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Hard Times Historical Context

This Study Guide consists of approximately 31 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Hard Times.
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Historical Context

Industrial Conditions

During the early nineteenth century, the use of the power loom, which had been patented in 1785, rapidly became more widespread. This had a deleterious effect on the hand loom weavers, who could not compete with the power loom and could no longer find sufficient work. By the time Dickens wrote Hard Times, power looms were the norm and hand weaving was almost extinct. Because of this development, weavers were gradually driven from their home-based weaving to the factories in the towns, which grew rapidly in population. The new factory workers put in ten-hour days. Conditions were often dangerous, and industrial accidents were common. This subject gave rise to a heated article written by Henry Morley and published in Dickens's own magazine, Household Words, in April 1854. Morley claimed that over the previous three years, there had been a hundred deaths and nearly twelve thousand accidents in factories...

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This section contains 841 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Hard Times Study Guide
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Hard Times from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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