Observations on the Conditions of the Working Class During the Industrial Revolution

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Observations on the Conditions of the Working Class During the Industrial Revolution

The British Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries brought about a much needed change in the economic structure of the country. The old fashioned, agricultural based economy that Britain had assumed for centuries had become obsolete, and in the spirit of mercantilism and neighborly competition with the French, the English made the drastic change to a manufacturing based economy (Owen, p. 150). This transformation allowed for the emergence of large, manufacturing based cities, an abundance of English manufactured goods, and made Britain, overall, a very wealthy nation. These byproducts of the Industrial Revolution allowed Britain to make great economic strides, but those that put in the hours at the factories that made such a revolution possible gained almost nothing for their treacherous work. The working class of the Industrial Revolution lived hard, laborious lives. The majority of their time was spent in the factories, which were very often unsanitary, overcrowded, and hazardous, and when they were able to leave the factory and spend time at home, they were met with equally horrid conditions. Although these people and their work were undoubtedly one of the largest factors towards the successfulness of the Industrial Revolution, they themselves suffered greatly, and reaped nearly no benefits for their work. The overall quality of their lives was incredibly poor. Every arena of their lives, from working conditions and home life, to nutrition and cleanliness, was effected by overwhelming poverty. The urban environment that was thought to be a way out of poverty became a mechanism in which poverty was able to flourish.

The life of a working class family during the Industrial Revolution was very much dictated by the factory in which they worked. Employees would spend nearly all day in these horrid environments; most would start...
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