Industrial Revolution - Labor Conditions

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The Industrial Revolution – the Factory Worker vs. the Plantation Worker: A Discussion of the Labor Conditions

The Industrial Revolution was a period of great change in Europe and North America – a period where progress in agriculture, technology, transportation and more allowed the development of human civilization from the previous primarily agricultural based societies. This time period between the 18th to 19th century saw many developments such as canals, roads, steam power, combustion engine, as well as significant strides in manufacturing and factory work. Immense changes occurred in society: affecting daily life and causing significant societal impacts. The objective of this paper is to discuss the significant social effects that the Industrial Revolution (and industrialization, in general) – focusing on the working conditions and dynamic of plantations and factories. In this time period, it is evident that the employer, business owner, and middle class factory owner would benefit from the lower class, general laborer who would be unfairly compensated and be subject to poor conditions, creating a significant gap between the upper/middle and lower classes.

The period of the Industrial Revolution was not only a driving force in technology, but economics and society. Industrialization brought a new form of wealth and riches to the people who were able to capitalize on it; this largely being the middle class, and to a smaller extent, the upper class. New opportunities for jobs and employment came in the form of industrial settings such as factories and mills. These factories can be linked to development of modern cities, and resulted in large migration by people into the cities from the farmlands where they used to live. People became employed, but led hard lives, with long work hours and low wages (more of which will be discussed later) Conversely, it also widened the economic and social gap between the rich and the poor, leading to distinct classes....
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