Eagle Times Bulletin

  • 2017-2018 School year begins Monday, August 28, 2017

Industrial Revolution: Changing Western Culture

Taylor Peters, Writer

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The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain in the 18th century and lasted well into the 19th. Throughout this period, rural societies across Europe and the United States industrialized their homes and workforce, marking the shift from hand tools and basic machinery to powered specialized machines, factories, and mass production.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, society progressed slowly. People of this time manufactured goods by hand or simplistic household machines. For commoners, social life and work typically mixed, as people lived on small plots of land, growing crops for personal consumption. Children of all ages learned to milk cows, raise and care for animals, churn butter, and for generations, rural families relied on basic tools that remained the same for centuries.

In the late 18th century, Sir Richard Arkwright developed the spinning machine, leading directly to the rise of the industrial age. Following this event, several inventions such as James Watt’s steam engine, James Hargreaves’ spinning jenny, and Eli Whitney’s cotton gin altered life during this period. Although these inventions made mass production significantly easier, still working conditions worsened the lives of over a million workers.

As owners built factories, businesses desperately needed workers. With several willing to do the job, employers set the pay unbelievably low and supplied horrific working conditions. At this time, children as young as six years old worked jobs in factories and coal mines with no protective gear. Young kids worked up to 19 hours in a day and both adult men and women worked in the same conditions earning a paltry amount of money.

Overall, the industrial revolution greatly improved the ability to mass produce, but supplied workers with life threatening conditions. However, due to this, many societies have developed safer working conditions with the help of labor laws.

The Industrial Revolution–another step in humanity’s march forward.

 

 

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