*The class system*
_A new society_ Under the Old Regime , the three estates were distinguished by their birth and privileges . In contrast , industrial society was divided into three social classes : the upper class , which consisted of the aristocracy and the high bourgeoisie ; the middi class ; and the lower class . Each social class was mainly defined by its wealth . One could move from one class to another , but many people ' s economic circumstances made this impossible . Industrial society was based on the principle of judicial equality . Men were judged by the same laws and courts , and there were few legal barriers preventing them from holding public office . However , in practice there was great inequality . Women were subordinate to men ( either to their fathers or husbands ) . Economic inequality separated those who had property and financial resources from those who did not . _The decline of the aristocracy_ In the 19th century , the aristocracy lost dominance when its rights over the peasants were abolished , and it began to pay taxes . Moreover , the wealth of most aristocrats was still based on land ownership so they did not benefit from business expansion . However , until the 20th century , many aristocrats still held leading positions in government , justice and the military . They maintained a luxurious lifestyle that the bourgeoisie imitated .
_The emergence of the bourgeoisie_ The bourgeoisie became the most pov eoisie became the most powerful clase in industrial society . Industrialists and banker formed the high bourgeoisie ' . Businessmen , hi officials and lawyers belonged to the bourgeoisia The bourgeoisie lived in new neighbourhoods on the outskirts of cities , with comfortable homes surrounded by gardens and parks . Leisure activities such as the theatre , the opera and horse racing became popular . Members of the bourgeoisie often attributed their wealth to their bourgeois values ' , such as hard work , making savings and enjoying the security of family life . In many countries , the bourgeoisie made religion a strong feature of public life .
*The middle class* A large middle class ( or petite bourgeoisie ) emerged in 19th century industrial cities . This was a very diverse class of all the people in the middle layer of society : thus , it included tradesmen . Shopkeepers , artisans , teachers , and mid - level government officials and army officers . Many middle class people owned property although they were less wealthy than the bourgeoisie . They were often fairly well educated thanks to the expansion of schools and training colleges in the 19th century . The middle class shared bourgeois values ' with the bourgeoisie , like the idea that work and savings were the key to acquiring wealth . They did their best to have their children educated . In politics , the middle class supported reforms that would allow them to participate fully in political life . Not everyone had much free time , but there were cafes , casinos and social clubs . Both women and men were great readers , and the writing of popular authors like Charles Dickens was widely serialised in journals each month . *The lower class* Much of the population did not benefit from the wealth created by the Industrial Revolution : • Peasants still formed the majority of the population in the 19th century , but their conditions varied greatly from region to region . In some parts of northern and western Europe , they owned plots of land . In the south , there were more day labourers , who worked on estates using basic tools and earned low wages . In central and eastern Europe , peasants were still serfs until the mid - 19th century , • The proletariat was the name given to workers who only possessed their labour , which they exchanged for a salary . Workers performed tasks which required little skill . They received very low salaries , which they barely survived on . Children left school at a young age to start working and support the family , with little education , they could not change their position in society . These children often worked 12 or more hours a day .
• House servants were also members of the lower class . They earned very low salaries and lived in the attics of the houses that they worked in . Servants worked more than 12 hours a day , and only had one afternoon off a week