(1848-1888) SOCIAL DEMOCRACY
WHILE the struggle with the Roman Catholic Church was still in progress domestic troubles of another kind had been thickening. Not for the first time, but with greater urgency than before, the working classes were claiming a more tolerable place in the new Empire which they had helped to create. Socialism had been proclaimed to them as a gospel of hope and cheer, and they were welcoming it with the enthusiasm of men to whose lot the powers ordained by God had long been singularly indifferent.
If the student of sociology knows nothing else with certainty, he knows that it is seldom possible to point to any one event or point of time and say of a great cultural movement, "In this way it had its origin; from that day dated its commencement." The current of modern German Socialistic thought had many tributaries, and the sources of these tributaries must be sought in different gathering grounds. What is known as the social question -- using the phrase in its narrow sense as connoting the problem of labour and its place in economic life -- was of later date in Germany than in England because the conditions which created it were there of later origin. When the economic revolution following upon the introduction of steam power and machinery and the consequent institution of the factory system of production had for practical purposes been completed in England, Germany was still leisurely jogging along in the old-fashioned eighteenth-century ways. The German working classes had to pass through the same transition as the English, but its severity was tempered to them by the experience of the older industrial country and by the humaner sentiment of the age. The change to a new industrial order, when it began, was also slower, and it never became so complete.
Two conditions essential to the success of the factory system of production are capital and concentration of population,
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Publication information: Book title: The German Empire, 1867-1914, and the Unity Movement. Volume: 1. Contributors: William Harbutt Dawson - Author. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1919. Page number: 458.