Industrial Revolution

Revolutions are turning points in History. This is because revolutions involve a drastic change in the system and when revolutions happen, there are many positive and negative impacts. This will be easier to understand if I use an example, the industrial revolution, to show you.

The Industrial Revolution began in the middle 1700’s in Britain and involves a drastic change in the system. We can tell this because there was a shift from an agrarian, handicraft and labour-intensive economy to an economy dominated by machine manufacture, specialization of tasks or division of labour, factories and cities, and a worldwide market for goods, services, and a capital.

Before the industrial revolution, England's economy was based on its cottage industry. Workers would buy raw materials from merchants, take it back to their cottages, produce the goods at their home. This industry was efficient but the workers, productivity was low, making costs higher. The longer it took one person to manufacture a product, the higher the price. Subsequently, goods were high in price and exclusive only to the wealthy people.

Also, before the industrial revolution, a large number of the population worked in farms. They grew a number of crops mostly for themselves to eat with only a small portion to sell to the market. This continued until the enclosure movement forced many small farmers off their land. Many lost their jobs and were forced to move to the city to find employment opportunities there instead.

In the year was 1733, the demand for cotton cloth was high, but production was low. This crisis had to be solved or England's economy would be hindered. The answer came from a British weaver, John Kay, who invented and fashioned the flying shuttle, which cut weaving time in half. John Kay was a pioneer and his invention paved the way for numerous inventors. By the 1750's, the industrial Revolution had begun.

At first, inventions were strictly limited to cotton weaving. Inventions such as the spinning jenny and the water-powered frame, both of which provided spinning yarn faster, the spinning mule, the power loom and the cotton gin, all helped the manufacture of cotton goods by speeding up the process. Mass production had begun, along with capitalism. Capitalist, people who have their own materials, money and space, bought many machines and stored them in a factory, where hired people worked the whole day manufacturing goods. The factory system had replaced the cottage industry.

Mass production made usually expensive items, such as shoes, less expensive and easily affordable by lower class and less wealthy people. The quality of life had improved. In the 1800's, inventions weren't just limited to the cotton industry. Steam engines were invented, providing a faster mode of transportation, instead of the use of horses and carriages. With steam engines, cities were able to move farther away from rivers and sources of water, to start cities.

The industrial revolution also had many positive and negative impacts.

Some of the positive impacts are:

1)Construction of modern buildings. This gave homeless people places to live. Also they were built within walking distance of a factory but built away from the smoke. They built churches and architecture was modernized. They built row houses and apartments for people who needed homes when they moved. 2)Modern inventions. The inventions increased factory efficiency and productivity by making the work easier. One invention that helped was the spinning Jenny which could spin 5 strings instead of one.

The inventions caused advancements in both technology and medicine. 3)changing class structure. The changing class structure was positive because people started making more money. This was because they were coming out with laws that forced the factory owners to pay a minimum wage. Also a middle class started emerging which also got rid of aristocracy. This led to a better life for everyone.

Some of the negative impacts are:

1)Working Conditions - The factories were dirty and dangerous. They didn’t have any laws for the minimum pay or safety issues. The workers were paid low salaries that could barely cover their costs of living. Their hours were long and they were not permitted any breaks. The managers/owners were very strict and if the worker was caught dozing off or slowing down they were severely punished. 2)Child Labor.

Many children were hired to work in factories. They were given very low pay and worked in very bad conditions. The girls would have long hair that could get caught in the machines and possibly kill the them. They worked barefoot for 12 to 14 hours and were given no breaks.

Since they were working in a factory all day, they were not able to get a very good education so they couldn’t get out of the cycle of factory working when they got older. 3)Woman labour. They were paid lower than men even though they worked the same hours.

The women were in more danger working in the factory because they had long skirts with lots of fabric and long hair. They were also not permitted to take breaks and were punished the same as men if they slowed down or got tired. The women were not able to be with their families because they had to work all day and by the time they got home it was late. They also had many stillborn.