What problems did the industrial working class face?
What were the costs and benefits of the Industrial Revolutions?
Urbanization – movement of people to cities.
Entrepreneurs made a lot of money.
Factory Workers lived in poverty and harsh conditions. Dangerous working conditions, unsafe, unsanitary and overcrowded housing.
Charles Dickens describes conditions.
Changes in farming and population growth caused people to migrate from farms to cities.
Misery festered in the overcrowded urban centers that sprang up around coal and iron mines and factories.
In 1750, Manchester was a market town with 17,000 people. Textile industry doubled the population in 30 years, and by 1801, there were 70,000 people living in a polluted city. The poor had no running water or sewage systems. Disease ran rampant.
The factory was the heart of the industrial city. Workers faced a rigid schedule with shifts of 12 to 16 hours. There were no safety devices protecting weary workers. Pollution like cola dust and lint destroyed health. Many workers lost fingers or limbs to the machines. There was no calling in sick, you were simply fired.
Women were preferred as workers because they were adaptable, easier to manage, and worked for less. Women were out of their hoes for 12+ hours a day. No one took care of their families. Family life was grim.
Children worked for even less and up to 12 hours a day. They were nimble, and worked in tight spaces. Because Children had always helped with farm work, their parents were used to the idea of child labor. Orphans worked for a little food and were beat when they did not work fast enough. Children were not attending school. Children as young as 5 years old worked in factories. Many suffered physically for their exposure to pollution and abuse. Many children died. The testimony of 17 year old Patience Kershaw helped alert British lawmakers and government commissions.
The working class developed a sense of community. People called Luddites protested losing their jobs to factory work smashed machines and burned factories. The Luddites were hanged and sent to prisons in Australia. Laws forbid labor unions and strikes.
People found comfort in a new religious movement that stressed a better life to come. Methodists helped channel worker’s anger. They focused on social reform.
Entrepreneurs, merchants, inventors and artisans benefited from the Industrial Revolution. Many people rose from “rags to riches.” A new affluent middle class lived in nice homes, dressed and ate well and encouraged their wives to engage in “ladylike” activities. This new middle class were against efforts to regulate factories, legalize labor unions, and no sympathy for the poor.
Industrial Revolution- blessing or curse?
Reformers pushed for laws to improve working conditions. Unions won the right to bargain with employers. Political parties sought solutions.
The industrial Revolution created many social problems and dismal living conditions. Demand for mass produced material goods grew. Factory jobs increased and wages rose. Railroads moved people and goods and opened horizons.
The increasing wealth of the nation [in an obvious reference to Adam Smith's work] has little or no tendency to better the conditions of the labouring poor. They have not, I believe, a greater command of the necessaries and conveniences of life, and a much greater proportion of them than at the period of the Revolution  is employed in manufactures and crowded together in close and unwholesome rooms."