Agitation and Reform in 19th Century Britain

Topics: Industrial Revolution, Wage, Luddite Pages: 4 (1366 words) Published: June 22, 2006
The Industrial revolution is a term that is used to describe the transformations that the economical and social sectors of Britain during the 19th Century. It is hard to say exactly when the Industrial revolution started or when it finished. Many factors influenced the changes that happened, which makes studying the Industrial Revolution a little more complex than some other areas of History. There were several economic developments that gave rise to the industrial revolution. The changes didn't just affect the economy of the country, but society as a whole. People began to be moved into cities, the availability of material possessions/goods and the change in ways of trading. The Industrial Revolution brought with it an increase in population and urbanization, as well as new social classes. The increase in population was nothing short of dramatic. The change in workforce was drastic as well, from domestic production to factories under capitalist control. Britain changed form an agricultural society to an industrial one in a very short period of time and this had impacts on social life as a whole. Factories started to pop up everywhere, producing goods with great efficiency and in large quantities. Labourers however would lose their jobs to machines, machines that started to appear back in the cotton trade. Labourers began to experience longer working hours in harsher working conditions for minimal wages. It was no longer about the people, it was about making the biggest profits. Labourers had become a number and nothing more. Before the industrial revolution, employers would live and eat with their employees, even socialise with them, there was little definition between the two, it was all to change. Even the divisions between the capitalist owners of the farms and factories had become more obvious, before the owners of farms would mingle with their employees, even sit at the same dinner table as them, now there wouldn't even be as little as a word...

Bibliography: Class notes
Industrial Revolution – Nigel Smith – Raintree – 2002
Chartism – John K. Walton – Routledge - 1999
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