Pre- Industrial Revolution
Prior to the Industrial Revolution the way most people lived in Europe was very different to how they lived post the Industrial Revolution. 9 out of 10 people lived in rural areas, there was a large mostly poor lower class, a small rich upper class and not much of a middle class. Rural people raised most of their food on small farms and they didn’t have to leave home each day to work at their jobs. Ordinary people used their hands to perform tasks and there was no need for a clock since their lives were tuned with the rising and setting of the sun. The world was very quiet before the Industrial Revolution, without the hustle and bustle of transportation, coal mining, and the influx of people to cities. Transportation wasn’t a simple thing, consequently due to the hardship of getting from point A to point B people didn’t know much about the world apart from their own towns or villages. The pace of life was much slower because people had to walk or use horses to move from place to place. Life was much simpler and less exciting.
The start of the Industrial Revolution
The start of the Industrial Revolution occurred in Britain during the 18th century. The Industrial Revolution was a time of new inventions, transportation, and methods of work .The Industrial Revolution occurred first in Britain for a few main reasons. One of the main reasons was that the wealthy class in Britain were rather greedy during this time period. So when something could be done to make them more money these people took advantage and jumped in head first, bringing in more business which created an amazing market for the day. Although the mindset of these people had a big role almost none of this would have been possible if Britain didn’t have the right raw materials to proceed with industrializing. Britain is full of coal and when the British people started to use coal to power simple machines it didn’t take long to grow into much more. Another reason that industrialization happened in Britain and not in the mainland of Europe was because of the people they had that could work to grow this industrialization.
As technology slowly increased not as many people were needed to farm a plot of land so those people could go down into the mines and work or into the textile mills and work. This would then lead to more money for the rich people of the country and then there would be more technological advancements and then the process would repeat itself. This is not considering the fact that Britain was one of the few countries during this time that were not having very serious government problems. So, while the other countries that weren’t isolated were fighting amongst themselves and weren’t being very productive Britain was working away and becoming even more powerful. Last but not least Britain already held a high ranking in trade so with all the new technology their trade increased rapidly.
Accomplishments and Hardships of the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution became wide spread in Britain and then later across all of Europe. Much like many other revolutions the Industrial Revolution brought many accomplishments and hardships. Accomplishments include new inventions, transportation, ways of producing goods, sources of fuel and techniques in trade and agriculture that changed the world. Introduction of all these new things lead to huge migrations from rural areas to big cities. The introduction of factories, the steam engine, railways, and so much more brought endless opportunities of work and income to hopeless people who would do anything for any source of an income. The way that people lived, and the way businesses run was forever changed during this period.
Although there were many accomplishments to the Industrial Revolution there is always a latter, with the hustle and bustle and new opportunities, came many hardships. Although there was an abundance of work opportunities the conditions in which people had to work were terrible during the Industrial Revolution. The worker who left the background of his domestic workshop or peasant holding for the factory, entered a new culture as well as a new sense of discretion ( Sidney Pollard,1) With a long line of people willing to work to obtain any income for their families, employers could set wages as low as they wanted because people were willing to do any work as long as they got paid. People worked fourteen to sixteen hours a day for six days a week. However, the majority were unskilled workers, who only received about $8-$10 dollars a week, working at approximately 10 cents an hour. Skilled workers earned a little more, but not significantly more. Women received one-third or sometimes one-half the pay that men received. Children received even less. Owners, who were only concerned with making a profit, were satisfied because labor costed less. Factories were not the best places to work. The only light present was the sunlight that came through the windows. Machines spit out smoke and, in some factories, workers came out covered in black soot by the end of the day. There was an abundance of machines with not many safety precautions. This resulted in many accidents.
How the Industrial Revolution forever changed the way societies function
The changes brought by the Industrial Revolution overturned not only traditional economies, but also whole societies. Economic changes caused far-reaching social changes, including the movement of people to cities, the availability of a greater variety of material goods, and new ways of doing business. By far the most important such monument in economic history is The Industrial Revolution- the British Industrial Revolution (Jan De Vries, 2) The Industrial Revolution was the first step in modern economic growth and development. The Industrial Revolution is called a revolution because it changed society both significantly and rapidly. Over the course of human history, there has been only one other group of changes as significant as the Industrial Revolution. This is what anthropologists call the Neolithic Revolution, which took place in the later part of the Stone Age.
In the Neolithic Revolution, people moved from social systems based on hunting and gathering to much more complex communities that depended on agriculture and the domestication of animals. This led to the rise of permanent settlements and, eventually, urban civilizations. The Industrial Revolution brought a shift from the agricultural societies created during the Neolithic Revolution to modern industrial societies. All historians agree that it was a ‘great discontinuity’, the transition from one kind of society and economy to another ^”primarily the transition from agricultural to industrial primacy.” (Julian Hoppit, 2) This was the first time ever in history that society officially changed from agrarian to urban and since then it has never turned back. Our society today from how we get to work, to how we prepare our food, to how we interact with each other all stems from the accomplishments and advances made in the Industrial Revolution.
All in all, the Industrial Revolution was a revolution much like many others that brought many accomplishments and hardships. The accomplishments made in this revolution unlike others lasted and have impacted the world and the way societies have functioned since. It was a time of great imagination and progress. The new inventions that had came out within the Industrial Revolution led to new products to be manufactured which lead to success. But, at the same time held people in poverty. It created chaos between the working class and the industrial machine, but however creations happened.
Julian Hoppit (1987). Understanding the Industrial Revolution. The Historical Journal, 30, pp 211?224 doi:10.1017/S0018246X00021993
Jan De Vries, The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 54, No. 2, Papers Presented at the Fifty-Third Annual Meeting of the Economic History Association (Jun., 1994), pp. 249-270
Sidney Pollard, Factory Discipline in the Industrial Revolution.
December 1963 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0289.1963.tb01729.