Source

Bibliographic data

Rajendra, N.; Rajendra, V.: World History for Secondary Schools. Vol. 3. Kuala Lumpur: Longman Malaysia, 6th repr. [6. Nachdr.] ed., 1971 [1968], 27.

Consequences of the Industrial Revolution


[p. 27]

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[...]

Consequences of the Industrial Revolution

The early inventions and discoveries which began the Industrial Revolution had important consequences. One immediate result was the great increase in the quantity of manufactured goods available. Another important result was the rapid growth of cities. Many country people left their farms to work in factories. Gradually, new towns grew up around these factories which were built near the sources of coal, iron and water-power. Some of the great cities of England, such as Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, started in this way.

The industrial towns were not pleasant places to live in. The workers' quarters were overcrowded and the people lived in the midst of filth and disease.

The factory system

The Industrial Revolution also brought about what was later called the factory system. Working conditions in factories were bad. The people had to work long hours for small wages. Accidents were common and the employer took no responsibility for them. The most unfortunate victims of the factory system were children. Children only four or five years old were employed in factories and mines.

Social changes

Many influential men began to protest against the terrible conditions under which the people lived and worked. Gradually, the English Parliament made new laws to protect workers, particularly women and children. In 1842, it was made illegal to employ women, and children under ten years old, to work in the mines. Another law was passed in 1847 allowing only ten hours of work per day for women, and for boys under eighteen years of age. After 1824, working men

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[Black-and-white photograph shows two houses with a narrow space between. There are two figures in front of one of the houses.]

[caption:] Bad housing in Britain, 1868

were also allowed to form unions to bargain peacefully with their employers for better working conditions and better wages. Strikes were, however, forbidden for many years.

The beginning of socialism

As the factory system grew, a number of men criticised its evils. Some of these men merely wanted new laws to protect the workers. Others, who were later known as socialists or Communists, demanded complete changes in the system of government and the way people earned their living. We shall read more about them in another chapter.

[Black-and-white print of a painting on which a barefooted, bare-chested child pulls a cart. The child is leaning so far forwards to pull the weight of the cart that it touches the ground with its hands.]

[caption:] A child working in the mines

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