Industrial Revolution A report concerning critical thinking and the Industrial Revolution. The 18th century brought about many changes to European countries. Advancements in science, technology and engineering brought about an improvement in living conditions to the widespread area. The improved living conditions induced an increase of population by the millions. From 1750-1800, the English population grew from 6 to 9 million and the French population grew from 19 to an enormous increase of 26 million.
Stricter sanitation came about decreasing the amount of disease drastically. Food became cheaper because of increased purchases. Items that once considered luxuries became necessities. Sugar, chocolate, coffee, tea, and furs changed into household items instead of extravagances only the very wealthy could afford. Even the poor were able to afford new vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, and cotton and linen clothing.
The increase in population also brought about the demanding for the increase of goods. In order to meet the needs of the countries, vendors, store owners and merchants were forced into large scale production of their merchandise. The creation of factories came about by retailers struggling to meet the requirements of the masses surrounding them. The formation of power driven machinery was launched in order to compete with others. The machinery turned out products by the thousands or even millions depending on the needs of the country. The first factories were relatively small in scale, but there were also large employers who had a few thousand.
The factory system destroyed the great majority of old hand trades because the desire for hand crafted materials was decreased due to the expense and the slow creation process. Some farmers abandoned their farming because of the changing conditions and began working at factories for low wages. The Industrial Revolution brought about a new way of distributing goods. It made production quicker, more efficient and cost effective. All people thought the advancements made created a better environment surrounding them, but the workers in the factories were frequently plagued by ailments received while working in dangerous conditions that came with the job. People may say that the Industrial Revolution was a great time in history where living conditions of all were better, but in actuality many became unhealthy because of unpleasant working conditions.
In effect, the Revolution did more harm then it did help. School children were taught that they were to keep busy in their work because of the consequences facing them in the lines of a simple school hymn which say, In works of labour or of skill I would be busy too; For Satan finds some mischief for idle hands to do. (Isaac Watts, Divine and Moral Songs for Children 1869) This document very reliable not only because an author and date are provided, but because it is probably wide known throughout England since it is a hymn taught to the children of the middle class. Workers during the Industrial Revolution often felt overworked because of the long, stressful hours placed upon them by their employers. A Manchester spinner explains that they are locked up in factories eight stories high, (the worker) has no relaxation till the ponderous engine stops, and then they go home to get refreshed for the next day; no time for sweet association with their families; they are all alike fatigued and exhausted. (Black Dwarf, 1818) This document highlights good points surrounding the overworking of the workers, but since there is no name, the reliability of the document is decreased greatly. There was a great deal of back breaking work that workers were forced to do during continuous and strenuous hours. This did not happen during the whole period of industrialization, but began when the introduction of machines such as the steam engine explains the spinner.
They say that when steam engines were incorporated, workmen lost their power over their labor implying that they needed now to keep up with the machines pace instead of their own. Not only did factory workers feel overworked, many other occupations felt the strain put on them by their unending hours. A miner in Germany also explains my forehead burns like fire.. when it becomes unbearable I stop my slow, energyless working. This document is highly unreliable because it lacks a citation of where it is from.
It also lacks a specific date. We were given the timing of this excerpt to a vague time of early in the twentieth century. Both documents display the objection to the long hours put in by workers , but they do have a reason to distort information in order to get others to sympathize with them. Some professional people also agreed that the ceaseless toiling was unhealthy for the workers. A doctors report on Manchester textile workers declares that prolonged and exhausting labour, continued from day to day, and from year to year, is not calculated to develop the intellectual or moral faculties of man..
to condemn man to such severity of toil is, in some measure, to cultivate him in the habits of an animal. (The Moral and Physical Conditions of the Working Classes Employed in Cotton Manufacture in Manchester, 1832) Since this document includes a full citation including the author, the publication, and a date, it can be considered a reliable source. There is little reason for a doctor to distort the information because his position looks out for the wellness of man. If we had known more about the social life of the doctor we may find that he may have acquaintances in the industry giving him great reason to distort if he wanted to help his friends in the factory system. This can work both ways because the doctor could have friends that worked the long hours in the factories and he didnt enjoy their abuse. Owners and those employing the workers have a totally different view on the treatment of the employees. For example, the owner of a textile factory in Lille, France feels that it is simply false to equate the hours of work in our factories with arduous work.
(From Archives Nationales de France, 1837) He also says his workers put in ninety hours a week, but he is lucky to get seventy-two hours of work from them. The owners and manufacturers have presumed that all their workers were lazy without really thinking about how their workers felt about the prolonged hours that they labor. They have expressed that workers do not really care for what they are doing by explaining they show little concern for maintaining their skill or productivity, for they believe they are pushed to produce more than men ought to produce in any event. (Collected Sources on the History of the Social Management– Worker Agreements in Industry in the Ruhr Area, 1888) This excerpt is from a management report created by a Ruhr coal mining company. This document could be considered highly reliable because it is a publicized source with a name and date, but since there is reason for the management to distort evidence to get others on their side of thinking that all the workers are lazy. During this time period child labor was very prevalent because factory owners knew that children as workers could be paid much less than an adult.
Children in orphanages were often hired and forced to work for hours much longer than any child should be able to bear. Some children were chained to their machinery so they did not run off, and usually they were looked in rooms at night so they were unable to escape the harshness of their work life. They were all tired and lacked the ability to participate in recreational activities or be in the company of their families. One child laborer in a British textile mill said in a recollection I shall never forget the fatigue often felt before the day ended, and all the anxiety of us all to be relieved from the unvarying and irksome toil we had gone through before we could obtain relief by such play and amusement as restorted to when liberated from our work. (The Curse of the Factory System, 1836) This document could be consider quite unreliable because it is a recollection of what happened many years before the account was taken. Recollections occur when the author recalls events that have taken place many years beforehand.
The differences in the time of the occurrence and the time of the account often arises in information that has been forgotten or modified because the author cant quite remember all the facts correctly. There is a name and date to supplement the citation of the source making this to be a highly reliable document had it been accounted for years before it was. A textile manufacturer said they had never seen a child in ill-humour. They seemed to be always cheerful and alert, taking pleasure in the light of play of their muscles-enjoying the mobility natural to their age. (Philosophy of Manufactures, 1835) This document is reliable because it includes the name of the author, date and title of the source, but there is reason for the manufacturer to distort because they want to convey a feeling of the childrens enjoyment of the long hours in the crowded and dark places.
During the years of the Industrial Revolution, the advancements made were thought to be great feats that only bettered the Europeans way of life. Reality proves, though, that the advancements often came with consequences. A factory workers general well-being was challenged by the long hours worked in conditions confirmed to be hazardous to ones health. At the time, all was good, but years later the effects of the toils are still felt in todays society. A Document Based Essay Question: Compare middle class and working class attitudes and its effects on the worker in nineteenth-century Western Europe. Did any attitudes cross social class lines? Jen Guy June 3.
1997 Modern World Bibliography 1. Ford, Colin. and Brian Harrison. A Hundred Years Ago. Great Britain: Harvard University Press, 1983. 2. Langer, William.
A Survey of European Civilization. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1958. 3. Mingay, G. E. The Transformation of Britain. England: Broadway House, 1986.