Revolte en repressie. De omwentelingsjaren 1830-31 te Antwerpen.

Revolt And Repression, The Revolutionary Years 1830-31 In Antwerp: In studying the agitation of the lower classes of the population during the former'half of the 19th century, we see, either, that the "classconsciousness" of the "proletariat" is overemphasized, or that each action is degraded to a proof of assent to the bourgeois ideals. Testing these two opinions to the events of 1830-31 in Antwerp, it appears that the aspirations of the poorer classes of the population, mainly based upon a faint sense of justice, were a ready instrument in the hands of that part of the middle classes that, under William I, felt curtailed of their economic and political needs. Many people longed for a change, not so much through hunger, as through the disenchantment after the crisis of 1829. The latter had, indeed, followed an economic expansion that had caused increasing employment. Labourers now joined the traditional paupers, which created a favourable background for all kinds of manipulations against Orangism. The disenchant- ment was great when the post-revolutionary period was marked by hunger, unemployment and finally a humilating compulsory employment, in the Northern Netherlands the resulting desillusionment and aggressiveness, were looked upon as potential contra-revolutionary levers, whereas Brussels, tried to canalize the latent violence against Orangism. This was made possible by the leakage of the Van «der Smissen-conspiracy, when Brussels agitators had the stirred feelings calmed down by plunderings at Orangists'-homes. This enabled the police to take measures which would intimidate any further mass revolt or which would at least direct rebellion in favour of the Belgian law and order. Threatened, spied upon, and deprived of their most. combative elements the lower classes of the population were cut short of any possibility of a more autonomous and conscious action. Because of the introduction of a poor-rate and the assignment of the most distressed to a benevolent institution any form of aggressiveness was finally converted into a feeling of "gratitude" and especially of "dependence".