SOCIAL IMPACTS OF INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The industrial revolution refers to the development of new production methods and technology that spread round the globe and changed the old ways of life and production. The group of people who were privileged enough to own factories and were in charge of the production of goods and services suddenly became rich. This rapid change brought about a vast growth in the economy and the emergence of various technologies. Life in general was made much easier. People no longer had to go through stress to get work done. For example, coal was put in place to support the day to day running of machines in factories.Although the industrial revolution brought about good things, it also had its downsides. In this essay I will be focusing on the social impacts of industrial revolution in groups: population/urbanization and working conditions.Population/ UrbanizationUrbanization is the movement of people from the country to the city. The industrial revolution brought about rapid urbanization. Population increased both in England, Europe and America. The need for workers resulted in people migrating from rural areas to the cities.Practically overnight, towns and cities which had been under-populated grew dramatically. Manchester grew from from 17,000 people in the 1750s to 70,000 in 1801.Population growth and the rapid growth of industries changed the distribution of people and labour.
As time went on, the standard of living increased and this enabled society as a whole to benefit from industrial revolution. The industrial revolution created a new class of people (the bourgeoisie) and the working class. The middle class benefited most from the industrial revolution. They lived in clean neighbourhoods and were comfortable enough with their household income. Women in this class stayed home to raise their children and most did not work. The bourgeoisies come from a variety of background. The bourgeoisies comprises of merchants, investors who put their money into the market as entrepreneurs and “rags-to-riches” or “grass to grace” individuals who were admired for “levelling up” due to their hard work. The industrial revolution brought about great wealth for entrepreneurs.The working class lived in totally different conditions. They lived in crowded, dirty and unhealthy environments which were often smoky from the toxic gas produced by factories. They lived in tenements (crowded rooms separated into residences) which increased their exposure to diseases because of their poor environmental condition.
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During the industrial revolution workers had little or no bargaining power because labour unions were illegal at that. Sometimes, frustrated workers tried to organize secret unions but were still powerless to affect change. Between 1811 and 1813, textile workers rioted. A group of workers known as Luddites fought against these labour saving machines that were replacing jobs. They smashed machines as a form of protest and this led to many of them being sacked, beaten or killed. In modern times, you may hear the word Luddite as someone who is ‘anti technology’.
People could not necessarily work in their homes again but they gathered in this new location (the factory). The concept of technology that was used in the age of the machines was found very difficult by the workers to adapt to. That is, the way of life.Often times factory workers lived and worked in very unpleasant conditions. Comparing what the machine age and the “before the machine age, workers used to go to the farms and work at their own pace. People worked hard in their villages, probably according to season: harvest season, planting season. Though there wasn’t as much to do, they controlled the pace of their work. That means, they had some freedom while working hard but it was controlled by them. I’m a factory setting, the schedule was much more rigid and the employee does not have any much control. They had very little time for brake including little time for meals. That means, hunger would certainly have been issues. Often times, some of them worked about six to seven days weekly. This gives them slim chances and not enough time for them to revived grin their stress or fatigue.Workers lacked safe guards on heavy machinery and unlucky workers may be hurt by some of these machines. Unfortunate incidents like workers getting cut, or getting pulled into a gear or the fact that they were inhaling a large amount of lint and dust in the textile factories. More women worked in the textile industries than other industries. But the downside is that women could earn half of what men earned. That is because women were willing to work. Women were considered as being easier to manage and less likely to resist instructions by their superior. It was believed that in the factory setting, women would adapt better than men. This brought about double and more stressful work for women. Because after working for as much as twelve hours in a day, they got home tired to care for their children and whole family in the slummy horrific environment they lived.Working conditions in the mining sector were more dangerous and stressful than that if the factories. Miners may earn higher than factory workers in terms of wage but their working conditions couldn’t measure up ( working conditions were terrible and dangerous). Coal dust filled the workers lungs due to excessive inhalation of this toxic substance. This really affected the mining workers and caused death for some of the mining workers. They were exposed to serious dangers like explosions and floods. They also worked long hours. Often 12-16 hkurs daily and they often worked in darkness underground.Child labour was a common practice at that timeA very large population of the children started working at the age of seven – eight years. These children started fending for their families at their young age because the families needed the money. They were useful in the factories in areas like carrying out maintainable work (because their little hands could get into deferent parts of machines). These children were also paid very little for whatever work they did in factories. Like the adults, children also worked in bad environments inhaling dust and lint which was very bad for their health. Some children also found theirselves working in the lines for long hours in dark environments. This really affected the children because they were not getting proper food, rest and most importantly , care. Education was something that never went through the kind of some of these children. After the beginnings of the industrial t revolutions, actions were taken by the government to improve the conditions of gen children working j the factory. These laws were passed in the 1800s. Graciously, the work hours for children reduced to twelve hours daily. Children under the age of eight were not allowed to work in the cotton mills. More laws later came up I the 1830s and 1840s. This laws reduced hours for children and also had a shade on women at this point in time. Working at Ken was also reduced for women. Deferent inspectors were sent intk factories to make sure employers are following the rules set and made way for the children to be formally educated.in the end, the society did benefit from the industrial revolution.