Industrial revolution and impact on society

Early impacts

1. Working class:

  • Labour had no bargaining power, fourteen hours of working shifts, no paid vacation, children were also employed.
  • Excess supply of labour force (high population and enclosure movement) brought the unprecedented unemployment.
  • No voting power was given to labour class (only rich could vote).
  • Combination Acts (1799, 1800) were passed that made it illegal for workers to unionize, or combine, as a group to ask for better working conditions.
  • Machines replaced the manual labour and their skills went futile.

2. Women:

  • Although women were provided new avenues of employment in the urban centre, they were exploited in the factories in the similar manner as were the men. They were paid less wages than men. This impacted the caring of children back home.
  • New class of women came to being; Factory Girls.

3. Children:

  • Child labour at factories became a new normal. This rise in child labour was based on the necessity to support the rising population and meet the urban lifestyle expenses.
  • There was no element of education to the poor children in urban areas. Only riches had access to the education system that to in limited disciplines.

4. Other sectors:

  • Emergence of two new classes (Marxist) – proletariat or wage earners and bourgeoisie (Capitalist and middle class).
  • Rise of urbanisation across the Europe.

Later Impacts

Improvement in social structure

  • Gradually, a middle class emerged in the industrial cities. They filled the requirement of ‘white collar’ jobs in the cities. Due to their consistent rise in the society, they began living good standard of lifestyle, education among middle class children began to grow, life expectancy increased and infant mortality began decreasing and population stabilisation was gradually achieved.
  • Emergence of new ideologies such as Socialism, Marxism and Communism.
  • Chartism: it was a working-class movement for political reform (political liberty) in the United Kingdom that erupted from 1838 to 1857.
  • Birth of Romanticism: as a reaction to the Industrial revolution. It was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century.
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