By the time of the revolutions in America and France, and of the rapid development in the British economy, changes of outlook had been brought about that prepared influential sectors of society for some measures of practical egalitarianism. However, that application was not to come for another hundred years. The purpose of this chapter is to consider the forces that supervened to delay action on egalitarian principles when it seemed that these had gained sufficient acceptance. The discussion is mainly with respect to Britain, and the two sections discuss the obstacles to redistribution, and early socialism––which was not primarily egalitarian in that it advocated political equality (in relation to production, class, and competition) over economic equality.
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