Eric J. Hobsbawm (1917-2012)
The Age of Capital, 1848-1875

New York, Scribner, 1975. xv, 354 pages
History of civilization Series

Eric J. Hobsbawm (1917-2012)

To Marlene, Andrew and Julia

In the 1860s a new word entered the economic and political vocabulary of the world: 'capitalism'. It therefore seems apposite to call the present volume The Age of Capital, a title which also reminds us that the major work of capitalism's most formidable critic, Karl Marx's Das Kapital (1867), was published in these years.


  • Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Introduction

Part One: Revolutionary Prelude

  1. The Springtime of Peoples'

Part Two: Developments

  1. The Great Boom
  2. The W odd Unified
  3. Conflicts and War
  4. Building Nations
  5. The Forces of Democracy
  6. Losers
  7. Winners
  8. Changing Society

Part Three: Results

10 The Land
11 Men Moving
12 City, Industry, the Working Class
13 The Bourgeois World
14 Science, Religion, Ideology
15 The Arts
16 Conclusion

  • Tables
  • Maps
  • Notes
  • Further Reading
  • Index

List of Illustrations


  • 'The British Beehive' by Cruickshank (photo: Radio Times Hulton Picture Library)
  • Foremen at the International Exhibition, 1862 (photo: Victoria and Albert Museum)
  • 'Mr Ashton's ingenious steam winch' (photo: Victoria and Albert Museum)
  • Poster for Johann Strauss' 'Demolition Polka' (Strauss Collection; photo: Robert Rogers)
  • Building the London underground railway, engraving (photo: Mary Evans Picture Library)
  • Gustave Don. Over London by Rail (photo: Mansell Collection)
  • Manchester from Blackfriars Bridge, 1859 (photo: George Grundy, Manchester Public Libraries)
  • Paris, Boulevard sebastopol (photo: Radio Times Hulton Picture Library)
  • Paris, Boulevard des Italiens, 1864 (photo: Radio Times Hulton Picture Library)
  • 'Carving the Joint', stereoscopic photograph, c. 1860 (photo: Victoria and Albert Museum)
  • Room in Lincoln Court, illustration in the Illustrated Times, 1861 (photo: Weidenfeld and Nicolson archives)
  • Paris salon, 1867 (photo: Roger-Viollet)
  • Mr Williams' Academy, c. 1865 (photo: Lewisham Local History Library)
  • Eyre Crowe, The Dinner Hour, Wigan (City Art Gallery, Manchester)
  • Fore Street, Lambeth York Wharf, c. 1860 (photo: Victoria and Albert Museum)
  • British officer in India, c. 1870 (photo: Radio Times Hulton Picture Library)
  • W. W. Hooper, 'The Last of the Herd', c. 1877 (photo: Royal Geographical Society)
  • Emigrants at Cork bound for America, 1 851, engraving (photo: Radio Times Hultcn Picture Library)
  • Settler's cabin in the Rio de la Mancis (photo: Radio Times Hulton Picture Library)
  • Indian coolie labour laying railway (photo: Weidenfeld and Nicolson archives)
  • Devil's Gate Bridge, Union Pacific Railroad (photo: Radio Times Hulton Picture Library)
  • Slave auction in Virginia, c. 1860, print (photo: Mansell Collection)
  • Henry Morton Stanley arrives in an African village, from his own sketch (photo: Radio Times Hulton Picture Library)
  • Grand Barricade du Chateau d'Eau, 1848 (Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; photo: Roger-Viollet)
  • Storming the Barricades, Paris 1871 (photo: Editions Robert Laffont)
  • Iron and Steel Works, Barrow (photo: Weidenfeld and Nicolson archives)
  • Emblem of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (photo: Weidenfeld and Nicolson archives)
  • Daily Telegraph's printing machine (photo: Mansell Collection)
  • The American Civil War, photography by William Brady (photo: Mansell Collection)
  • Attack on Black Kettle's Village, print from Harper's Weekly, 1868 (photo: The Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka)
  • 'The Homeless Poor', Punch cartoon, 1859 (photo: Weidenfeld and Nicolson archives)


  • The World in 1847
  • The World in c. 1880
  • 1847: Slavery and Serfdom in the Western World
  • 1880: Slavery and Serfdom in the Western World
  • A World on the Move
  • Western Culture in 1 847-1875 : Opera