chartist Movement (1838-1848) fought for the rights of the working class. Spawning from the Social and Political dissatisfaction among the working class.

‘It came about at a time of acute poverty and distress, and it was because of this that John Collins came out in the public cause and became a leader in the Chartist Movement. He said on more than one occasion he saw people dying of want. When Collins canvassed a whole street in Birmingham he found but one family that was living in relative comfort in January 1838. Most people were unemployed and in desperate straits.’ (Chartist.colins.com)

The Chartists were the first mass working class based movement in the world. The 1832 reform act saw voting extended to the middle class, excluding the working class. The Chartists (and arguably, parliament) knew if eligible to vote, they could install members into parliament that represented the working class, repealing laws such as the ‘Corn Laws’ that favour the rich at the expense of the poor. The working class community suffered when economy was good and suffered, more so, when economy was bad. This motivated a larger percentage of the general public to protest. The isolation from political and social order enraged the working class, fuelling resentment for the ruling and privileged. To enforce democratic reform the chartists were aware a nationwide group would be needed. Previous localised attempts were futile in the case of the Luddites.

‘The People’s Charter’, was drawn up by the London Working Class Men Association. It included six points that would make the political system more democratic. This marks an evolution in the literary means of protest. The Chartists were starting to fight politics by using their own systems against them. Examining the front page of ‘The People’s Charter’ it states:

‘Prepared by a committee of twelve persons, six members of parliament and six members of the London Working Class Men’s Association’. (figure 6)

This indicates how the harsh and unfair conditions of the working class, became understood by a select few members of parliament. This could be a result of court cases like ‘The Tolpuddle Martyrs’ that exemplified unfair treatment of peaceful societies, generating a conversation in the media, or novels such as Oliver Twist, shedding light upon the terrible conditions of the poor.

Despite the measures taken, and the six members of parliament involved with the London Working Class Men’s Association, Parliament still rejected and discredited ‘The Peoples Charter’ among many other petitions that followed. Whilst the Chartist Movement failed to reform the political systems in place during the 1800’s they did challenge the government on a scale never seen before, using literary practice to formally protest with petitions. This gave societies like the London Working Class Men’s Association a positive outlook through the eyes of the general public. Whereas before, A criminal nature was attached to these groups. The chartists educated the working man, helping form democracy as we know it. It stands as a great example of mass protest available by the working classes improving ability to organise, plan and protest effectively. Using literacy to protest officially, rather then using physical violence.

(Figure 7) The Poster for public meeting for the People’s Charter, represents a different approach from the Chartists. Here the way in which they communicated their message, replicates posters used by officials to combat their movements. It’s clear that a better use of literacy allowed them to create visually effective posters and potentially even mock their ruling rivals. Thick display typefaces that became popular in the era are used in this poster, much the same as in the ‘Caution’ Public Notice-Stacked sections of type make the more important words bigger, this is to communicate key words effectively and quickly. The red colour applied to ‘MEETING’ confirms this, as the meeting is the event. This is what they wanted people to notice first. ‘PEOPLE’ is the second prominent word, coming across as being ‘for the people’ was another important factor, especially if looking professional and formal alike officials posters.

Figure 8 follows the same principles but is developed in the amount of typefaces being used. A verity of display based typefaces by Robert Thorne and Henry Caslon are combined. This mash up of typography was a common occurrence on visuals at the time, as a way to decorate written information. The language being used is considered. Terms like ‘Universal Suffrage’ suggest that, an understanding of words and political systems allowed precision when referring to the situation the working class were in.

Conclusion of industrial Rev leading to Russia…

Through the Industrial Revolution we notice a theme when referring to literate protests. The more impactful protests, in the case of Chartism, had a nationwide following as a result of clever uses of literacy. This also allowed for secret unions like the Tolpuddle Martyrs. That would not even be known of today if not for George Loveless being a literate man. As literacy rates rose, so did the effective means of these groups spreading their message. As generalised literacy developed the way in which the protest worked did. The luddites represented a less-literate time, and the physical approach they used represented this. Contrastingly, by 1838, a better understanding of literacy allowed Chartism to use the writing system in a way that replicated officials. They’re understanding of the political system also improved with the ability to read opening access to information they couldn’t access before.

Chapter 3: The Russian Revolution (counter argument)

In an opposing example, we can view the Russian Revolution of 1917 as a development in class systems where not influenced by mass literacy. While this was arguably one of the biggest shakeups of a class system in the 20th century, it was certainly not brought about my mass literacy, Communists used posters and visuals that were less word based as during this time only sixty percent of the population was illiterate.

Insert Russian example or statist quote based on education rates.

Bolsheviks took charge of the printing presses and distributed posters steeped in symbolism, as well as newspapers and leaflets, to convey a message. The majority of Russians understood iconography and symbols from experiences with the church. They also often used peasant folklore as it was easily understood by the audience. In terms of visual communication it is interesting to see the lack of reading and writing amplify the imagery. In figure —- its clear to see how creativity was a strong weapon of Dmitrii Moor, a Bolshevik cartoonist and propagandist (1883-1946). He didn’t receive systematic art education, yet his use of colour and symbolism was detailed and was able to transcend the need for words. Moor used placement to bring further context to his work. The —-ed figure of an emaciated old peasant appealing for help in the poster Help! Exhibited near church entrances, was dramatically convincing people about the justice of taking church finances. Moor’s work was an instance of writing not being crucial to the understanding and spread of a message. Despite the low literacy rates this is noted as a hugely impactful moment in history, workers and peasants were able to overthrow Tsarism, creating a new society.

We see a theme in so many of the posters of the colour red. As Russia began to be known as ‘The Red State’ and men battled in the ‘Red Army’, this colour came to symbolise the blood of the working classes who fought (and often laid down their lives) for this monumental shift in class structure. This is the oldest universal symbol of socialism, and one which would be recognised by the illiterate peasants who could not have read the written word. The images above known as the ‘Loan of Freedom’, and ‘Revolutionary days’ are just two of the many posters circulated which predominantly featured the striking red associated with communism. These glorified the revolution and aimed to encourage men to join the army.

Similar propaganda posters were used heavily later, in the Stalinist movement. Joseph Stalin led the party from Lenin’s death in 1924 and instigated five year plans to introduce rapid industrialisation and agricultural collectivisation. These had overwhelming impact on the lower classes who had hoped to be empowered by communism. Although it is important to note that literacy rates vastly improved under Stalinism; during Stalin’s takeover, the rates still hovered around 60%. Therefore, support for the changes had to be rallied through visual imagery, and circulated on posters.

These posters served to endorse ‘the cult of personality’ around Stalin; perhaps to distance him from the rumours of Gulags and KGB which began to swirl. The illiterate did not have to be able to read the text (“Thanks to dear Stalin for our happy childhood” and “Stalin’s care brightens the future of our children!”) to appreciate the images of smiling children and bright flowers; with reoccurring tones of red. We also see Stalin as a father figure for the state; the children literally embodying the workers of the future, as Stalin watches from above. In the fig — one could argue there is a representation of Stalin raising the workers up.

Similarly the image of women is heavily politicised in these posters, even down to how a headscarf was positioned – tied under the chin to show the uneducated, pre-revolution female, and at the nape of the neck to show the enlightened female socialist. They could be shown as workers; empowered, and physically strong. But equally as mothers, traditional in values, diligently raising the next generation.

In fig — we see the archetypal soviet woman of ‘Mother Russia’. Strong, enlightened, wearing red and surrounded by her 10 children who each symbolise an ideal citizen. We see all armed force branches (including a model airplane), a young girl playing a mothering role, and the red scarfed boy representing the future of the Red political party. The woman also wears a small star medal – the medal awarded for being a ‘mother heroine’ – an award given for hang upwards of 10 living children that had 3 categories – the 3rd being for mothers of 30, although this could include adopted children. The award accompanied financial support and prizes, showing how valued this role.

Here it could be argued that the lack of literacy among the working class didn’t make their revolution suffer and therefore was not crucial to the uprise. Unlike the Industrial Revolution that saw mass education give power to the working class. However, the Russian revolution led to radical change in education. Not only this but it also transformed the way people thought about education. Developing mass literacy was seen as crucial to the success of the revolution, and so the working class democratically made decisions, organising society in their own interest. After the revolution education received more attention and became far more official. Free and universal education was mandatory to children from ages three to sixteen and the number of schools doubled. Education allowed for something else beyond reading and writing, information. An aspect that cannot be ignored, as the wider consumption of information allowed for more understanding of the current political situations, and how they could be adapted to benefit the working class.

A similar, important take away from these two revolutions is the way that education formed. The Working class took it upon themselves to bring mass education to the public, empowering them and effecting a class system that was already in place. In the past, the worker in the first agricultural towns might of not been able to read or write like his land owner, but his standard of living was very similar, maybe slightly less lavish. Therefore the worker had no reason to start a revolution and get all the workers the same education as the writers of the time. However, fast forward a few centuries and the class system was now effecting living conditions in both the United Kingdom and Russia examples. The upper class lifestyle progressed while the lifestyle of the lower classes became far worse. For the first time areas were heavily populated, pollution was a new byproduct of machinery, disease spread like wildfire among the unhealthy in dirty conditions. A vast gap emerged between the upper and lower classes of the world. This unsettled the system and anticipated a change in order


Widespread Reading and Writing has been crucial for a number of instances where lower classes wanted to better their living conditions through revolutions, though the extent of the success is debatable. A hierarchy still exists, however it is impossible to imagine one not existing, just because 84 percent of the worlds adult population are now literate. Although, the potential of a hierarchy being created simply because only a few people were once literate, is a possibility that can’t be dismissed. On the other hand, It might be that widespread literacy was inevitable and the examples explored document nothing but it’s adaptation and utilisation through each class. However, the way this was handled gives the impression that the upper class were threatened by the masses having the ability. Once the working class were literate they had been granted access to information and ideas they would struggle to receive before, through books, newspapers and political documentation. With literacy now generalised has information become the new standard for maintaining hierarchy, organising class systems based on how much they know? If true, the ever increasing digital world could endanger this. What would be the next method of categorising hierarchal positions? Whatever it may be, the unexpected but existent relationship between the class system and the writing system will continue for many years to come.

Generalised education Information however, became more accessible to the lower class through literacy. Politics became more transparent. This information could be pivotal to protest the state in which the country was being run, any corruption became visible to lower classes, the class most likely to receive the negative aspects industrialisation. Such as pollution of their conditions or disregard of their exposure to harmful manufacturing materials in factories.

This physical approach of protest however, did not work in their favour as the hostility was eventually met by military force.


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