The lives of large sections of the population of Great Britain underwent social impact of the industrial revolution pdf changes during the industrial revolution. Work became more regimented and disciplined and began to take place outside the home.
A movement of the population to the cities from the countryside produced dramatic changes in lifestyle. The Industrial belt of Britain stretched from the Scottish lowlands to the valleys of southern Wales. The establishment of major factory centers helped develop networks of canals, roads, and railroads. This is where the proletariat class was born. The Industrial Revolution helped create opportunities for employment for all members of the family. However, any improvement to the quality of life for the laboring class had come from a hard and bitter experience from factory labor.
It is generally agreed that the impact of the industrial revolution was negative for children. In the industrial districts, children tended to enter the workforce at younger ages. Many of the new factory owners preferred to employ children as they viewed them more docile tractable than adults. Although most families channeled their children’s earnings into providing a better diet for them, the physical toll of working in the factories was very great and led to detrimental outcomes for children. Children were preferred workers in textile mills because they worked for lower wages. Child laborers tended to be orphans, children of widows, or from the poorest families. Children were needed for low pay, and nimble fingers.
Child labor was not an invention of the industrial revolution, they were first exploited by their parents on the farm. Now for the first time in history children were an important factor of an economic system, but at a terrible price. Children were required to work under machines all day, in tight areas to clean and oil. Young children were worked to near exhaustion, to where they would fall asleep over machines. If they were caught sleeping or showed up to work late, they were beaten and tortured by their supervisors. Cruelty and torture was enacted on children by master-manufacturers to maintain high output or to keep them awake.
The children’s bodies become crooked and deformed from the work in the mills and factories. Their bodies and bones became so weak that they couldn’t hold themselves up, and their backs permanently hunched. They would start working at the age of 4 or 5, both boys and girls. A large proportion of children working in the mines were under 13 and a larger proportion from ages of 13-18.
Mines were not built for stability, rather, they were small and low and children were needed to crawl through them. The conditions in the mines were not remotely safe, children would often have limbs crippled, and bodies distorted or be killed. Children could get lost within the mines for days at a time. The air in the mines was injuring to breathe and often cause painful and fatal diseases. The impact of the industrial revolution on adults is more complex and has been the subject of extensive debate amongst historians for the past one hundred years. Optimists have argued that industrialisation brought higher wages and better living standards to most people. Pessimists have argued that these gains have been over-exaggerated.
They argue that wages did not rise significantly during this period, and furthermore, that whatever economic gains were actually made – these must be offset against the worsening health and housing of the new urban sectors. Since the 1990s, many contributions to the standard of living debate has tilted towards the pessimist interpretation. Most of the work has been within the economic history framework. There have been attempts to measure variables such as real wages, mortality, and heights. More recently the historian Emma Griffin has marked a departure from this approach by using a large number of working-class autobiographies to consider how working people themselves conceived of these changes.
She has argued that some working men did see improvements in their lives at this time, through higher wages and a greater degree of autonomy and self-determination. The traditional marriage of the laboring class during the Georgian society, women would marry men of the same social status. Example, a shoemaker’s daughter would marry a shoemaker’s son. And marriage outside this norm was not common. Marriage during the Industrial Revolution shifted from this tradition to a more sociable union between wife and husband in the laboring class. Women and men tended to marry someone from the same job, geographical location or from the same social group.
But throughout the Industrial Revolution miners were the exception of this new trend. A coal miner’s daughter would marry a coal miner’s son. The traditional work sphere was dictated by the father, and he controlled the pace of work for his family. However, factories and mills undermined the old patriarchal authority. Factories put husbands, wives and child under the same conditions and authority of the manufacturer masters. The norm for women in the latter half of the Industrial Revolution, who worked in the factories or mills tended not to have children or already had children that were grown up.