Industrial Revolution

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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The Industrial Revolution was a period of transition in European history in which life evolved from agricultural farms to urban cities. This era was characterized by the replacement of hand production by machine manufacturing, therefore instilling a means of labor concentrated in factories rather than the farms. Inventions such as the fly shuttle, spinning jenny, cotton gin, and most importantly, the steam engine, forever changed industry. Many economic and social changes also resulted, thus altering the way of life for many. There was an emergence of a commercial middle class and a proletariat working class was also formed. This development of a factory system slowly began to instill a new work ethic among the people. Employers now ignored the integrity of their workers, and hired them simply to run machines. Andrew Ure took on the advocate role of the Industrial Revolution. In one of his best works, The Philosophy of Manufactures, he describes how the children during this time were better off working as he defended the factory conditions.

The factory workers represented a class of people who were dependent upon their job as their sole source of income. There were many horror stories describing these appalling working conditions. Also, their basic human rights and dignity were cruelly exploited among the unsanitary and dangerous working conditions forced upon them. In a document by Michael Sadler he interviews children to show the unsanitary and dangerous conditions. In one interview he asks about the dust in which an eight-year-old boy worked in and the boy said, "-A flax mill is very dusty indeed. Was not your food therefore frequently spoiled?- Yes, at times with the dust; sometimes we could not eat it, when it had got a lot of dust on. (150)." Andrew Ure, on the other hand, strongly refutes...

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