Give a brief overview of what is covered in The Condition of the Working Class in England, including its theme and content.

In The Condition of the Working Class in England, Friedrich Engels argues that the Industrial Revolution has made the English working class worse off. Engels was an industrialist who ran his family's factory in the North-West of England. He was thus able to observe at first-hand the misery and degradation of industrial workers. In support of his arguments Engels cites numerous statistics, such as rates of mortality from disease.

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As a good Marxist, Engels believed that the Industrial Revolution was a necessary historical development that would eventually create the conditions for a socialist revolution. In due course, the capitalist system would generate internal contradictions that could not be overcome by the system itself. This would create a crisis that could only be solved by a socialist revolution and the subsequent sweeping away of the capitalist system. Then it would be possible to establish a genuinely Communist society, in which there would no longer be any social classes and therefore no more exploitation.

In the meantime, Engels wanted to lay bare the details of the Industrial Revolution as it had impacted on the English working class. Engels knew these people very well, as he operated a factory in the northwest of England on his family's behalf. He used his personal knowledge as a starting point for an in-depth investigation into the condition of the English working class.

Engels's researche produced reams of statistics that showed how damaging the impact of the Industrial Revolution had been on the English working class. For instance, he showed that the death rate in Liverpool and Manchester, both large industrial cities, was significantly greater than that of the country as a whole. In the city of Carlisle, Engels also observed that there had been a sharp increase in death rates after the introduction of mills, especially among small children.

Although Engels's book deals with the working class of industrial England, its findings are intended to have universal application. The implication is that the horrors wrought upon the English working class by industrialization could just as well happen anywhere.

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