The industrial revolution began during the eighteenth century, significantly altering the lives of millions and society, in terms of social order, industry, and technology. A combination of advantageous factors like economic, social, cultural, and political components over other nations allowed Great Britain to become the first nation to industrialize and prosper. Religion played an important role, Queen Elizabeth I had established a Protestant country; meaning it was okay to be rich. The laissez-faire approach taken by the government allowed capitalism to flourish.
There were little to no regulations imposed by government allowing the wealthy, middle class owners to pursue profitable business opportunities. Directly funded by society itself, Great Britain’s economy emerged substantial and created banks to maintain their economy stable. However, its prominent source came from trade and commerce; its nearness to water and network of canals allowed easy transportation. The colonial expansion of the 17th century allowed Britain to obtain goods from its colonies and trade it them internationally.
Technological innovation was an important factor, in particular the invention of the steam engine by James Watt during the 18th century. Earlier in the 18th century the textile industry had harnessed water power to drive improved spinning machines (spinning jenny) and looms (flying shuttle). These textile mills became the model for the organization of human labor in factories. The biggest impact of the Industrial Revolution took place in society. Cities grew during the Industrial Revolution.
People moved from farms to towns and cities so that they could be close to their new jobs in the factories. It also meant that they made less money for working longer hours. Add to this the higher living expenses due to urbanization and one can easily see why many families were forced to live together in horrible conditions; often in slums with little sanitation. The conditions at the factories weren’t any better; they were dirty and unsafe and people could easily be fired from a job for no reason at all. Child labor was an unfortunate side effect of the industrial revolution.
Children would work up to eighteen hours each day in unsafe conditions where many became injured, sick or even died in terrible accidents. As mentioned before government had barely any regulations imposed upon factory policies and the relentless pursuit of money by wealthy middle class owners caused one of the most significant social change; the ultimate breakdown of the family unit. Since workers, especially women and children were working for up to eighteen hours, there was little family contact, and the only time that one was at home was spent sleeping.
Also, this resulted in children receiving very little education, having stunted growth, and being very sickly. Personally, I think that Industrial Revolution was a step in the right direction. It explored the possibilities for a better future with many innovations. Change is not always welcomed and sometimes it takes time to get adjusted to it. Over time health and material conditions have clearly improved, new laws and regulations have been put in place to maintain checks and balances on all aspects of our society such as child labor. All these changes and improvements have given rise to our current society.