The Industrial Revolution began in England in the late 1700’s. The Industrial Revolution was a time of new inventions, products, and methods of work. The results of the Industrial Revolution led to many short and long-term positive and negative effects. These results have been assessed from many viewpoints such as the factory workers, the factory owners, the government, and other people who observed the conditions in industrial cities. One negative effect of the Industrial Revolution was the poor working conditions in factories which were a big problem during the Industrial Revolution.
Many people worked in factories, which had very tight spaces and poor lighting. Many people became injured and sometimes died from these poor working conditions. In Joseph Hebergram’s testimony to the Sadler Committee he stated that he had damaged lung and that his leg muscles would not function properly and will not support the weight of his bones due to the dust in the factories and overwork. This shows the harsh conditions that were present in the factories.
The conditions were so bad that some people actually died in the factories. Hebergram stated that about a dozen died during the two and a half years he was there.
The poor conditions also included the long hour’s factory workers had to endure. William Cooper was a ten year old boy and he had testified in front of the Sadler Committee. He was asked about the working hours and he stated that he had been working from five in the morning till nine at night. These children that worked at these factories had no time for anything other than working and sleep. None of these children were educated and most of them weren’t able to read or write. Cooper also stated that they were frequently strapped. This meant that at times when the children were not paying attention to their work, they were beaten .
These horrible conditions led to the factory workers becoming outraged and forming unions and strike. The strikes and labor unions later on led to factory owners having to settle with the workers and improving the conditions within the factory. Another negative effect of the Industrial Revolution was the poor sanitary conditions in cities. When Friedrich Engels visited an English industrial city he stated in “The Conditions of the Working Class in England” that the streets are usually unpaved, full of holes, filthy and strewn with refuse due to the lack of gutters or drains.
This caused the main river of Manchester to look coal black and be packed with stinking filth. The factories also led to pollution and poor air quality due to the open air vents and chimneys which released the pollution from the factory into the air. Many people who lived in these poor cities or slums were either the working class or the poor that had to struggle through these unsanitary conditions. A positive effect of the Industrial Revolution was the decrease in prices. Before the Industrial Revolution people had worked at home on farms or in small workshops. Making cloth was done entirely by hand which caused clothes to be more expensive.
This meant that most people had 1 shirt and 1 pant. In the 1700s people began buying more and more goods, so textile traders began to look for faster and cheaper ways of producing clothes. The decrease in prices came from the introduction of machines such as the spinning jenny which spun 8 threads at a time, the flying shuttle which increased the speed of weaving, and the water frame which was a large spinning machine driven by water in the factory. “In The Working Man’s Companion” the author states “Your houses are better built, your clothes are cheaper, and you have an infinite number of domestic utensils” .
This shows how people in the long-run were able to live better due to the decrease in prices of goods. A positive effect of the Industrial Revolution was the iron production between 1740 and 1900. In 1740 the British produced only 17,350 tons of iron. The number of tons of iron they produced started to increase massively. By 1796 they had produced over a hundred thousand tons, in 1839 they produced over one million tons, in 1854 they had produced over three million tons, and by 1900 they had produced nine million tons of iron. This shows that the Industrial Revolution helped the production of iron to spur massively.
At the time iron was vital in constructing trains, so the massive production of iron also helped transportation to increase and the movement of goods. Another positive effect was the working conditions in some factories. Andrew Ure in “The Philosophy of Manufacturers” stated that the children seemed to be always cheerful and alert while working, and on their way home from the factory they were skipping. This shows that the owner of the factory must’ve treated the children good and had implemented laws within the mill to enforce beating.
In the pamphlet published by the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor it states that the healthy appearance of the children frequently attracted the attention of travelers. This was due to the regulations adopted by Mr. Dale who had ran his factory differently than other factories. Only 14 had died from the 3000 children employed through 1785-1797 opposed to the thousands killed by machine accidents yearly in other factories . Leon Faucher in “Manchester in 1844” stated that Mr. Ashton had enriched the town of Hyde. The town started with 800 people and by the time Mr.
Ashton came he employed 1500 work people in his factories. This shows that he was a positive influence on the city of Hyde. In conclusion, the Industrial Revolution was a time of many positive and negative effects on society. The Industrial Revolution, like the French Revolution, left a permanent mark on society and raised the status of the middle class. The Industrial Revolution caused many negative social and economic problems that still affect us today but it also had many positive effects which helped the country of England to become a world power. The Industrial Revolution is known as one of the important events in history today.
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