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Positive and negative effects of the Industrial Revolution

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Positive and negative effects of the Industrial Revolution

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  • November 7, 2004
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The most widespread, influential transformation of civilized life since the creation of agriculture thousands of years before, was the industrial revolution that took place in eighteenth century Europe. The results of this revolution would forever change human labor, consumption, family structure, social structure, and even the very thoughts of an individual. The industrial revolution was driven not only by technological improvements and advancements but by the blending of profound social changes, as Europe moved from a primarily agricultural and rural economy to a capitalist and urban economy, from a household, family-based economy to an industry-based economy. The negative impacts of the Industrial Revolution were evident at the beginning, many hardships had to be overcome, changes took place causing grief to majority of the population. Faith waned, patience was tested, and a umbrella of oppression covered the people of Europe. When new inventions arose to facilitate the mass production of goods that supplied the people of Europe, nearly everyone was forced to begin a new career within a factory. Factories became so dominant that eventually the cottage industry no longer played a part in people's lives. The consequences of these new inventions and new working environments caused a dramatic plummet in the life expectancy of an average citizen to a shocking 15 years. Women and children were expected to work up to 16 hours a day working in conditions and in ways that could cause serious injury, like working on heavy machinery and carrying large loads while exhausted. All of the work only yielded about 5 shillings per week for women, and children only one. The creation of the cotton gin landed many more peasants in factories while fueling the African slave trade at a steadily increasing rate. This led to decades more of slavery, especially throughout the British colonies.

It is easy to see how overwhelming the negative impacts of the Industrial Revolution...