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Social Effects Of The Industrial Revolution

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Industrial means using machines to produce. Revolution means changing things upside down. (Hepplewhite and Campbell,2002) The Industrial Revolution brought about the systems of production and the production way had changed from home-based hand manufacturing to large-scale factory. It was took place in England in the late 18th century. It is a production and technological revolution. The invention of machinery and application as a symbol of this era. The great turning points in human history may be the British Industrial Revolution (Holmes, 2000). The technological change the kinds of different creation of new knowledge (Mokyr, 1999). In the eighteenth century people who lived in Britain earning by work on the land. The conditions of life and labour had changed in small difference of configuration, sub-soil and climate. Some earlier inventions failed because of incomplete ideas, other better materials were not to hand because of lack of skill on workers (Ashton, 1961). In the middle of the 18th century, the British bourgeois revolutionaries overthrew the British feudal autocracy. The constitutional monarchy system was established. The Britain became the first country which the bourgeoisie dominated the nation in the world. As a result, the prerequisite of Industrial Revolution was promoted during this time. This report will describe the causes of the Industrial Revolution and effects on social life during the Industrial Revolution. It will be divided into three parts. Firstly, analysis the cause of the Industrial Revolution. Secondly, outline the effects of Industrial Revolution on social. Thirdly, the inventions during the Industrial Revolution will be evaluated.

2. Analysis the Cause of Industrial Revolution

The population increased in the 18th century (Oakland, 2006). The people had to look for more food and goods. The agricultural economy had changed into industrial country. People had to find new ways to increase production. Therefore, the people who came from the countries were looking for the jobs in city factories. Some of the villages fields had became into the manufacturing centres (Oakland, 2006).

The new inventions

New machines were invented during that time. The production of farms and factories ways had changed. So the production was increased more quickly than before (Hepplewhite and Campbell, 2002). For example, the spinning jenny which was invented by James Hargreaves could spin 120 threads at one time (Hepplewhite and Campbell, 2002). And James Watt invented the steam engine using it to create new form of powering. The new inventions changed the production ways and many inventions from this period are still used in modern society.

The colonies overseas and labour

The overseas colonies were set up by the Europeans and the cheap labour could get easily from the colonies. This increased the speed of the production and they could sell more goods. They could also get cheaper raw materials from the colonies to produce cheaper goods (Mokyr, 1999). Many factory workers were children. The supervisors were treated them badly and they had to worked for long time everyday. The children were young and they had earned few pence to afford food. The labour had suffered the worse living condition during that time.

The capitalists expand their business

In order to earn much money, the capitalists had to expand their business and produce more goods. They needed to find a quicker way to produce more goods. The capitalists who played important roles and helped the Industrial Revolution grow speedy. They became one of the most powerful forces in Britain, squeezing more surplus value out of the labour (Yale, 2010).

The feudalism and monopoly were ended

The Europe feudalism and the monopoly of the upper classes were ended. People could have opportunity to involving in more trades. The reason why they need of goods increased was that they had to earn much money and more goods. They wanted the factories to produce goods faster so that they could get more goods.( Mokyr, 1999)

3. The Industrial Revolution Effects on the Social


3.1.1 The capitalism

The capitalism possibly was grown by the technology change (Science Encyclopaedia, 2010). Before the Industrial Revolution, the people who lived in Britain might suffer from the worse quality of living conditions. The industrialist affected the decline of the traditional handicraft. Some scientists had come up with mind and invented several new productions. Owing to the new inventions, the facilities of production were improved. The factories used the latest facilities to produce and benefited from the technology changed. The system of manufacturing promoted the capitalism built up during the Industrial Revolution (Freeman, 2010).

3.1.2 Social structure

The nation's social structure was changed during the revolution (Science Encyclopaedia, 2010). Before the Revolution the majority of the people lived in small villages, working in agriculture or workshops. Their hands were treated as working tools in that time. In fact, about three quarters of Britain's population lived in the countryside, and the predominant occupation was farming (Foster, 1979).However, during the industrial revolution there were many people worked at the new factories. These have to move to towns and cities in order to be close to their new jobs. It also meant that they worked for a long time but got the less money from the industrialists. As the 75% of early workers were women and children, they had to send out to work (Stearns, 1991). Most classes ultimately benefited from the huge proceeds that were being made, and most workers were got better wages by 1820.

3.1.3 The new mode of production and technology

The advanced mode of production and technology had spread all over the world, the old system and ideas were impacted. Factory owners controlled the means of production rapidly became rich. The new technologies inspired the economic growth. As a result, the goods produced and a demand for raw materials which through Europe increased during the 19th century (Haberman). Some of these European countries led nations to look for colonies abroad in which to trade and produce goods. Many of these countries around the world accepted the industrial ideas, the new mode of production and technology were used gradually in the rest of the world.


3.2.1 Pollution

With the development of the industrialization and urbanization, both of the developed and the developing countries started to exploit the natural resources. For example, in the energy field, the coal, oil and gas are both to support the factories and run their transport system. The coal as the main source of energy in the factories at the time used. In order to run the machines, the workers should make the coal burnt to heat the water which could power the steam engines. Large amounts of carbon particles were released into the atmosphere (Oracle). Water pollution was another prime problem during the time of the revolution. The factories dumped the toxic industrial refuse into the rivers thereby contaminating the water system. The industrial revolution had been beneficial to the economy, raising standards of life style and producing new goods. But it had also brought about some problems in the ecological system of earth (Oracle).

3.2.2 Overpopulation

Population, its growth, stability or decline, and its relationship to economic growth (Hartwell, 1971). Because of the Industrial Revolution, many factories employed the labour to work and the people who lived in the countries wanted to move to the city for jobs.

Due to the Industrial Revolution, the population growth in eighteenth century and probably increased 75 per cent over the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Hartwell, 1971).

3.2.3 The poor sanitary condition

Approximately 50% of infants were died before the age of two during the early Industrial Revolution (Stearns, 1991). Their working hours were longer. The working hours usually from six in the morning until eight-thirty in the evening. A six-day week was not uncommon. Work places were often poorly ventilated, over-crowded, and replete with safety hazards. Men, women, and children were employed at survival wages in dangerous and unhealthy environments. The Miserable working condition and the different kinds of pollution affected the people’s health (Foster, 1979).

The Important Inventions during the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was created some significant scientific inventions which were led to the mechanization of the textile industry, improved railway networks and improvement of iron making techniques. There are some inventions still used in modern times (Holmes, 2000).

4.1 Spinning Jenny

James Hargreaves’ Spinning Jenny in 1766. The first machines could only spin 8 threads but were soon improved to spin 100 threads (Hepplewhite and Campbell, 2002). These machines were so small that working in the cottages and rapidly increased production. It is an important invention in the industrialization of the textile industry.

4.2 Water Frame

Richard Arkwright’s water frame was a successful inventor. The water frame was bought by owners all over Britain (Hepplewhite and Campbell, 2002). The Water frame was a large wheel and it was turned by running water. This was made the machinery work in factories. This invention led to the building of a number of factories and is regarded as the promotion of the Industrial Revolution’s development.

4.3 The Steam Engine

In spite of the first steam engine was developed over fifty years before the industrial revolution, the Industrial Revolution had made a massive impact on improvements and revisions. James Watt's development of the steam engine led to a great number of further developments. the new form of powering a machine could be used anywhere to create energy (Hepplewhite and Campbell, 2002).


To sum up, the Industrial Revolution was a real revolution. It had consolidated the dominant position of bourgeois. The Industrial Revolution changed the life of people and the way people lived for a long time. During the Industrial Revolution many people thought there were several negative effects but there were actually some positive effects in the Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, technology had spread all over the world and ideas had changed. Industrial Revolution was an outburst of new inventions in Britain and in other parts of the world. Many inventions from this period are still used today. During this time scientists and inventors changed the way humans thought, lived, and worked. It provided a better opportunity to express the opinions for someone who had new ideas. Because of the breakthroughs in science and manufacturing, a portion of society was able to grow healthier and wealthier. On the other hand, the new industrialization made the majority of society might pay the price. The successes of the technological changes were so profound internationally. So the Britain became the world's leading power, as a result of the Industrial Revolution, for more than a century. The Industrial Revolution has a historic significance in these hundreds years. The people who lived in the developed countries but also the developed countries are benefited from the revolution. It is a meaningful revolution for Britain but as well in all over the world.

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