Positive and Negative Effects of Industrial Revolution

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DBQ- Positive and Negative Effects of Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution began in England in the late 1700’s. The Industrial Revolution was a time of new inventions, products, and methods of work. The results of the Industrial Revolution led to many short and long-term positive and negative effects. These results have been assessed from many viewpoints such as the factory workers, the factory owners, the government, and other people who observed the conditions in industrial cities.

One negative effect of the Industrial Revolution was the poor working conditions in factories which were a big problem during the Industrial Revolution. Many people worked in factories, which had very tight spaces and poor lighting. Many people became injured and sometimes died from these poor working conditions. In Joseph Hebergram's testimony to the Sadler Committee he stated that he had damaged lung and that his leg muscles would not function properly and will not support the weight of his bones due to the dust in the factories and overwork. This shows the harsh conditions that were present in the factories. The conditions were so bad that some people actually died in the factories. Hebergram stated that about a dozen died during the two and a half years he was there. The poor conditions also included the long hour’s factory workers had to endure. William Cooper was a ten year old boy and he had testified in front of the Sadler Committee. He was asked about the working hours and he stated that he had been working from five in the morning till nine at night. These children that worked at these factories had no time for anything other than working and sleep. None of these children were educated and most of them weren’t able to read or write. Cooper also stated that they were frequently strapped. This meant that at times when the children were not paying attention to their work, they were beaten . These horrible conditions led to the factory workers becoming outraged and forming unions and strike. The strikes and labor unions later on led to factory owners having to settle with the workers and improving the conditions within the factory. Another negative effect of the Industrial Revolution was the poor sanitary conditions in cities. When Friedrich Engels visited an English industrial city he stated in “The Conditions of the Working Class in England” that the streets are usually unpaved, full of holes, filthy and strewn with refuse due to the lack of gutters or drains. This caused the main river of Manchester to look coal black and be packed with stinking filth. The factories also led to pollution and poor air quality due to the open air vents and chimneys which released the pollution from the factory into the air. Many people who lived in these poor cities or slums were either the working class or the poor that had to struggle through these unsanitary conditions. A positive effect of the Industrial Revolution was the decrease in prices. Before the Industrial Revolution people had worked at home on farms or in small workshops. Making cloth was done entirely by hand which caused clothes to be more expensive. This meant that most people had 1 shirt and 1 pant. In the 1700s people began buying more and more goods, so textile traders began to look for faster and cheaper ways of producing clothes. The decrease in prices came from the introduction of machines such as the spinning jenny which spun 8 threads at a time, the flying shuttle which increased the speed of weaving, and the water frame which was a large spinning machine driven by water in the factory. “In The Working Man's Companion” the author states "Your houses are better built, your clothes are cheaper, and you have an infinite number of domestic utensils" . This shows how people in the long-run were able to live better due to the decrease in prices of goods. A positive effect of the Industrial Revolution was the iron production between 1740 and 1900. In 1740 the...
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