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Unveiling The Luddites: IELTS Reading Passage with Questions & Answers

Updated on 06 February, 2024

Kanika Pruthi

Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

The Luddites: A Movement of Rebellion Against Industrialization

In the early 19th century, as the Industrial Revolution took hold of Britain, a group of English workers forged a movement that would etch their names in the annals of history. These workers, who came to be known as the Luddites, rose in protest against the mechanization that threatened their livelihoods. The Luddites were not opposed to technology per se, but to how it was being used to undermine their conditions and dismantle their artisanal heritage.

The Luddite movement began around 1811 in the textile industry of Nottingham and quickly spread to other parts of the country. The mechanized looms and knitting frames introduced in textile mills could produce more goods at a faster rate than traditional hand-operated equipment. This technological advancement, while a boon to mill owners, was a bane for the workers, as it led to job losses and reduced wages for those who remained employed.

The name 'Luddite' is said to have been inspired by Ned Ludd, a mythical figure who was fabled to have destroyed weaving machinery. As the movement grew, the term Luddite came to signify any opposition to industrialization, automation, technology, or modernization.

The rebellion took a violent turn when groups of Luddites began breaking into factories at night to smash the machines that had 'stolen' their jobs. They believed that by destroying the machinery, they could arrest the pace of industrialization and return to the pre-industrial way of life that valued their skills.

The British government responded with harsh measures, making machine-breaking a capital offense. The military was deployed to protect factories, and many Luddites were arrested, with some being executed or transported to Australia.

Despite the movement's failure to achieve its objectives, the Luddites left an indelible mark on the socio-economic landscape of the time. They highlighted the human cost of unbridled technological progress and sparked a debate that continues to this day as we grapple with the implications of automation and artificial intelligence on employment.

Questions (Q1-Q10):

Q1. The Luddite movement originated in which industry?

A. Coal mining

B. Textile

C. Iron forging

D. Agriculture

Q2. What did the Luddites believe would be the result of destroying machinery?

Fill in the blank: The Luddites believed that by destroying the machinery, they could ________.

Q3. True or False: The Luddites were opposed to all forms of technology.



Q4. Where did the Luddite movement begin?

A. Manchester

B. Nottingham

C. Birmingham

D. London

Q5. Who was Ned Ludd?

Fill in the blank: Ned Ludd was a ________ figure who was said to have destroyed weaving machinery.

Q6. What was the government's response to the Luddites?

A. They ignored the protests.

B. They repealed the laws that allowed mechanization.

C. They passed laws making machine-breaking a capital offense.

D. They provided compensation to the workers.

Q7. True or False: The Luddites' actions led to the cessation of the Industrial Revolution.



Q8. Fill in the blank: The Luddite movement is associated with the early ________ century.

Q9. What was the mythical figure Ned Ludd fabled to have done?

A. Invented the steam engine

B. Destroyed weaving machinery

C. Founded the first textile mill

D. Written laws on labor rights

Q10. True or False: Many Luddites were arrested and faced severe punishments, including execution or transportation.



Answers (A1-A10):

A1. B. Textile

A2. Arrest the pace of industrialization and return to the pre-industrial way of life.

A3. False

A4. B. Nottingham

A5. Mythical

A6. C. They passed laws making machine-breaking a capital offense.

A7. False

A8. Nineteenth

A9. B. Destroyed weaving machinery

A10. True

This passage provides a historical overview of the Luddite movement, offering insight into its origins, motivations, and consequences, tailored to engage IELTS learners. The questions are designed to test a range of reading comprehension skills, including detail identification, vocabulary understanding, and the ability to deduce and infer from the text. The IELTS test-takers can use this passage to sharpen their analytical skills and prepare for the type of reading material they may encounter on the exam.

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Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

Kanika has 5+ years of experience as a writer and content developer. She has written for a wide range of industry verticals, including hospitality, restaurants, non-profits, finance, IT, HR, technology, payroll, and education. She has worked as a creator for a few leading companies and has also helped brands grow through her creative writing.

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