During the late 1700s, great change occurred in Europe in terms of the economy and production of goods. This time was known as the Industrial Revolution. The Revolution had many effects that would forever change the course of history. Some of the effects were positive and very beneficial, whether to the workers, factory owners, or society as a whole. At the same time though, the Industrial Revolution allowed for many outcomes that were not at all favorable, ones that negatively affected mankind.
The Industrial Revolution led to many negative effects. When machines and devices were invented to aid in the farming process, less manpower was needed on the farm and many small farms were unable to sustain themselves. This caused for a large influx of people to the cities in search of jobs. As a result, the urban areas became crowded, filthy, and full of disease. There was a great loss of life due to the lack of ventilation, terrible hygienic conditions, and poor supply of water.
Many people died as a result of the inhumane living conditions caused by the Industrial Revolution. Another negative outcome of the industrial revolution was the loss of traditional home life and family time. When people worked on farms, the entire family pitched in with the chores during the day, and at night they would spend quality time together.
With the move to urban areas and the long hours spent in the factories, this was no longer possible. Every member of the family would have different work schedules and would come home late at night, making it impossible to perform regular family activities. This included the mothers, women who were forced to go out to work in order to provide, who were now unable to have a strong, traditional relationship with their children. A major negative effect of the Revolution was the unfair treatment of the factory workers. Owners of large businesses wanted to expand without paying heed to the conditions of their workers. They exploited their employees, taking advantage of them at every turn. The workers received unimaginably low wages, long strenuous work hours, and bad conditions. These people were for the time being, negatively affected by the Industrial Revolution.
Two more, perhaps, longer-lasting effects were caused by the Industrial Revolution. Firstly, the invention of new machines and the creation of industry led to a need for natural resources that were not always available in England. This, and the fact that many Europeans felt a need to bring their new ways of doing business, led to imperialism. Strong European countries would conquer lands, mainly in Africa, which they felt were less developed and almost inferior to themselves. Although they did bring industry to these countries and in some ways truly built them up economically, imperialism was for the most part a truly negative effect. They European nations entered these countries without any permission, cruelly conquered them, and treated the natives harshly without giving them any rights. In addition, the building of large steam powered factories polluted the air greatly. The pollution created during the industrial revolution contaminates the air we breathe in until this very day. The people then did not have the knowledge to realize just how far reaching their actions would be in terms of our environment.
Although from the above information it may seem as if the Industrial Revolution did nothing but harm, it in fact affected many overwhelmingly positive outcomes. Firstly, a huge positive effect of the Industrial Revolution was a strengthened economy. This is exactly what the Revolution had set out to do in the first place, and it was definitely successful. The large factories and new methods for transportation of goods, such as the railroad, allowed for products to be manufactured for low prices and to be easily sold. People were afforded the chance to invest and make great profits. This created many jobs and established a strong thriving middle class in which everybody benefited. For the first time in centuries, Europe’s economy was stable. All this led to another greatly positive effect, the start of capitalism. This effect is probably the greatest and most everlasting one, as today we in the U.S. employ the system of economics. Capitalism, is an economic system in which following the ideas of laissez faire and Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, allows for the economy to run its natural course without government intervention. This ideology came about during the Industrial Revolution, when people wished to invest for private needs, and own their own factories. Capitalism has proven to be a beneficial system as it allows for true economic growth, and competition inside and industry. This in turn creates a better product for lower prices. Everybody gains.
The Industrial Revolution had additional positive effects. As products were more easily producible and made in greater quantities, their prices fell. Now, they were more affordable to a wider range of people and with this the standard of living rose. This meant that more and more people were able to buy things that were outside of their absolute bar necessities. This is a trend that continues to increase until this very day. The immediate effect of the Revolution, in which the workers were exploited led to a positive long term effect. As activists and reformers, such as Flora Tristan, saw or experienced the hardships of the workers, they would publish things to raise awareness. With this came the formation of unions in which a large number of workers get together to achieve fairness in the workplace. Eventually the government passed laws, such as the Factory Act of 1833, to limit the number of work hours and insure safe conditions for women and children. The movement for worker’s rights has led to a lot of progressive changes that have forever changes the lives of workers worldwide.
To conclude, The Industrial Revolution in Europe brought about great change to the production of goods and introduced the machines and the factory system. All this affected the people and economy a great deal, in some ways negatively and in others positively. In general though, the industrial revolution is looked at as a period of growth that has forever changed the way we live our lives. It has awarded us tremendous opportunity, life altering inventions, and amazing economic prospect.
Cite this Effects of the Industrial Revolution
Effects of the Industrial Revolution. (2016, Jul 06). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/effects-of-the-industrial-revolution/