Industrial Revolution in Europe and in the US

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The industrial revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and in the US, from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. The end result of the industrial revolution led to some long and short term effects, both positive and negative. The negative effects included poor working conditions in factories, poor sanitary conditions in cities, and of course child labor. On the other hand, the positive effects included no child abuse or overworking of children, prices went down, and transportation dramatically improved.

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To begin with, one of the negative effects of the industrial revolution was the poor working conditions in factories. The workers were being exposed to dangerous working conditions and the owners of the factories were careless and failed to take proper care of their factories, resulting in major health issues and even death.

According to an excerpt from the testimony of Joseph Hebergam to the Sadler Committee, most workers like Hebergam were heavily impacted by the dirt and dust in factories, exhaust with too much work, and insufficient diet. As stated by Hebergam, a boy was caught in a machine while at work and died as a consequence of the owners negligence by leaving the shaft uncovered.

To continue, another negative effect of the industrial revolution was the poor sanitary conditions in cities. According to the excerpt from “The conditions of the working class in England” written by Friedrich Engels, factories in Manchester (an industrial english city) led to pollution and poor air quality due to the open air vents and chimneys which released the pollutions from the factories into the air. Streets are said to be usually unpaved, full of holes, filthy and flooded with waste.

Due to the necessity of drainage, waste accumulated in puddles on streets. Ultimately, the last negative effect of the industrial revolution is child labor. Children during the industrial revolution needed to be exposed to jobs at an early age in order to help support their families. As it states in an excerpt from Miliam Coopers testimony in 1832, Some children worked up to 16 hours everyday, had a period of 40 minutes at noon for meals, were strapped or whipped in order to stay awake, and had no time to go to school or get an education. On the positive hand, In 1835 there was no more child abuse or overworking of children.

According to Andrew Ure’s excerpt from “The philosophy of Manufactures”, when he visited factories in Manchester and in surrounding districts he didn’t see a single sign of child abuse, the children seemed to be active and alert. In addition to the children not being abused, they were also not being overworked. Andrew stated that the children showed no sign of exhaustion and were happy about what they were doing. He also states that he believes children would do better having jobs, than sitting at home.

Furthermore, the next positive effect of the industrial revolution is the significant price drop. As stated in an excerpt from “The working man’s companion”, people had more product and traveling was less expensive. Over all everything was less expensive. Mass production during the industrial revolution resulted in lower prices of consumer goods. Finally, the last positive effect of the industrial revolution was that transportation improved immensely. As it states in “The working man’s companion”, you traveled at less expense and ten times quicker then two hundred years ago (at thee time it was 1831). This improvement in transportation was needed since goods needed to be shipped from one place to another constantly. Railroads also became a big part in the advancement of transportation. They helped move supplies and deliver them from person to person quickly at a good price. The use of railroads also resulted in more job opportunities due to growing demand of supplies, and people were needed to build more tracks and engines.

Briefly, the industrial revolution impacted the society in a both negative and positive way. The cities were unsanitary, there were very dangerous working conditions, and children were exposed to jobs from an early age in order to support families. On the contrary, children were not getting overworked, prices decreased substantially, and lastly transportation improved dramatically. Without the Industrial Revolution, we couldn’t have the quality of life we have today.

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Industrial Revolution in Europe and in the US. (2021, Apr 03). Retrieved from