CHAPTER VII. THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
So, too, the problems of poverty, local government, and sanitation have been created or intensified by the Industrial Revolution. It made capitalists of the few and wage-earners of the many; and the tendency of wages towards a minimum and of hours of labour towards a maximum has only been counteracted by painful organization among the workers, and later on by legislation extorted by their votes. Neither the Evangelical nor the Oxford movement proved any prophylactic against the immorality of commercial and industrial creeds. While those two religious movements were at their height, new centres of industrial population were allowed to grow up without the least regard for health or decency. Under the influence of laissez-faire philosophy, each wretched slum-dweller was supposed to be capable, after his ten or twelve hours in the factory, of looking after his own and his children's education, his main-drainage, his risks from infection, and the purity of his food and his water-supply. The old system of local government was utterly inadequate and ill adapted to the new conditions; and the social and physical environment of the working classes was a disgrace to civilization pending the reconstruction of society, still incomplete, which the Industrial Revolution imposed upon the country in the nineteenth century.