Abstract This paper will describe The Industrial Revolution. I will discuss at least two (2) developments of industrialization that positively affected American lives or the United States and two (2) developments of industrialization that negatively affected American lives or the United States in general. Furthermore, I will give an analysis of whether or not industrialization was generally beneficial or detrimental to the lives of Americans and the history of the United States. All findings will be supported by facts and references.
The Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution I think was an unique time to be alive, some people would argue the World would not be where we are today without this time period. The biggest advances in manufacturing, mining, technology, transportation and agriculture led to changes in the way the world produced its goods. The Industrial Revolution begun in the United Kingdom then eventually spreading to the United States and ultimately the entire world.
Positive Developments in Industrialization There were many developments in the industrialization era, some good some not so good. I would like to start with the development of the industrial systems. Industrial systems can be categorized as arrangements or processes (Davidson, D & McGraw-Hill 2011) such as “extraction, production, transportation, distribution or finance- organized to make the whole industrial order function smoothly.”(Davidson, D & McGraw-Hill p. 511).
With these fundamentals in place a new age of industry took place. An efficient transportation system was needed in order to tie the United States into an emerging international economy. (Davidson, D & McGraw-Hill). Railroads and steam-powered ships were the way of life by the 1870s, railroads zigzagged across the United States and steam powered ships sailed the open seas with passengers and freight. Once these two transportation systems fused, the time of “transatlantic travel was cut in half, to about 10 days.”( Davidson, D & McGraw-Hill p.513).
Communication was also a vast commodity and much needed by the industry. In the early years newspapers could take several days to weeks before reaching their destination. The first message ever sent over an electrical wire between cities was in 1844 by Samuel Morse. By 1861 this breakthrough led to effective communication carried through miles of telegraph lines across the country. (Davidson, D & McGraw-Hill). Ultimately Alexander Graham Bell, a Scottish immigrant, developed the telephone that would modernized offices and ease business transactions. As you can see there were so many new technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution time period.
Negative Developments in Industrialization With the great leaps in technology came a price. Socioeconomics and the cultural situation of the people started a downfall that is still felt today. (Davidson, D & McGraw-Hill 2011).
Growths of cities were one of the major consequences of the Industrial Revolution, as people looked for work they were driven off the farms and into the cities. As cities grew around factories population exploded, and the lack of planning meant there was no sewage, running water or sanitation system people lived in very “hellish” type conditions. (Davidson, D & McGraw-Hill p.519) Also, with the new industrial age, a new quantitative and materialistic view of the world took place.
(Harrison 2011 pg. 3). This caused the need for people to consume as much as they could. Did this affect the working life in factories? I believe it did, factory work was difficult and dangerous at that time typical shifts lasted 12 to 16 hours. I believe this can still be seen today around the world, living on small wages can lead to small children having to work in factories for long days. However, some good did come out of that with the development of Child Labor Laws and Worker Unions. Outcome So what was the final outcome of the Industrial Revolution? Was it beneficial or detrimental to the lives of Americans and the United States? I would say, by the research I have conducted, the Industrial Revolution was overall a good revolution for America but a bad revolution for the planet. The technological advances we made as a human race during that time has never been seen before, that helped shape the world as we know it.
I think the real loser in this was our planet. With the expansion of factories and industry carbon dioxide increased in the atmosphere. (Foley, Jonathan 2011). Also, as we consume more and more our natural recourses are being depleted at an alarming rate. In addition, we can trace pollution of nuclear waste, pesticides and other chemicals as a result of the Industrial Revolution. (Foley, Jonathan).
References Davidson, D & McGraw-Hill (2011) Experience History Interpreting America’s Past (7th ed.). New York. Harrison (2011) The Industrial Revolution retrieved from http://library.thinkquest.org/4132/info.htm AIUO library: Books and articles: Foley, Jonathan. (2011) Scientific American Vol. 302 Issue 4
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