Machine-breaking outbreaks in Lancashire and the Midlands flared up from 1778 to 1780.
Although machine-breaking had been a considerable, customary form of industrial relations in Britain for a century, it assumed a darker and more tragic place in the folklore of industrialization with the Luddites.
Nor did machine-breaking disappear with the Luddites.
If the longevity, geographical scope, and popular support for machine-breaking activities in Great Britain was impressive, the one-sided magnitude of government repression of such movements must astonish even those who recognize the interventionist reality of early liberal administration.
Rude's argument is that machine-breaking was only the most spectacular aspect of the popular restiveness of the early industrial period.
29) Machine-breaking and its repression highlights once again the disparity between laissez-faire ideas and government action in early Industrial Britain while emphasizing the need for a reconsideration of the role of the state in the link between industrial protest and technological change, particularly after the end of continental war in 1815.
The argument that machine-breaking, among a host of popular actions, evoked a disproportional state response frames any evaluation of the effects of machine-breaking in England.
The historiographical consensus essentially contends that machine-breaking had some limited, albeit temporary, successes in Great Britain.