The Industrial Revolution was the change from an agricultural to an industrial society and from home manufacturing to factory production. It took place in England from about 1750 to about 1850. The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes.
Before the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing was often done in people’s homes using hand tools or basic machines. Industrialization marked a shift into powering special-purpose machinery, factories and mass production. This changed businesses and industries by different inventions aiding in speeding up the production of manufactured items.
The Industrial Revolution changed the way people worked by making them work scheduled hours. It also changed from working for yourself or community, to working for a boss and becoming a piece of the factory machinery. There were many good thing, as well as, bad things that the Industrial Revolution brought. The good things that the Industrial Revolution brought was steam engines, more houses, money and clothing, as well as, more technology. The bad things that the Industrial Revolution brought was child labor and working conditions. The working conditions for starters dealt with the working class who made up 80% of society. They had little or no bargaining power with their new employers. Since population was increasing in Great Britain at the same time that landowners were enclosing common village lands, people from the countryside flocked to the towns and the new factories to get work.
This resulted in a very high unemployment rate for workers in the first phases of the Industrial Revolution. For the first generation of workers from the 1790’s to the 1840’s, working conditions were very tough and sometimes tragic. Most laborers worked 10 to 14 hours a day, six days a week, with no paid vacation or holidays. Another problem was that each industry had safety hazards. Under such dangerous conditions, accidents on the job occurred regularly and workers got hurt. The workers were not given medical help and their wages were stopped. It didn’t matter the extent of the injury, no compensation was afforded.
Child labor was the cheapest labor of all. Some of the machines were so easy to operate that a small child could perform the simple, repetitive tasks. Some maintenance tasks, such as squeezing into tight spaces, could be performed more easily by children than adults. These children were paid 1/10 of what men were paid. Also, by having children doing factory work, it had negative effect on their health. Due to this, labor unions were created in order to help the workers with work-related difficulties such as low pay, unsafe or unsanitary working conditions, long hours, and other situations. Workers often had problems with their bosses as a result of membership in the unions.
For those in the industrial sector, organized labor unions fought for better wages, reasonable hours and safer working conditions. The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired. The growth of the Industrial Revolution depended on the ability to transport raw materials and finished goods over long distances. There were three main types of transportation that increased during the Industrial Revolution: waterways, roads, and railroads.
All three of these transportation modes were greatly used and improved overtime. The Industrial Revolution impacted the people and environment. The world saw a major increase in population, which led to an increase in living standards. It also changed the lives of Americans by stimulating the rise of unskilled labor.
The Industrial Revolution was a major turning point in world history as it resulted in a complete change in society on all levels. The effects of the Industrial Revolution improved the lives of Americans and influenced many other cultures. Without these changes, what would our world be like today?