SOCIAL CATHOLICISM, like most important social movements of the present time, is nothing more or less than an attempt to find a solution of the problems created by the two greatest historical events of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, namely, the Industrial Revolution and the Political Revolution. The essential feature of the Industrial Revolution was the modernization of industry by the invention and introduction of power-driven machinery owned by capitalists, in place of hand tools owned by workingmen. Its effect was to multiply enormously the power of man to produce all the things which go to make up material wealth — from hosiery to houses, from pocket-knives to pianolas — and at the same time to place the working classes temporarily at the mercy of the factory and mine owners. Consequently while industrial capitalists were accumulating great fortunes, the condition of the working classes seemed to be going from bad to worse. Starvation wages were paid; employment was uncertain; women and children were toiling twelve and fourteen hours a day in the new factories, under unhealthful and often immoral conditions; family life among the workers of mill and mine seemed to be doomed to destruction; drunkenness and disease were undermining the stamina of the race. Under such circumstances, it was inevitable that the working classes should be discontented, even rebellious, and should show their unrest by participating in riots, strikes, labor agitations, socialistic propaganda. In short, the Industrial Revolution gave birth to the labor problem of the present age.
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