Industrial Revolution Research Paper

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Aparna Sreekumar History 10 1 April 2011 THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS VS. SOCIAL IMPACTS The period of 1760 to 1851 was marked by huge advancements in the technological and industrial fronts of humankind and gave rise to the manufacturing powerhouses. Such growth is in effect a by-product of numerous influences and has a profound impact on the world we now know today (Soman). This era came to be known as the Industrial Revolution. It was marked by major changes in agricultural, manufacturing, and transportation sectors, which had a wide-ranging influence on the social, economic and cultural conditions in the world. There were a lot of technological innovations and these paved paths for various changes. “Technology…provides the direct means by which certain peoples have expanded their realms and conquered other peoples. That makes it the leading cause of history’s broadest patterns” (Diamond 241). This quote by Jared Diamond is noteworthy as technology was, and is, a stepping stone to the now-developed world. The Industrial Revolution had a great impact on the human’s rights and conditions and it also resulted in significant technological advancements, but it can be categorically stated that the technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution were paramount when compared to the revolution’s impact upon human rights and conditions. Agriculture was the main-stay for livelihood before the era of Industrial Revolution. Most of the people owned farmlands and workers were employed to work in the farms. Soon the land of the poorer farmers was enclosed as the landowners wanted to create larger fields that could be cultivated more efficiently. As millions of acres were enclosed, farm outputs and profits rose. As large fields needed fewer farmers, farm laborers were thrown out of work, and small farmers were forced off their land. Thus, villages shrank as cottagers left in search of work. These jobless workers migrated to towns and cities where they formed a growing labor force that would soon tend machines of the Industrial Revolution (Gaynor and Esler 248). This was an eye opener to the farmers as they became aware of the outside world and began understanding the operations of the machines which really helped them to do their work easily. It was due to the Industrial Revolution that many processes which were previously done manually became mechanized. The less educated started learning through their jobs by working on the machines and understanding the engineering aspects involved. Therefore, the job itself was a source of learning for the neo- educated farmers. As people got educated and acquired skills, they got more jobs easily and thus the technological advancements helped in encouragement of education which was really an important change. Employees were to be provided with education under the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act passed in 1802 (“Impact”). “After 1870 governments in western Europe and the United States began to pass laws making some form of education both universal-available to all children-and compulsory” (Cagniart et al. 530). As a result, the level of literacy increased rapidly as people understood the importance of education. As literacy rate improved, knowledge barrier was removed which paved the way for innovations in the industrial sector with improved designs in machineries. This in-turn reduced the manual work which led to a decrease in child labor. Before the massive changes of the Industrial Revolution, there were very few countries with less than 30% illiterate. It...
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