The Social Effects of Industrialization

The Industrial revolution began during the 1700s in Great Britain. This was mainly due to the large textile production during this time. The grow in textile production was because of the increase in the demand in the wool and cotton industries. New machines were made to help control these demands. But, because the new machines couldn’t fit within the homes of the people like previous times this led to the beginning of Textile mills. But as these mills became more involved and advanced the lives of the workers became harder and much less safe in the working environment.

Great Britain was the ideal situation to begin the Industrial Revolution because it received raw materials from the colonies, commerce was encouraged because of political stability, and their shipping was defended and protected by the world’s most powerful navy. Due to all of this, the government supported business, agriculture, and other factors the contributed to production. Plus, during this time in history there was a substantial increase in the population of Europe as well. The first factories were powered by water mills but eventually these were replaced with steam engines that were improved by James Watt in 1763.

After this improvement there were other inventions that were made as well. The cotton gin, invented by Eli Whitney, removed the seeds from the cotton. The spinning jenny, invented by James Hargreaves, allowed weavers to spin the threads more quickly. Lastly, the Flying Shuttle, invented by John Kay, allowed the weavers to push thread back and forth on the six foot wide loom much faster than was previously possible. After the start of factories began, life in society changed immensely.

Farmers started leaving to work for more profitable jobs in the factories and most of the time, owners would provide housing but the families were usually overcrowded in the small living areas. Pollution was crazy because there weren’t any environmental standards like there are today. Most of the factories had very few toilets and trash was left on the streets. Over time, factory jobs became known as “woman’s work”. The reason being because most factories hired women and children over men because they could pay them less for the same amount, or more, work.

Children were small, so they were used to make repairs and adjustments to the machine parts as well as crawl through small tunnels to get more coal. But working conditions were poor and hazardous to the people. Many were injured or killed because of unsafe working conditions. Finally unions were made to try and help better the work environment for the employees. One of the men who helped make a huge difference during this time was Lewis Hine. Lewis Hine took pictures of the work conditions and the workers themselves to provide evidence for cases to help create laws to make things better.

After a short time, with the help of Hine’s photographs they were successful in betting the working environment for the people and those laws actually still influence the work environment to this very day. So the Industrial Revolution effected many people and created many inventions for many things that help to make the base of what led to many of today’s inventions but it also led to many new laws that help to influence their time as well as still influences our time to help keep people safe.

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