The Divine Right of a social order and change

Historical Analysis is needed - first feudalism:

  • The Divine right of Kings is preached to the masses.
  • The Pope gave monarchs his blessing, and sometimes fell out with them.
  • Monarchs love to have the blessing of the religious authority, because it adds to their legitimacy
  • From Kings to lords, throughout Europe this religion reinforced the feudal system and sanctioned its wars
Essential background changes:

  • The Renaissance in 15th and 16th century put a new focus on human life rather than divinity
  • The decline of the Holy Roman Empire, rise of German principalities and therefore the ability of Martin Luther's protest to survive
  • The extension of Protestantism to Calvinists in Switzerland
  • Note that the English Henry VIII's break from Rome maintained Catholic style practices at first, but Roman Catholicism and its states became a foreign enemy and Protestant influence in England grew
  • The Enlightenment of 18th century of independent liberal ideas and scientific discovery
  • The rise of the nation state
Class change and sources: Britain was first:

  • Technology (practical inventions)
  • Money
  • Labour supply
There were traders in the feudal system, and they were called mercantilists. Traders became richer as well as the landed, and more semi-independent people became involved in an increasing non-agricultural economy.
Specifically England/ Britain:

  • Slavery creating incoming finance
  • Agricultural inventions and efficiency generating finance
  • A largely trusted financial system to distribute speculative investment
  • Workers released from the land going to urban centres
  • Range of technical improvements for basic manufacture
These resulted in a new industrial class who took risk, added value made money and passed it on to their sons. In this country they were politically under-represented. Urban areas grew and were overpowering a feudal system based on the countryside.
Many of the new industrialists and traders, owning their own sources of wealth, attached themselves to Protestantism in one form of another, inside and outside the Church of England, and there were expulsions too.
The new indvidualist capitalist Protestants emphasised:

  • Personal faith and individual salvation
  • A work ethic
Some rich capitalists joined the Church of England to become repectable or get a country seat like a new gentry (and gained political power by joining the moribund feudal system). Others agitated.
The new rich agitated for religious freedom for independent Protestant churches, for Catholics and Jews because they knew that this would break the back of the old feudal Church of England and its monopoly political system.
Our parliamentary tradition coped: the 1832 Reform Act took place, the vote was extended uniformly to those with property. And with political reform they received power, in local government and nationally. The feudal system was in effect overtaken, whilst some of its symbolism lived on. Other European countries had bourgeois violence and disturbance, confusion and conflict.
Capitalists were thus in primary control making key social and economic decisions.
A rural workforce that lived in isolated communities was replaced by:

  • A mass of labour in concentrated space
  • Working in large factories and in primary industries
  • Doing long hours in awful conditions often for low pay
  • Working by the clock under discipline
  • Living in slums and in poor health
When the economic cycle turned nasty capitalists did not want hordes of the mass low paid and unemployed threatening their system. They knew that with organisation, especially through trade unions, workers united could be a political threat. Workers could, in the end, take capitalists' property from them and become the new owners of capital. Marx advocated exactly this action. It never happened in the developed West.