Industiral Revolution Critique Essay

Essay Questions #1. What were the basic features of the new industrial system created by the Industrial Revolution, and what effects did the new system have on urban life, social classes, family life, and standards of living? Student Contribution #1: I. Basic features of new industrial system a. Organization of labor b. New work disciplines c. Skill specialization d. Transportation system and manufacturing technologies II. Effects of the features a. Urban life i. Encouraged urbanization ii. Built small towns close to urban factories b.
Social classes i. Created more hierarchy within society ii. Fostered creation of new social classes c. Family life i. Changed roles for women and children ii. Children worked in the factories rather than attend school or stay at home iii. Child workers often worked longer hours than the parents d. Standards of living i. Created higher quality goods quicker and less expensive ii. Led to lower quality of living e. Society i. Supported population growth 1. Reduced deaths to foreign wars 2. Increased emigration of other countries i. Created better public health policies The rise of industrial society in the West was linked to three historical events. 1) The Protestant Work Ethic which stated that heaven was the reward for working hard. Industrial societies required many people to work hard for little earthly reward, so it was cheaper for the industrialists to have people working for a heavenly reward. 2) The Scientific Revolution which led to advances in technology and development of machines to make industrial production possible, efficient, and profitable. ) Autocratic political systems and a strong sense of nationalism which gave countries the structure and motivation to produce goods and services for the glory of the king and the nation. There were other factors that supported industrialization. The Commercial Revolution resulted in the expansion of markets for the sale of manufactured goods. Increases in the population of urban manufacturing cities provided workers for the factories and consumers to purchase the manufactured goods. Banks and wealthy individuals provided investment capital to people to allow them to start businesses, further growing the economy.
Transportation systems made it easier to get raw materials to factories and allowed export of finished goods to consumers. The industrialization of the West had an impact on society in six ways. 1) Work sites shifted from farm to factory, requiring workers to move to the cities where the industrial jobs were located, and to learn new skills. 2) Populations grew due to better quality and quantity of food in the cities, fewer deaths as a result of fewer foreign wars, and the separation of sewer water from drinking water and other public health improvements. ) Urbanization was encouraged, which resulted in expanded public education and opportunities for upward social mobility. 4) New social classes were formed, namely the industrial middle class (factory owners) and the industrial working class (factory workers). 5) New economic theories developed. The old economic theory, mercantilism, measured the wealth of a nation by how much gold and silver it controlled. Three new economic theories tied wealth to productivity instead of owning gold. ) Classical economists believed in “laissez faire” policies in which the market was allowed to work unimpeded by outside forces, and that the “invisible hand” of the market would maximize economic growth and thus benefit everyone in society, the workers as well as the factory owners. This theory took hold at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, around the middle of the 18th century. b) Liberal economists were reformers whose theories gained popularity in the early part of the 19th century.

They were reformers who believed the workers were powerless and treated unfairly in the classical system. They supported labor unions to give workers more power, increased pay for workers, and women’s suffrage. c) Radical economists came later, in the mid- 1800s. They wanted to restructure society and distribute wealth evenly among the owners and the workers. Utopian Socialists held this view, and several utopian societies were established during this time. 6) New political theories developed. i) Christian Socialism promoted communal property and living as being based on Christian principles. i) Revolutionary Socialism advocated revolution of the masses against the wealthy as the only way to change society for the better. Revolutionary socialists believed that oppression of the masses by the few had characterized societies since the beginning of time. They wanted to reverse this and put the power in the hands of the people. iii) Anarchism was the most radical theory and promoted the abolition of all governments. Anarchists believed all governments were bad because they deprived people of freedom. Conflicts among the workers and factory owners were common during industrialization.
Workers were treated poorly and had no rights. They were forced to work long hours at low pay in order to maximize production and profit for the factory owners. Women and children often had to work longer hours for less pay and at more dangerous jobs than men. Living conditions for workers were crowded and unsanitary, and their quality of life was terrible. A small number of industrialists became very rich and powerful, while the large number of workers who actually produced the wealth were poor and miserable. Conditions for workers gradually improved during the Industrial Revolution.
Craft and industrial labor unions formed, uniting workers under a single leader who spoke with one voice for all of the workers as they fought for changes. Political clubs formed, where new ideas of how society should work were discussed. Neighborhood organizations called “Friendly Societies” provided care and support for neighbors who were sick or out of work. Occasionally, riots broke out, violent attacks on the industrial class by workers who felt they had no other way to change their lives. All of these actions helped to gradually make the industrial society better for the workers.

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