Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/35

This page has been validated.

measures to prevent another similar occurrence. The Building Act of 1856 did not provide sufficient protection against these nuisances, and the consequences were quick to appear. Poor and inadequate as were the wages and housing conditions of the working people, the latter were nevertheless increasing in number, and it was obvious that they would not long remain satisfied with the indifference manifested by the government toward social questions. In the Emancipation Acts they could see advantages for their employers, masters or manufacturers, but it was difficult for them to see the merits of a legislature which provided for them only the poorhouse and otherwise mostly left them to shift for themselves. Thus the circumstances of the tradesmen remained wretched; and after the abolition of the guild system by the Trade Act of 1857 they were left without any real organization, even though the old guilds lived on as purely voluntary institutions.

Social and Economic Developments in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century

The most important event in the history of Denmark in the second half of the century was the war of 1864, which deprived her of the duchies of Sleswick, Holstein, and Lauenburg, and which was a more especial grievance in that it separated the Danish inhabitants of northern Sleswick from Denmark, and, in spite of a solemn promise of speedy restoration, kept them under the heavy yoke of German rule. This event was to become of prime importance, not only for Denmark, but for the whole of Europe, as the hotbed of subsequent European conflicts and as an essential factor in the growth of Prussia as a military state. For the economic life of Denmark it was of still greater importance—just as the separation of Norway from Denmark in 1814—in that it gave industry a strong impetus for attacking and solving the many problems which pressed upon it within the country's narrowed boundaries. As a result certain industries grew