If the salary of an industrial worker was so low that they barely survived and couldn't even dream of ascending to upper classes¹, what kept them from revolting all the time? One could argue that there was always a great number of unemployed workers just waiting to substitute employed ones when these went on strike, but how did those unemployed workers survive if they had no income?

¹Mentioned in Hobsbawm's "The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848" and further explained in "The Age of Capital: 1848-1875"

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    People in general are not inclined towards violence. Feb 13, 2017 at 14:34
  • Do you have any backing sources to claim this?
    – James Cook
    Feb 13, 2017 at 14:42
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    Even the most violent places on earth these days have a murder rate below 200 murders / 100,000 population. For Example the city with the highest murder rate these days is Caracas with 119 murders per 100,000. That means that there are 999,881 who were not murdered. Here is a more historical source. People are just not that violent. Most people are not killers. It's a lot of work organize peasants into a viable military organization. Feb 13, 2017 at 14:51
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    Violence does not necessarily correlate with murder. Also, you must remember that 19th century Europe was known to have lots of revolutions, so it was almost certain that a big part of the industrial worker's class had living memory of a revolution, and most certainly could think of doing another. Why they didn't is what I'm asking for.
    – James Cook
    Feb 13, 2017 at 15:00
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    @Júlio Zampietro I come from a farm myself. I can assure you it is hard, endless and dirty work in all weathers. Only growers do not work in winter, and in the old days if the crops failed they just starved. Farmers work all hours every day, and more at harvest time. Before machines it was back-breaking and dangerous. Remember only the oldest son got the farm. The rest were thrown out or had to work as serfs.
    – RedSonja
    Feb 15, 2017 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


There seems to be an opinion in historical and military circles that people who are barely getting by don't revolt. They are too busy putting food on the table. You get a revolution when people have a hope that things are getting better, and when that hope is frustrated. Not absolute poverty but relative and subjective poverty.

There is another line of thought which relates revolution to the bread prices, so that's not the only explanation for revolutions ...

I don't have time to look for many sources, just this for the first case and this for the second.

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