Did the Industrial Revolution Affect Society, Politics and the Economy?
The industrial revolution affected society by turning an agricultural, or agrarian, society into a consumer-based industrial society. It brought more workers into the workforce and new laws were created regarding worker safety and rights.
The industrial revolution started in England in the middle of the 18th century before gradually swinging into full effect and changing the lifestyle of the world, including in America. In the early stages of the revolution, the outwork system was used. This meant specialized parts of the work were sent out to worker’s homes for completion before moving on through the production process at another location.
The factory system then evolved. Under the factory system, each of the specialized parts of production were performed at one location. This helped to streamline production but affected the family unit and social standards of the day. A businessman named Samuel Slater started the industrial revolution in the United States when he used British technology in opening his industrial mill, as noted by U.S. History. Slater’s mill quickly spun cotton thread into yarn.
How the Industrial Revolution Affected Society The industrial revolution had a major effect on society by creating social class division. The working class emerged as the majority of the population when people joined the workforce. The familial social units that made up society as it was known changed as women left home and entered the workforce. Children also went to work in industrial settings. This left children without access to education. A certain level fear of became part of the lifestyle for workers. The fear was the result of feeling workers would be replaced and lose income if they tried to get better incomes or working conditions through striking. The low wages also left workers spending long hours at work just to survive, thereby diminishing their quality of life.
How the Industrial Revolution Affected Politics The industrial revolution changed the political scene in America by creating the need for new laws to protect workers. Early in the industrial revolution, people struggled to earn a fair wage in the competitive job market under the rule of the industrial founders. Young girls were often hired over male workers because they worked cheaper. Working conditions were often unsafe, with no repercussions to the companies.
State governments also got involved in pushing banks to fund industrial enterprises and in building an infrastructure that supported moving goods from place to place. This led to the development of improved canals, roads and railroads, as mentioned by Lumen Learning. Political intervention was eventually needed to create laws to protect children, workers in dangerous conditions and workers trying to negotiate better working conditions and pay.
How the Industrial Revolution Changed the Economy The economy changed to an industrial- and market-based model during the industrial revolution because the market became flooded with mass-produced merchandise. The people working had more disposable income to spend, compared to when they worked in an agrarian setting. People moved into cities to take advantage of available jobs. The lack of adequate septic systems in cities led to outbreaks of cholera and other diseases, increasing the need to for medical care.