The Industrial Era

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Updated: Aug 02, 2019
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The Industrial Era essay

The Industrial Era was a time in which American transformed into a modern, urban and industrial nation. The growth of the economy encouraged the industry. The rural and farm life of the nation was taken over by the industry and urbanization. The development of cities involved advancements in technology and an increase in diversity within a society.

The Industrial Revolution reached the United States during the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution reshaped culture in America. It had significant effects on global history as a whole. One of the major changes was the shift from work being done at home by hand in cottage industries to work being done in factories. Some of the most important changes that were brought about during the Industrial Revolution were; the invention of machines, the use of steam, and the adoption of the factory system.

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During the Industrial Revolution an employee would average 14-hour days, six days a week. To keep from losing their jobs, workers would refrain from complaining about the horrible conditions and low pay. Working in factories created harsh and unsafe conditions. With the emergence of factories on the rise during the Industrial Revolution this contributed to the major capitalist principle of wage-based labor. In which workers were denied ownership of the means of production in exchange for wages.

Owners realized that they could pay women and children less than men. In doing so, the child labor increased because it kept the costs of production low and the profits high. Many children worked long hours for very low pay. This had an impact on immigration and child labor, use of machines in agriculture, growth of urban centers, and the growth of the middle class had its severe impact on cultural life.

Most products people in the industrialized nations use today are turned out swiftly by the process of mass production, by people or an automated machine working on assembly lines. People of ancient and medieval times had no such products. They had to spend long, tedious hours of hand labor even on simple objects. The Industrial Revolution is known as the era in which machines changed people’s way of life as well as their methods of manufacture. The impact of immigration and child labor, use of machines in agriculture, growth of urban centers, and the growth of the middle class had its severe impact on cultural life. Economic and political effects of industrialization in both the 19th and 20th centuries include the development of corporations, free economy (laissez-faire) economic policies, changes in the standard of living, and the growth of labor unions (Gowdy,27-36).

Not only did the Industrial Revolution change the way we manufactured or produced items; it also changed the way we traveled. There were three main types of transportation that increased during the Industrial Revolution: waterways, roads, and railroads. Transportation via water was the cheapest way to move heavy products (such as coal and iron). As a result, canals were widened and deepened to allow more boats to pass. Railroad transportation became the cornerstone of the newly industrialized economy. The rail transport allowed for raw materials, manufactured products, food, and people to travel quickly across America in a matter of days. Much faster and different from a long time that it took before the Civil War. With the railroads enhancing most people that lived in the rural moved to the cities, by 1900, an estimated number of 40-percent of the population had moved to the urban areas (Fraser 78-101).

Roads were also improved immensely during this time period. Prior to, people traveled using animals or by foot, but there were many problems with the conditions of the roads. The turnpikes were created for easier transportation, especially for the horse-drawn wagons. Thomas Telford made new foundations in roads with large flat stones. Soon thereafter, roads across America were improved based on this technique. With all the improvements being made, not only did it make for safer travel but it also allowed for goods to be moved more efficiently.

The Industrial Revolution brought about many positive effects. There was an increase in wealth, the production of goods, and the standard of living. People had access to healthier diets, better housing, and cheaper goods. Many improvements that took place was our daily living, education, and health care. It also contributed to the movement of people. Prior to the industrial revolution, people rarely moved from the area they were born. The industrial revolution enabled people to travel further and abroad.

The Industrial Revolution brought about changes for women, this included women entering the work force for the firs time. Women had to compete with men for jobs. During this time women often made one-third as much as men. Women began leading their own reforms to change this. As women became more involved in politics, some began to demand suffrage, the right to vote. By 1918, Great Britain granted women over 30 the right to vote. The United States granted women suffrage with the passing of the 19th amendment in 1920 (


Dwayne, Fraser. The Evolution Of The American Welfare State: A History Of Social Policy Since The Industrial Revolution. New York: Palgrave Macmillan (2012): 78-101.
Gowdy, John. “Avoiding Self-organized Extinction: Toward a Co-evolutionary Economics of Sustainability.” International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 14.1 (2013): 27-36. Print.
Henslin, J. M. (2019). Sociology, 14th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from vbk://9780134740027

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