The Luddites were a 19th century social movement opposing the new textile factories in England. The Luddites often rebelled in the form of destruction by breaking into the factories and destroying the machines that were taking their jobs. These people would be considered near-fascists by todays standards because they wanted the world to return to the way it was before the invention of mechanized looms and other machinery.

Key Terms:

Rebellion: The loss of jobs to machinery brought anger. One uprising can trigger a multitude of ones. When frustration within a society is prevalent, destruction can occur.

‍Reactionary: The Luddites wanted absolutely no change in the work place. They were willing to use drastic measures in order to get their way.

A group of Luddites destroying a loom (A machine used to weave cloth)

The Luddites were named after Ned Ludd. Ludd was a common factory worker who was tired of the system he was put into. He worked in a weaving company and constantly was whipped if he did not perform his obligations correctly. In 1779, after a long day, Ned snapped and smashed a loom. He was the first worker to break industrial machinery. He started the movement known as Luddism.

Relation to Classical Liberalism:

Classical Liberalism is founded upon several fundamental ideas including the rule of law, individual rights and freedoms, private property, economic freedom, self-interest, equality, and competition.

The Luddites relation to Classical Liberalism is that they were in opposition of it. The Luddites opposed the entrepreneurial class that began to industrialize and mechanize their factories leaving many of them without jobs. Although the Luddites were successful in breaking machines on many accounts it was not enough to slow down the course of industrialization.