January 28, 2014

Technological Unemployment, circa 1775

Battle of Bunker Hill
Who were the British soldiers who sailed the Atlantic to put down the colonists fighting for their independence during America's Revolutionary War? This is how the historian Joseph Ellis describes them in his book, Revolutionary Summer:
Contrary to a negative stereotype that developed in the next century, during the emergence of the British empire at the height of its power, the British army was not a collection of outcasts, criminals and psychopaths, swept into service from the jails and bars of London, or dragooned from English towns and villages. They were, instead, working class Britains, former day laborers, farmers, carpenters and shoemakers who had the misfortune to become victims of the Industrial Revolution, their jobs displaced by machines, thereby making the army the employer of last resort.

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