The Industrial Revolution

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The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was a period in history when mankind found
innovative and efficient ways of producing goods, manufacturing services
and creating new methods of transportation. This not only revolutionized
the way the market system functioned, but also changed the way people
perceived their status in society and what they required as basic
necessities. However, the price that humanity was forced to pay for the
emergence of the Industrial Revolution greatly outweighed the rewards
that it brought alongside its origin.

Prior to the Industrial Age, the Western European market operated on a
simple “putting-out” system. The average producer was able to
manufacture a product in the same area that he or she lived on and the
demand for that product was usually set by a few local consumers. The
process was easy and simple, provided that the product being created was
always required by someone else. However, the invention of Machinery and
all of its accompanying peripherals allowed producers to start
manufacturing on a mass scale. With factories placed in central
locations of the townships (known as centralization), the previous
system was dismantled and categorized into steps. No longer would one
person be required to build, market or transport their product since the
new system introduced the art of specialization. Specialization allowed
a person to perform a single task and guarantee them wages as a source
of income. However, as wonderful as this might seem, this new system led
to the emergence of a n working class (proletariat) and forced them to
depend on market conditions in order to survive as producers. Although
seemingly content at first, those who became employed by these factories
were immediately subjected to deplorable conditions. Arnold Toynbee made
a scholarly assessment of this new wave of socio-economic behavior and
concluded that the working class is suffering due to a series of
hardships that make their lives miserable. He cited low wages, long
hours, unsafe conditions, no provisions for old age, a discipline
determined by machine and whole families being left with a low income
rate as being a recurring problem that exploited the integrity and
efficiency of Industrialization. This subsequently led to a period of
“depersonalization” which meant that the employer-employee relationship
was deteriorating in exchange for this new system. No longer could a
worker befriend his boss or maintain a stable friendship since the
divisions between their market classes made this al most impossible. One
relied on the other for subsistence and therefore this dependency gave
the property owners an upper edge in terms of negotiating income and
support. Since the proletariat owned nothing but his labour, his abuse
was imminent at the hands of some ruthless bourgeoisie. Clearly, this
revolution was not aiding all the citizenry of Western culture.

Since European man had found a way to increase the amount of products
being manufactured, he also found a way to speed up the process through
specialization and Urbanization. The growth of giant factories in
Manchester, England skyrocketed from 77,000 in 1801 to 303,000 in 1850.
People began leaving their countryside rural areas in exchange for an
Urban life lead by the clock. The farm worker became the factory worker
literally overnight in order to compete with these new market forces
that had swept across Western Europe. T.S. Ashton, a prolific historian,
saw this transition as being a positive force during the inauguration of
the Industrial juggernaut. He believed that with Industrialization and
Urbanization there existed a greater stability of consumption since a
regularity in employment meant that goods were always being produced and
transactions were ensuring that a greater proportion of the population
was benefitting. He lauded the existence of a large class of workers
since guaranteed lower prices because more people were well above the
level of poverty. Be this as it may, Karl Marx had a radically different
opinion on the effects of Industrialization. He was disgusted by the
fact that the new working class was always at the mercy of their own
employers and depended too much on the market. This dependency, he
preached, would lead to an uprising involving the collective powers of
the proletariat. This prophetic warning would lead to many other
revolutions, most notably the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, and opened
a new age of human suffering and decadence.

In conclusion, the Industrial Revolution presented mankind with a
miracle that changed the fabric of human behavior and social
interaction. Eventually, it even influenced political ideologies and
spread across the four corners of the Earth. However, in its silent and
seemingly innocent way, the majority of the population in Western Europe
were struck by a disease that was invisible to those in power and too
obvious to those in the lower classes. The exodus from nature and the
simple country life into a cornucopia of bustling cities filled with
polluted factories is evidence of the influence of Industrialization. An
influence so profound that the benefits were buried behind an avalanche
of pain, poverty and abuse.

“The Effects Of The Industrial Revolution”

The Effects of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was
absolutely beneficial to the progress of the world from the 1800s all
the way to present day. Sacrifices were made which allowed technological
advancements during the Industrial Revolution, which in turn, created
happiness, life opportunities, and an over-all, definite amelioration of

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, many hardships had to be
overcome, causing great grief to most of the population. Faith was lost,
patience was tried, and a blanket of oppression covered the people of
Europe. When new inventions arose to facilitate the producing and
mass-producing of goods that supplied the people of Europe, nearly
everyone was forced to begin a new career within a factory. These are
just some of the hardships that many loyal, hardworking citizens were
faced with. The reverberations of these new inventions caused a dramatic
plummet of the life expectancy of an average citizen to an alarming 15
years of age. Women and children were expected to work up to 16 hours a
day and doing labor that could cause serious injury, like carrying
extremely heavy loads. For their work, they were paid ridiculous wages,
women around 5 shillings per week, and children about 1. One can easily
recognize the negative aspects of such a dramatic event. However, if one
“steps back” to view the revolution as a whole, he will notice that the
positive aspects completely outweigh the negative aspects. The job
opportunities and price decrease definitely improved the lives of the
people, giving them a chance to be a part of the society and be able to
purchase products at a price that wasn’t too bad.

Many lives changed outside work. There were many national benefits of
this revolution. One very important thing was that there became many
more goods available because of the mass-production. Due to this
mass-producing, the goods also dropped in price, which considerably
benefited those who were financially struggling. Along with the
mass-producing came more employment opportunities, which allowed some of
the less fortunate people to have a chance of getting a job. The
increase of new ideas and inventions led to an increase of the quality
of life. Medicinal products became more plentiful, transportation
improved, and free education was available. People began to find
themselves with more leisure time. Wages were increased, health benefits
became available, and eventually, pension became available to those who
retired. These are just some of the many aspects of the revolution that
benefited the people as a nation, which made them happier, and made the
government safer from rebellion.

There is still one more aspect of this revolution and that is the
effects of it on present day. Without the inventions and changes that
took place to form a more ideal society, we wouldn’t be where we are
today. Without labor laws and health benefits, the life expectancy of a
human would drop at least 20 years. Our lives would not be integrated
with the technology that helps us learn and grow such as computers,
cars, and airplanes. Without the growth of industrialization, there
would not be the need for any of these inventions, and we would all
still be working on a farm. Some would say that they would rather live
on a farm, but many can easily see how much better our lives are with
the effects of the industrialization.

Let us “step back” and view the revolution as a whole now. In the
beginning, people struggled and suffered, and this happens with all
change and progress; people sacrifice. As time passed, people gained
more benefits, and their lives became better. Work became much less
tedious, and many people found themselves with more extra time. Finally
there is the modern day and the future. Technology and industry has
dominated our world, improving it to a point that would have been
unimaginable one hundred years ago, and with the help of the people, the
sacrificing and the hardships, progress continues.

“Change in Urban Society ”

Change In Urban Society At the end of the 18th century a revolution in
energy and industry began in England and spread rapidly all around
Europe later in the 19th century, bringing about dramatic and radical
change. A significant impact of the Industrial Revolution was that on
urban society. The population of towns grew vastly because economic
advantage entailed that the new factories and offices be situated in the
cities. The outlook of the city and urban life in general were
profoundly modified and altered. Modern industry created factory owners
and capitalists who strengthened the wealth and size of the middle
class. Beside the expansion of the bourgeoisie, the age of
industrialization saw the emergence of a new urban proletariat – the
working class. The life of this new group and its relations with the
middle class are controversial issues to modern history. Some believe
that the Industrial Revolution “inevitably caused much human misery” and
affliction. Other historians profess that Industrialization brought
economic improvement for the laboring classes. Both conclusions should
be qualified to a certain extent. Economic growth does not mean more
happiness. Given the contemporary stories by people at that time, life
in the early urban society seems to have been more somber than
historians are usually prow to describe it. No generalities about
natural law or inevitable development can blind us to the fact, that the
progress in which we believe has been won at the expense of much
injustice and wrong, which was not inevitable. Still, I believe that
industry was a salvation from a rapid population growth and immense
poverty. Furthermore, by the end of the 19th century the appearance of
European cities and life in them had evolved and change for the better.
Industrialization was preceded and accompanied by rapid population
growth, which began in Europe after 1720. People had serious difficulty
providing their subsistence by simply growing their food. There was
widespread poverty and underemployment. Moreover, the need for workers
in the city was huge. More and more factories were opening their doors.
The result of this was a vast migration from the countryside to the city
where peasants were already being employed. “The number of people living
in the cities of 20000 or more in England and Wales jumped from 1.5
million in 1801 to 6.3 million by 1891” (Mckay, 762). With this mass
exodus from the countryside, life in urban areas changed drastically.
Overcrowding exacerbated by lack of sanitation and medical knowledge
made life in the city quite hard and miserable. A description of
Manchester in 1844, given by one of the most passionate critics of the
Industrial Revolution, Friederich Engels, conveys in great detail the
deplorable outlook of the city. “…the confusion has only recently
reached its height when every scrap of space left by the old way of
building has been filled up or patched over until not a foot of land is
left to be further occpupied” (Engels 2). Lack of sanitation caused
people to live in such filth and scum that is hard to imagine. “In dry
weather, a long string of the most disgusting, blackish-green, slime
pools are left standing on this bank, from depths of which bubbles of
miasmatic gas constantly arise and give forth a stench unendurable even
on the bridge forty or fifty feet above the surface of the stream”
(Engels 2). The appalling living conditions in the city during the early
stages of the Industrial Revolution brought about two important changes.
By developing his famous germ theory of disease, Louis Pasteur brought
about the so-called Bacterial revolution and lead the road to taming the
ferocity of the death in urban areas caused by unsanitary and
overcrowded living conditions. The theory that disease was inflicted by
microorganisms completely revolutionized modern medicine and brought
about the important health movement in the city. After 1870 sanitation
was a priority on the agenda lists of city administration in most
industrialized European countries. Urban planning and transportation
after 1870 transformed European cities into beautiful and enchanting
places. Water supply systems and waste disposals construction were
accompanied by the building of boulevards, townhalls, theaters, museums.
The greatest innovation in this area at the time -the electric
streetcar- immensely facilitated the expansion of the city and helped
alleviate the problem of overcrowding. A good example of urban planning
and transportation was the rebuilding of Paris, which laid the
foundations of modern urbanism all around Europe. The appearance of the
city and the quality of life in it greatly improved by the end of the
19th century. But, living conditions in the city during the Industrial
Revolution were pretty bad, a factor that greatly contributed to the bad
plight of the working class at that time. As urban civilization was
starting to prevail over rural life, changes in the structure of the
society and in family life became inevitable. Urban society became more
diversified while the classes lost a great part of their unity. Economic
specialization produced many new social groups. It created a vast range
of jobs, skills and earnings, which intermingled with one another
creating new subclasses. Thus the very rich and the very poor were
separated by the vast space occupied by these new strata. Urban society
resembled the society from the age of agriculture and aristocracy by one
thing. The economic gap between rich and poor remained enormous and
income distribution stayed highly unequal with one fifth of society
receiving more than the remaining four fifths. With the emergence of the
factory owners and industrial capitalists, he relations between the
middle and the working class changed. But did the new industrial middle
class ruthlessly exploit the workers? I believe that at the begging this
was certainly the case. People were coming to the city as “family units”
and as such worked in the factories. “In the early years some very young
kids were employed solely to keep the family together” (Mckay 718). The
conditions of work were appalling. An excerpt from Parliamentary Papers
in England named “Evidence Before the Sadler Committee”, mirrors the
quite dark side of life in the factories. In this testimony several
people who worked at factories in different industries and towns in
England draw a vivid picture of the factory reality. Both children and
grownups were made to work fourteen to sixteen hours a day with only an
hour brake and a salary that was hardly intended to compensate the
tremendous load of work. Children were “strapped” “severely” if they
lagged and deteriorated their work. The sight of the workers reflected
their sad plight. “Any man …must acknowledge, that an uglier set of men
and women, of boys and girls, taking them in the mass it would be
impossible to imagine…Their complexion is sallow?Their sature low…Their
limbs slender and playing badly and ungracefully?Great numbers of girls
and women walking lamely or awkwardly, with raised chests and spinal
flexures” (Gaskell, 1). Miserable life and poverty allowed people few
recreational outlets and money to spend. For this reason a process of
corruption and degradation of morals spread among working class people.
An illustration of this is the proliferation of prostitution at the
time. The continuing distance between rich and poor made for every kind
of debauchery and sexual exploitation. Important factor in the
degradation of morals that spread through urban society and the working
classes in particular was the diminishing role that religion played in
daily live. Urban society became more secular and more and more people
started to regard the church as conservative institution that defended
social order and custom. As a result of this illegitimacy and sexual
experimentation before marriage triumphed during the 19th century.
Women’s actively entering the labor force was a new development spurred
by the Industrial Revolution. In the preindustrial world women did leave
home at an early age in search for work but their opportunities were
limited. The service in another family’s household was by far the most
common. The employment of girls and women in factories had an important
effect on their stereotypic role of household carers. It weaned them
away from home and the domestic tasks. “Shut up from morning till night,
except when they are sent home for their meals, these girls are ignorant
of and unhandy at every domestic employment” (“Observations on the Loss
of Woolen Spinning, 1794”). However, the plight of the urban working
class changed as the growth of modern cities approached the end of the
19th century. The average real income raised substantially. The practice
of employing children from an early age was abandoned. Less and less
women were working in sweated industries. Instead men were the primary
wage earners while women stayed at home taking care of the household and
the children. The early practice of hiring entire families in the
factory disappeared. Family life became more stable, as mercenary
marriages were substituted by romantic love. Sex roles in urban society
became highly distinct. The most distressing changes brought to urban
society -overcrowding, lack of urban planning, unsanitary conditions,
unemployment and poverty -were eventually offset by the compensation and
remedy of economic growth. Urban society not only change for the better.
This change was a remarkable step for humanity. For one thing, the city
promoted diversity and creativity. It was the uncontested home of new
ideologies, ideas, movements, crucial scientific discoveries, customs,
fashions, developments in art and literature.


The process of industrialization in England and on the Continent created
an enlargement of the middle classes, e.g. the merchants, bankers, etc.
Therefore, it became increasingly difficult for the conservative
landowning aristocrats and monarchs to retain their power over society.
The term liberalism was first used in England in around 1819. Liberal
ideas of freedom of trade, freedom of speech etc. were largely shaped by
the French Revolution, as were most other political doctrines. Both the
advancement of the political doctrine of liberalism and the political
ideas themselves were different in every country of Europe. The liberals
of Britain and France were the most influential, therefore, I shall
focus this essay predominantly on their influence, until the year 1832,
on their respective countries in order to answer the question to what
extent their influence was different. In the first chapter, I will deal
with the political and economical ideologies ‘all’ liberals have in
common. The next chapter will elaborate to what extent those liberalist
ideas influenced society in France, until 1830. In the third, I will
discuss the influence of liberalism in Britain up to the year 1832.
Classical Liberalism: The ideologies of liberalism varied extensively in
Europe from country to country, but there were also many similarities in
their views of society. Liberals viewed men to be desirous for
increasingly more property and respect of others, because liberals
believed that the only way to get ahead in life was to gain property and
respect, for the more property the better position in society. Liberals
recognized that there was a need for some minimum form of government,
otherwise there would be the inconvenience of every man having to be his
own judge and policeman, but it would not need to be a very strong
government. Government was only to restrain occasional transgressors; it
was to protect the propertied against the non-propertied. Since the
people also needed to be protected from an arbitrary or absolutist
government, the government should be under the ultimate control of the
propertied. Therefore, there should remain the power to remove or alter
the legislative power, when it acts contrary to the trust that was
placed in it. In other words, liberals believed in the ability of
self-government and self-control, because they considered man to be
rational in that man was capable of making independent decisions about
his life. However, they did acknowledge the need for a weak government.
This government was to be a constitutional monarchy, in which freedom of
the press, freedom of speech, free rights of assembly, religion, and
freedom to dispose over private property would be preserved in the best
possible way. They were convinced that the legislative and the executive
branch of government should be separate and that their actions should be
mutually restrictive (based on the idea of “checks and balances” by John
Locke). As stated previously, they were also convinced of the idea that
only male property owners should be allowed to vote, because they had a
stake in society. How much property was needed to be eligible to vote
was a hot topic of debate amongst liberals all over Europe. Liberals
were not democrats in that they supported the idea of universal male
suffrage, for they feared the excesses of mob rule. However, they did
believe that every adult male should have the opportunity to accumulate
property to become eligible to vote and that all men were equal before
the law. A liberal slogan was that careers should be open to the
talents. None of the liberals in Europe was in favor of the unification
of laborers into labor unions for it would be an artificial interference
with the natural laws – supply and demand, diminishing returns – of the
market. Moreover, liberals advocated an economy of “laissez faire”, i.e.
free trade; to be achieved by getting rid of or at least lowering the
tariffs. They were of the opinion that free trade would be beneficial to
all the countries involved, for with free trade, it would be easier to
exchange goods. Consequently, each country would produce what it was
most suited for, thereby increasing the country’s standard of living and
general wealth. The doctrine of liberalism was generally supported by
men of business, bankers, merchants, the new capitalists (“the cotton
lords”), who owed their position to their own hard work and
intelligence; they were “self-made” men, who would do anything to
increase their property within the means proved by the law, but not
beyond. Some progressive landowners that wanted to improve their
property joined these mostly ‘new’ classes in their support of
liberalism. Contrary to what one might think, most liberals were, to a
certain extent, concerned with the situation of the workers. They
created several possibilities for the workers to obtain their own
property: “savings banks, mutual benefit societies, and institutions of
technical and vocational education” (Sperber; p66). There was one field,
however, in which the liberals did favor strong governmental activity:
the field of public education. They believed that well organized
effective public education would create a strong society of male
property owners who had a voice in public affairs. The influence of
liberalism in France: In France, problems arose when Charles X became
king in 1824. The reforms that were instituted after the constitution of
1814 were reversed. The Catholic clergy started to reclaim their rights
to the control of public education. Sacrilegious behavior became
increasingly more prohibited by law; e.g. sacrilege in church buildings
became punishable by death. A strong opposition began to rise against
these extreme actions by the reactionary government. In March 1830, the
Chamber of Deputies – led by Lafitte and Casimir-Pйrier – passed a vote
of no confidence in the government. The king retorted by proclaiming
that new elections were to be held after he had dissolved the Chamber.
According to the result of the new elections, previous actions made by
the king were to be rejected. On his own authority king Charles,
infuriated by this outcome, now issued four decrees, on July 26 1830.
The first ordinance contained the order to dissolve the newly elected
Chamber immediately, before its first meeting. The second proclaimed the
institution of governmental censorship on all forms of press. Another
reduced the right to vote in such a way that none of the bourgeois
classes retained their suffrage. It concentrated all the political power
back into the hands of the conservative aristocrats. The last decree
called for new elections on the basis of the previous three decrees. On
July 27, 1830, the July Revolution broke out in Paris. It were the
republicans, mostly consisting of students, other intelligentsia, and
working-class leaders, that undertook action, because they saw their
chance to achieve their ideal of universal male suffrage. Strangely, it
was not the upper-middle class that acted although they were the ones
brutally deprived of their right to vote the day before. For three days,
Paris was the stage of popular revolt. Charles X stepped down and fled
to England, because he did not want to be taken captive by the angry
revolutionists, the army refused to defend him against. After the
abdication of Charles X, the liberals still wanted to continue with the
existing system of constitutional monarchism, but with a king they could
trust, which is completely in line with their view of government of
constitutional monarchism, shown in the first chapter. However, they did
liberalize it in that there was to be no more absolutism, the Chamber of
Peers would be no longer be hereditary, and the Chamber of Deputies
would be elected by a doubled electoral body (from 100,000 to 200,000).
The Chambers agreed that the new king would be the Duke of Orlйans,
proposed by Marquis de Lafayette, who was crowned on August 7, 1830. The
upper-bourgeoisie – merchants, bankers, and industrialists – benefited
most from the new system. To them, this new system was to be the end of
political progress. After the revolution of 1830, liberalism became the
governmental doctrine that was only interested to preserve the status
quo. Liberalism in Britain: In England the Tory government had already
begun to liberalize in the decade preceding the July Revolution in
Paris. The Tory party had reduced tariffs and allowed British colonies
to trade with countries other than Britain. Skilled workers were now
permitted to emigrate and industrial manufacturers could export
machinery, thus revealing British industrial secrets. These measures
came very close to the liberal ideal of free trade. The Tories did not
only liberalize the economy, but they had also started to reform some
social aspects of society as well, notably in the direction of freedom
of religion. Permitting Protestants to hold and run for public office
had extensively reduced the power of the Church of England. From now on
Catholics received the same rights as others. The introduction of an
official police force, that was to keep protests, angry crowds, and
occasional riots under control, was unprecedented in any European
country. The main injustice in Britain, at that time, was the unequal
distribution of representation of the people in the House of Commons.
“It was estimated that in about 1820 less than 500 men, most of them
members of the House of Lords, really selected the majority of the House
of Commons”. As a consequence, of the Industrial Revolution the
population was shifting considerably to the north, while the population
used to be concentrated predominantly in the south. However, no new
boroughs (urban centers having the right to elect members of Parliament)
had been created, since 1688, to the displeasure of the northern
industrial urban centers. In 1830, probably influenced by the July
Revolution in Paris, the issue of reforming the House of Commons was
raised again by the minority party, the Whigs. As an answer to the
enormous outburst by the Duke of Wellington, in defense of the existing
system, a Whig ministry took over the government. Unfortunately, the
bill failed to pass the Commons and the ministry resigned. Fearing
popular revolt, the Tories refused to form a new government. The Whigs
returned and now the bill did pass the House of Commons, but it stranded
in the House of Lords. The country was on the eve of a revolution if the
bill would not become law. The Whigs went to the king with this argument
trying to persuade him to create enough new Lords to change the majority
of the House of Lords in favor of the Whigs. The Lords surrendered and
they approved the bill. In April 1832, the bill finally became law. The
new law was a typical British creation. In stead of adopting the new
ideas of the French – that each representative should represent
approximately the same number of voters – they preferred to make some
alteration in the existing system. The property owners and their
principal employees – doctors, lawyers, etc.- would under the new law,
elect the members of the House of Commons. The new law came down to the
redistribution of votes, not to a substantial enlargement of the
electoral body (from 500,000 to about 813,000). Conclusion: In my
opinion, the influence of the liberals in France should have been far
greater than that of the liberals in England, because the liberals in
France had obtained the control over the government. Therefore, it would
seem to be easier for them to institute legal measures to benefit their
political and economical ideologies. However, they refused to adopt and
implement the successful English policies. Consequently, the main
difference between the two countries remained that England continued to
flourish and easily be the leader of the world economy. In England, the
control of government by the Tory party, after 1832, reduced the
influence of capitalism on society. Consequently, legislation was passed
to somewhat protect the workers against the continuing lust for profit
of their employers. This contrary to France where only the most well to
do were in control of politics not much was done to relieve the
condition of labor. Concluding I believe that, in England, even though
the liberals did not have direct influence on the course of politics,
English society did come very close to some of the liberal ideals, e.g.
constitutional monarchy, emigration of skilled workers, colonies trading
with other countries, etc. It is, therefore, fair to say that, although
the liberals did not have the direct influence on public policies, the
influence exerted by the liberalist ideologies was far greater than in

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