Industrial Revolution, Karl Marx, and the Victorian Era

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1. Describe the working and living conditions encountered by men, women and children during the industrial revolution.

The proletariats were an essential aspect of the industrial revolution. It is typical to assume that workers of the industrial revolution would live a reasonable lifestyle due to their significance to the revolution itself. Ironically enough, their lifestyles were not of luxury or satisfaction. During this era, three conditions suppressed and almost hovered over the lifestyles of workers of all ages: industrial workers lived in unsanitary environments, women were vulnerable to harsh labor because of reasons including the convenience of their small hands all the way down to no distinction between gender roles, and children were exposed to inhumane standards, morals, and beliefs.
As stated earlier, the working class lived in what would be classified today as unacceptable and definitely unsanitary housing and surroundings. Most of the industrial workers resided in rural neighborhoods that were cramped and overcrowded with astonishingly inefficient sewage methods. Because of the crowded housing, there were multiple harmful airborne entities spreading among townspeople. To justify this statement observe Chadwick’s report, where he also says the diseases were caused by “atmospheric impurities produced by decomposing animal and vegetable substances, by damp and filth, and close and overcrowded dwellings” (Chadwick par 1). In fact, there were two major diseases that prevailed in the housing district. One of those diseases being cholera; the source of the cholera outbreak originated within contaminated water. This infection of the small intestine usually caused its victim a great deal of intestinal pain and a large amount of diarrhea. Following this further, in another primary source, one traveler mentioned in his writing that he discovered “opaque brown fluid” and “feculence rolled up in clouds” by a bridge (Faraday Par 1). The second prevalent disease within the towns was tuberculosis. The disease tuberculosis is spread through the air by a person’s cough. The lung infection can be carried for long periods of time and may even remain dormant for some time. It goes without saying that tuberculosis found an advantageous mode of transportation throughout the crowded cities. The housing district and the labor factories were ideal habitation for the tuberculosis bacteria. In general, the housing district itself was harmful to the health of its inhabitants. Luckily, observations yielded the conclusion that changes must be made in order to significantly lessen the filth and length the life spans of the laboring class. A plan was implemented “for the prevention of the disease occasioned by defective ventilation and other causes of impurity in places of work and other places where large numbers are assembled, and for the general promotion of the means necessary to prevent disease, that it would be good economy to appoint a district medical officer independent of private practice, and with the securities of special qualifications and responsibilities to initiate sanitary measures and reclaim the execution of the law (Chadwick’s Report on Sanitary Conditions)”.

Women, as well as young girls, faced depressing labor experiences within in the mines. Surprisingly, there was a lack of gender role specification during this time. The underground employment distributed job tasks without the incline of gender differentiation. Betty Harris recollects that she is acquainted with “a woman who has gone home and washed herself, taken to her bed, delivered of a child, and gone to work again under the week.” There clearly is no sensitivity or sympathy in the idea that rest should be the ultimate follow up to childbirth or in the idea of motherhood in general. At age 37, Harris speaks of being weak and fatigued to the point that she falls asleep upon arriving home...
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