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


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 machine’s 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