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The Social and Industrial history of Scotland, from the Union to the present time
Nineteenth Century: 1. General Features


The nineteenth century was a period of marked social and industrial progress in Scotland. The promise of the second half of the previous century was realised on a scale undreamt' of at the dawn of its successor. In every sphere there is observable a stirring of new life as the innate energy of a sturdy race at last found adequate scope for its practical expression. Under the influence of the French Revolution the stagnation of Scottish political life was broken and the movement for political emancipation started on its progressive course, whose stages are marked by a series of political reforms which ultimately gave the franchise to the working class as well as the middle class, and finally secured at least the partial political emancipation of women. No less striking is the spirit of industrial and commercial enterprise which was the concomitant of the industrial revolution and which, though not without its drawbacks for the working class, not only vastly developed the national wealth, but greatly contributed to the material and social improvement of the people. In literature the first quarter of the new century gave birth to those masterpieces in fiction which portray with such dramatic power and such insight and sympathy the national life and history and created a world-wide interest in Scotland and its people. In education and science, in art and religion the new century had also a great mission to fulfil and record of its achievements in these spheres is atso one of great things. It witnessed, in fact, the rise of a new Scotland in which the old would have no little difficulty in recognising itself.


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