Critically Examine the Political and Social Effects of Industrialisati

Topics: Industrial Revolution, Working class, Middle class Pages: 12 (1937 words) Published: August 21, 2002
Critically examine the political and social effects of industrialisation in 170 -1850

Industrialisation occurred in many countries, each taking a different approach

to the implementation of new machinery and technology. The most notable for

leading the way in industrialisation is Britain. Industrialisation not only made

dramatic changes in the economic structure of countries but also in the social and

political areas of countries.

Industrialisation led to much upheaval, especially socially since the whole way

of life was changing. The emergence of the working class and the growing divide

between classes also meant that a new political and economic structure was

developed: capitalism.

Industrialisation began in Britain since there was a large supply of coal and

steel and it was seen as one of the greatest colonial powers, thus allowing it to gain

the capital and market needed to industrialise. Since Britain led the way for

industrialisation, it could be seen to epitomise the effects that it had on countries.

One of the social effects that industrialisation had was that the ‘rhythm of life

changed' . Pre-industrialisation, people were based mainly in rural areas. However,

when the enclosure of land became popular in the 1760's, farmers who were tenants

began to be pushed of the land. This along with the establishment of new urban towns

and cities meant that people started to move away resulting in ‘English peasant

villages being destroyed' .

Land enclosure was only one reason why people moved to the new urban

areas. The other was the fact that new machinery was making families handicrafts of

little commercial value, meaning that they were not able to survive on the money they

made. This meant that the promise of a rise in wages appealed to a great many people

in the rural areas, resulting in yet more change for the population

With industrialisation came a new family structure, the nuclear family. This

was in complete contrast to the previous way people interacted with each other, but

fitted perfectly into the nameless society, which had developed. The pre-industrial

villages were very close knit since most of the textile and agricultural industry

revolved around the home, with everyone participating in some way to the production

of consumer goods. The nuclear family was very unlike this in the way that family

was now centred on a mother, father, and children, instead of extended family and

community. The urban towns fuelled this new structure since most people went to

them leaving all family and friends so had no social structure to fall back on. This

feeling of isolation can be seen in the increase of alcoholism, since many believed this

was the only way to escape their troubles because they had almost no one to speak


Another effect of industrialisation in rural areas was the change in thought.
Before the industrial revolution farmers relied on nature to set the framework for

work, planting crops in one season and harvesting them in another. However with all

the new machinery and technology people started to turn to corporate culture ,

believing that they could control nature and thus ignore the seasons. However this

view was not upheld in all countries especially ones like china and India. This was

because in accordance with their religion, nature was something not to be tampered


The standard of living for the new populations of the urban areas were far

from desirable, since there was no administration or town planning for the new

houses. This meant that no proper consideration was given to sanitation or planning

of where the houses would be situated and what would be an acceptable distance to

prevent disease and fire passing from one house to another. This inefficiency was

shown with the four cholera...

Bibliography:  J.M. Roberts, The Pelican History Of The World, Pelican, 1986
 T.S. Ashton, The Industrial Revolution 1760-1830, Oxford University Press, 1970
 P. Gregg, A Social and Economic History of Britain, Harrap, 1971
 G. Rude, Revolutionary Europe 1783-1815, Fontana/Collins, 1980
 P. Mathias, The First Industrial Nation, Methuen&Co Ltd, 1972
 M.J. Daunton, Progress and Poverty, Oxford University Press, 1995
 P. Lane, Documents on British Economic and Social History 1750-1870, 1972
 G. Warner, Marten and Muir, The New Groundwork of British History, Balckie&son, 1968
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