The industrial Revolution eventually brought positive effects to everyday life, but the price of attaining this modernization rated an immense amount of human suffering. Although industrialization happened rapidly, one can see a long steady build-up toward it in Western Europe over many centuries. The extensive use of water wheels, windmills, and other labor saving devices all put the European mentality in touch with exploiting natural forces and laws to increase productivity. The Enlightenment’s scientific discoveries also laid the foundations for industrial and scientific advances of the sass’s.
All of these developments took place in Western Europe because of different forces that fed back on one another to increase these effects. Just as various forces combined to make Western Europe the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, several factors combined to focus on Great Britain as the specific area of Europe where industrialization would first take root. One of these was a rapid growth in agricultural production and the labor force that started with the agricultural revolution in the Middle Ages.
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In the 1 ass’s, the need for better agriculture and the need for large lots of land for this new type of agriculture led to the Enclosure Movement, where wealthy landowners enclosed the common lands o they could practice the four-field system. This created two effects that also helped lead to the Industrial Revolution. First of all, the Enclosure Movement drove many people off their lands, forcing them to flock to the cities in search of homes and jobs since they were unable to keep up and make a living. Also, this new kind of agriculture doubled food production, thus leading to dramatic population growth in England in the sass’s.
The combination of population growth in the cities created the labor supply for Britain’s textile mills when the Industrial Revolution began. The increase in population Roth that turned into the labor force for the new industrial factories and the markets for the manufactured goods was one of the factors that triggered the Industrial Revolution. There were other factors that triggered the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. Another was the new steam and textile technology. A third factor was Britain’s colonial empire, which provided raw materials for the factories as well as more markets for their goods.
Fourth was the development of a superior transportation system for getting raw materials to the factories and finished products to markets. Britain was specially favored in this respect, being an island with navigable inland rivers enhanced by a well-developed system of canals. This, along with its colonial empire, helped the British to build an excellent merchant marine for transporting its goods. As the nineteenth century progressed, a new form of technology, the steam locomotives traveling on steel rails, would make overland transport increasingly economical and efficient for the first time in history.
The fifth and final factor was a large surplus of capital along with the willingness to spend it on new machines and technology. Important to this as the Bank of England, which encouraged investment, stability, and economic growth in both the public and private sectors. Because of these, British businessmen were in the best position to take advantage hence, making Britain the banker of the world for the next century. Other factors also helped Britain. One was its excellent position as an island, which helped its trade and insulated it from continental wars. Also, Britain had extensive coal and iron deposits.
By 1850, one-half of the world’s iron and a full two- thirds of its coal production would come from British mines. Along with roving the resources for producing steam power and heavy industrial machinery. This also triggered a dramatic migration from the more agricultural south to the industrial north where the coal and iron fields lay. In addition to coal and iron, Britain also had access to Scottish supplies Of wool for their textile mills. Since the demand for wool in the sass increased exponentially England needed a way to create wool faster and cheaper.
The answer came with the invention of the more mechanized handloom (1733) which had a “flying shuttle” that quickly wove the weft thread in between the ARP threads this could double the speed of production, except for one other problem. The spinning wheel used to spin the thread for the loom was too slow. The solution came with two more inventions in the sass’s: the spinning jenny, which could spin seven threads at a time, and the water frame which could use water power to Increase the speed of spinning and weaving even more.
This series of inventions gave the British textile industry a tremendous boost, and soon textile mills were springing up on just about every available bit of river front property. Unfortunately, the amount of such property was emitted, and soon profit hungry businessmen were looking for a new power source to drive their looms and spinning jenny’s. Luckily, all this while a new power source had been emerging. That was the steam engine. Before these machines were developed the workers who produced cotton did it at their homes and had a direct relationship with their merchants.
Working in their home gave the worker and his family the ability to accommodate their work schedule how it suited them best. They could choose when to rest and work depending on the family’s needs. Another benefit from working at home was monitoring the quality of your product and also choosing when to take days off because of illness or because of holidays. But apart from these benefits working at home also had some risks and disadvantages. One of these was the risk Of the equipment in the house being damaged or destroyed by a fire or natural phenomenon.
A disadvantage was that this job required skill and physical strength, meaning it took time to learn so if the parents died or fell ill the kids were likely unable to keep working. Since machines that could double the home worker’s productivity the workers and their families were arced to move to the industrial cities and work at factories. These early industrial cities created problems in three areas: living conditions, working conditions, and the social structure. First of all, cities built so rapidly were also built poorly.
Apartment buildings were crammed together along narrow streets, poorly built, and incredibly crowded. Whole families were packed into attics, cellars, or single rooms, with one house holding 63 people in 7 rooms. Sanitation was virtually non-existent, making clean water a luxury reserved for the rich. Open sewers ran down streets carrying water fouled tit industrial and human waste. Roads were muddy and lacked sidewalks. Houses were built touching each other, leaving no room for ventilation, they lacked toilets and sewage systems, and as a result, drinking water sources, were frequently contaminated with disease.
As stated by Alexis De Touchline, a French traveler and writer, who visited Manchester in 1835 and commented on the environmental hazards. “From this foul Drain the greatest stream of human industry flows out to fertilize the whole world. From this filthy sewer pure gold flows. Here humanity attains its most complete placement and its most brutish, here civilization works its miracles and civilized man is turned almost into a savage. ” 1 Cholera, tuberculosis, typhus, typhoid, and influenza killed many in the new industrial towns, especially in poor working-class neighborhoods.
Add to these problems air pollution and malnutrition, all this led to human misery. Alcoholism, drug abuse, crime, and prostitution were natural outcomes of having to endure these conditions. Away from home, working conditions were even worse. Depending on the hours of sunlight, the workday could extend up to 1 9 hours a day, six days a eek. The work itself was hard, boring, and tedious. Conditions around the steam engines and in the mines were hot and at times extremely dangerous. In the absence of safety devices, machines often tore off fingers, hands, and even arms.
Mine shafts would occasionally explode or cave in, trapping and killing hundreds of workers deep within the earth. Despite all this, there were often long lines of the unemployed waiting for any available jobs. This surplus of labor kept wages excessively low. As a result, families had to send their women and even their children to work in the factories just to make ands meet. In fact, women and children were preferred as workers because they could be paid less while being worked harder. Occasional depressions in the economy could lead to whole industries shutting down.
This left thousands of families with no jobs and no public welfare to see them through such hard times. The Industrial Revolution also upset old social patterns of life and family. As noted before, the old domestic system of cottage industries, peasants worked in their own homes, produced at their own rates, and were paid accordingly. Under the new factory system, laborers worked in he factories owned by bosses whom they rarely saw. They had to be at work precisely on time and work at the much faster pace of the machines.
Nevertheless, they were paid by the hour, not according to their productivity, since that was cheaper for the owner. Previously, the farm, home and the workplace were one and the same, with men and women sharing in many of the same tasks. In the industrial city, there was a separation of home and workplace and a correspondingly greater separation of the roles men and women played. In middle class families, men went to work while women stayed home with the children. In working class families, men, women, and children all went to work, but usually to separate places.
For both middle and working class families, these were added strains that pulled the family apart. The growing numbers of people left helpless and destitute by the rapid changes of industrialization did not go unnoticed, and reform movements arose from three directions. Some reformers were genuinely concerned industrialists such as Robert Owen and W. H. Lever, who built model communities in which their workers could live and work. Other reformers were liberal politicians trying to alleviate the sufferings of the masses or noncreative politicians trying to avert social revolution caused by such misery.
Together such politicians enacted legislation that gradually eased the plight of the working class, such as the Factory’ Act of 1833, which limited the use of child labor, and the Factory Act of 1 850, which limited women and children to workdays often and a half hours. The standard of living for workers in the early Industrial Revolution was certainly horrible, but it did improve in the course of the nineteenth century. One fact that supports this improvement is that overall population of Europe rose dramatically during his period. Deducting that the overall standard of living in Europe was getting better.
You could also tell because the average life expectancy of Europeans during this time rose. In 1800, most people could expect to live around 30 years or less, depending on their social class. By 1900, the average life expectancy had risen about fifty per cent to 45 years. Better living conditions and nutrition, public sanitation, and great advances in medical science were all responsible for this jump. However, the price those early generations of factory workers paid for this progress and our own unforgettable life styles was a terrible one indeed.