A Worker Looks At History

1. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION. — The scope of Industrial History. Benefits obtained from its study. Theory: What it is, its use and test. Various historical theories. Theistic; The Great Man Theory; The Climate, Food and Soil Theory; and the Economic Theory or Materialist Conception, outlined by Marx in the preface of his Critique of Political Economy.
2. AN INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH INDUSTRIAL HISTORY. — The relativity of all beginnings. The evidence of Geology. Early traces of Man. The Ice Age. The evidence of Ethnology and Archaeology concerning the slow advance. Their different methods of classification based upon the Labour process. The chief sources of information. Probable origins of the Celts. The coming of the Romans (55 B.C.). Its effects.
3. FROM MARK TO MANOR.—The evidence of the existence of the Mark. Parallel examples of communism in other lands. The various Invasions of Great Britain. The Anglo—Saxon Manor. Its method of land ownership and cultivation. The evolution of the chief, soldier and priest.
4. FEUDALISM. — How it arose. The division between the farmer and the fighter. Its reorganisation in England by the Normans. The Hierachy in Church and State. The land basis of society. The information furnished by the Doomsday book.
5. THE SLAVE, THE SERF, AND THE MODERN WAGE—WORKER.— A comparison of their lot. Chattel Slavery: Its origin and history.
6. TOWNS AND TRADE IN THE MIDDLE AGES.—How towns originated in markets, fairs and shrines. The decay of the self—sufficing community. The growth of Luxury. Early traders. The increasing use of money and its consequences.
7. THE GUILDS.—Their origin. Differing types. Merchant Guilds. Exclusive control of Craft Guild over production. The Guild—worker's status. The strife between town and country.
8. THE FALL OF FEUDALISM.—Commutation of labour rents. Effects of internal and external wars. The Crusades. Castles and Gunpowder. The Black Death. The Peasants Revolt. The subsequent Temporary Golden Age of Labour.
9. THE RISE OF THE MERCHANT CLASS. Early merchants. The 16th century growth of foreign trade. The English wool. Rivalry between national merchants under the Tudors. The merchants and the guilds. Mercantile economy and the precious metals. The methods of accumulation of wealth.
10. THE CREATION OF THE PROLETARIAT. Enclosures for sheep farming. The divorce from the means of production. Vagrancy and the Poor Law. The rise of the manufactory.
11. THE RENAISSANCE FROM MEDIEVAL NIGHT. Examples of mediaeval superstition. The new inductive method of Bacon and others. Printing and the revival of learning. The economic causes behind the awakening.
12. THE BEGINNINGS OF MODERN CAPITALISM. — Its general nature and other systems of production. Its various stages up to the Industrial Revolution. The fight for markets. Division of labour inside workshop. Its philosophy as expressed by Adam Smith.
13. THE POLITICAL STRUGGLE OF THE CAPITALIST CLASS. The right of taxation. The Revolution culminating in 1688. Uses of political power. Further progress until 1832.
14. THE BEGINNINGS OF TRADE UNIONS. Comparison with other labour associations made. Their battle for a legal existence. Their structure and policy outlined from 1700 to the time of Robert Owen.
15. THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. From the tool to the machine. The gradual destruction of handicraft. The three stages of Power. Manufacture becomes Machinofacture. Inventions an sources of Power discoveries. Developments in textile, mining and transport industries. How England outdistanced her competitors.
16. THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AND THE WORKERS. Early horrors. The Factory legislation. The new industrial centres. The Chartist movement. The Repeal of the Corn Laws. The succeeding "grand era of capitalist expansion".
17. TRADE UNIONISM FROM 1830 TO 1900. Attempts at Federation. Its revolutionary hopes. The building of stable organisations after 1850. Structure and bargaining policy of the Model Unions. The New Unionism of 1880. Propaganda bodies and their influence.
18. THE TRADE UNIONS FROM 1900 TO 1916. Formation of a political Party and its activity. The Labour Unrest and its causes. The present position; and modern methods of organisation, structure and policy.
19. IN CONCLUSION: A SUMMARY. The logic of the machine. The effects of women's increasing entrance into industry. Modern Movements. The need for working class education in Scientific Socialism. A forecast of the future.

Syllabus: The following Syllabus of the classes in English Industrial History, conducted by the author in the Aberdare District (S. Wales Miners' Federation), may — besides serving as a Summary of the Contents of this book — be useful to other classes printing similar synopses of courses of study.

Text Books: Industrial History of England ( Gibbins), and History of Modern British Working Class Movement (Craik).

Written: 1917, Outlines of Industrial History specially written for C.L.C.-Plebs Classes by Mark Starr (S.W.M.F.[South Wales Miners' Federation])
Source: Starr, Mark. A Worker Looks At History, 2nd Edition. Plebs League, 176 Springvale Road, Sheffield. 1918. Two Shillings & Sixpence.
Transcription/Markup: Christian Hogsbjerg
Public Domain: Soviet History Archive 2007. This work is completely free.