Luddites


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Luddites,

name given to bands of workingmen in the industrial centers of England who rioted between 1811 and 1816. The uprisings began in Nottinghamshire, where groups of textile workers, in the name of a mythical figure called Ned Ludd, or King Ludd, destroyed knitting machines, to which they attributed the prevailing unemployment and low wages. In 1812 workers in Lancashire, Cheshire, and the West Riding of Yorkshire began to wreck cotton power looms and wool shearing machines. There was no political aim involved and no cohesion in the movement. Outbreaks of Luddism were very harshly suppressed by the government.

Luddites

 

the name established in history for the participants in the first spontaneous workers’ outbreaks (late 18th and early 19th centuries) against the introduction of machines and capitalist exploitation in Great Britain.

The word “Luddite” apparently comes from the name of the legendary apprentice Ned Ludd, who was supposed to have destroyed his knitting machine. The Luddite movement stemmed from the artisans and manufactory workers who were ruined in the course of the industrial revolution. It was a specific mode of struggle of the still-forming industrial proletariat against intolerable labor conditions, wretched wages, and unemployment, which were connected in the consciousness of the Luddites with the introduction of machines. Luddite actions began in Nottingham and Sheffield (in the late 1760’s). Between the 1770’s and early 1790’s, riots against machines spread to Lancashire, Wiltshire, and a number of other counties. There was a powerful upsurge in the movement from late 1811 to early 1813. Mass destruction of machines (and sometimes even of whole factories) took place in Arnold, Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, and other cities. In 1812 capital punishment was instituted a second time (the first had been in 1769) for the destruction of machines. The last major outbreaks of the Luddite movement date to 1816-20.

REFERENCES

Engels, F. “Polozhenie rabochego klassa v Anglii.” K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 2.
Vasiutinskii, V. Razrushiteli mashin v Anglii (Ocherki istorii ludditskogo dvizheniia). Moscow-Leningrad, 1929.
Cherniak, E. B. Massovoe dvizhenie v Anglii I lrlandii v kon. XVII-nach. XIX vv. Moscow, 1962.
Thompson, E. P. The Making of the English Working Class. London, 1963.

Luddites

arch-conservative workmen; smashed labor-saving machinery (1779). [Br. Hist.: Espy, 107]

Luddites

British workers riot to destroy labor-saving machines (1811–1816). [Br. Hist.: NCE, 1626]
See: Riot
References in periodicals archive ?
They have a great variety of stances and tactics, but the technophobes and techno-resisters out there are increasingly coming together under the banner that dates to those attackers of technology of two centuries ago, the Luddites. In the past decade or so they have dared to speak up, to criticize this face of high technology or that, to organize and march and sue and write and propound, and to challenge the consequences as well as the assumptions of this second Industrial Revolution, just as the Luddites challenged the first.
Since that time, in every history book in British schools, the term "Luddite" is used to mean a person who is against any form of progress.
She added: "Particularly when you consider that three-quarters of those that fit the Luddite mould are micro-sized companies.
They draw their name and their animating spirit from the original Luddites, the infamous "machine breakers" in early 19th century England who protested the nascent Industrial Revolution by stealing into factories and smashing equipment.
The popular image of the Luddites as angry, machine-smashing men, fearful of progress is, according to Hutchison, a simplistic view of these textile workers.
I may need some time off before I start to write columns about how the Luddites were much misunderstood and have got a very bad press over the years -- Broadcaster and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop.
Most of the arguments against cloning amount to little more than a reformulation of the old familiar refrain of Luddites everywhere: "If God had meant for man to fly, he would have given us wings.
Cyril Pearce, Chairman of the Huddersfield Local History Society, said: "The original intention of the Luddite Memorial lectures was not simply to revisit the local Luddite story but to take a thoughtful look at the origins and growth of the radical thinking and radical politics in 19th Century Britain to which Huddersfield's Luddites made such a dramatic contribution.
The Luddites, who where masked and worked at night, enjoyed the support of many locals wherever they came, but being caught could have very grave consequences indeed.
If these books haven't persuaded you to ignore the Luddites and Malthusians, try a work of inadvertent fiction by an ornithologist named William Vogt: Road to Survival.
Prayers were also said for the forgiveness of the militant stance against the Luddites taken by the local vicar at the time of the crisis.
The Luddites were groups of workers displaced by machinery during the early stages of the British Industrial Revolution who resorted to machine breaking and other acts of violence in an attempt to stop the technological advances that threatened their livelihood.