The Industrial Revolution had many effects on the world that have helped us pave the way for technology today; these effects are split into three main groups, economic effects, social effects, and political effects. There were many positive economic effects that came out of the Industrial Revolution.
New inventions and development of factories spurred trade and industry in many ways including the rapid construction of new products, and the access to quicker transportation. Some of these new inventions included the cotton gin, the sewing machine, and the steam engine. These new inventions and developments caused increase in production and a higher demand for raw materials, which was a positive effect on the economy.
Because of this economic boom, many more opportunities were available and society became more advanced. This revolution allowed much improvement in transportation including both land and water (Sea.Ca, 2003). Water transportation improved with the invention of the steam engine by James Watt in 1765. The steam engine allowed the captain to control the direction of the boat instead of relying on the wind. Eventually a system of waterways, channels and canals were constructed allowing swift water transportation.
To allow for land travel to flourish as much as water, new roads were built, upgraded and operated. Inspired by Watt’s steam engine, Richard Trevithick built a steam-driven locomotive. Soon, the countries of Europe built railroad lines. The railroads affected the industrial revolution by allowing manufacturers to transport materials more efficiently and cheaply. The railroads additionally made travelling easier, offering the people the opportunity to take distant city jobs (Beck, Black, Kriger, Naylor, & Shabaka, 2007).
Though the Industrial Revolution had many positive economic effects, it had many negative economic effects as well, including expanding the labor force and a decrease in work ethics. Expanding the labor force had a negative impact because it forced children into working as well as teens and women (Beck, Black, Kriger, Naylor, & Shabaka, 2007). With women and children now working, the literacy and learning rates dropped because they had no time to learn.
Decrease in work ethics also had a poor effect on the industrial revolution, because the harsh environment decreased the ability for the employees to work to their best extent. The children and women that worked in the factories were often abused, and forced into harsh working conditions causing many unnecessary injuries and deaths. The laissez faire is an economic policy allowing for owners of the industry and business to set the working conditions as they wish without interference. This influenced the harsh conditions and kept the overseers in power over the lower class.
This philosophy forced the government not to interfere with business therefore; working conditions were excruciating and unpleasant (Beck, Black, Kriger, Naylor, & Shabaka, 2007). A lot of these economic effects impacted the social life of the people. “Industrialization drew thousands of people to the urban areas in search of employment. (Fitzgerald, 2000)” This caused the middle class to expand, become more structured and as wealthy as some landowners and nobles creating a wider gap between the middle and lower classes.
Their wealth allowed them to hold most of the political and social power, and maintain a pleasant standard of living (Fitzgerald, 2000). Some positive effects of the people’s social life had a negative impact on the people in the long run such as the increase in population and the new roles of women and children. The increase in population overwhelmed the city because the rise of urbanization, or the movement of people into cities, caused many problems in the quality of the living for the working class. “The lack of planning meant that there was no sewage, running water, or sanitation system” (Eben_cooke, 2008).
For the lower class people, the city had an absence of housing, education, and protection for the all the people coming from the countryside to seek jobs (Beck, Black, Kriger, Naylor, & Shabaka, 2007). They lived on dark, unpaved streets with no drains, garbage collected on the sides of the streets, and in dirty shelters with one room for the whole family. Elizabeth Gaskell, a British writer, wrote in her novel, “You went down one step even from the foul area into the cellar in which a family of human beings lived. It was very dark inside.
The window-panes many of them were broken and stuffed with rags . . . . the smell was so fetid (foul) as almost to knock the two men down. . . . they began to penetrate the thick darkness of the place, and to see three or four little children rolling on the damp, nay wet brick floor, through which the stagnant, filthy moisture of the street oozed up. (Beck, Black, Kriger, Naylor, & Shabaka, 2007)”
The new roles of women and children caused a drop in literacy rate, because they were working all the time instead of learning. Young children now joined their parents in the factories mostly because there families needed the income. . “…They could be paid very little, and children could be controlled more easily than adults, generally through violent beatings. (Sea.Ca, 2003)”
The children and women put up with poor working conditions in the factories so they could maintain a decent standard of living (Eben_cooke, 2008). There are many positive and negative political effects, like the rise of socialism and trade unions forming. The structured social classes called for reformers to urge a distribution of wealth so that all would be equal, this was called socialism.
Socialism was in contrast to the laissez faire policy, believing the government should interfere with industry to help improve people’s wages and working conditions (Beck, Black, Kriger, Naylor, & Shabaka, 2007). Socialism inspired trade unions to form because the working class was tired of being treated poorly. Workers then joined together in voluntary labor associations. “They bargained for better working conditions, and higher pay.
If the factory owners refused these demands, union members could strike, or refuse to work. (Beck, Black, Kriger, Naylor, & Shabaka, 2007)” Many negative political effects of the industrial revolution revolved around disputes between socialism and capitalism. Capitalism opposed the idea of socialism and supported the harsh conditions and the laissez faire philosophy, thus creating conflict and chaos. Another negative effect of this revolution was the legislation and reform acts because the attempts at reform were weak and ineffective.
Child labor was limited, not abolished, and the factory Acts of 1833, 1842, and 1847 changed these limits a little but still supported the ideas of children and women working in the harsh conditions (Eben_cooke, 2008). In the long run, the industrial revolution advanced many industries and technologies, and inspired the businesses and corporations that we continued today. Though the industrial revolution had many positive and negative effects, without it we wouldn’t have as many advancements and machinery as we have nowadays.