The Industrial Revolution affected people in many ways. Machines were built, jobs were lost, cities became overcrowded, young children started working, and poverty spread.
Before the Industrial Revolution, most people lived in the countryside, which was quite isolated. People were generally poor, and often went to bed hungry. There were no machines. Those who weren’t involved in agriculture made their income with ‘cottage industries.’ This was usually sewing, household manufacturing, or lace-making. Most people were illiterate, and there were no telephones, lights or cars. People woke up for work whenever they felt like it.
When all the inventions, like interchangeable parts, were built, people who lived in the country were forced to move to cities to get jobs. The cities became overcrowded. Factories were built, where workers controlled machines. New houses were built near factories so workers could walk to work. The houses were cheap, close together, and had no indoor plumbing. Rubbish was thrown into streets, and diseases like cholera, typhus, dysentery and smallpox spread. Many people died, either from starvation or sicknesses. But there were too many people looking for jobs, which meant factory owners could treat workers as they wanted. The jobs were boring, conditions were bad, and the pay was very low. Children and women labour was used. The children could be as young as 4, but they were cheap and obedient. Their small size could fit into small spaces for jobs.
Luddites were a band of English workers who destroyed machinery in mills and factories from 1811. Swing riots were uprisings started by agricultural workers in 1830. Workers tried to unite to protest against the terrible working conditions, but the government banned all meetings. The Grand National Consolidated Trade Union (GNCTU) formed, and 500000 workers joined. The government arrested the leaders and sent them to Australia. GNCTU only lasted a year but encouraged other unions, and...
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