Industrial Revolution Article
For this mini-project we researched the Industrial Revolution and how it was to live during that time. Using this research we took the point of view of a journalist during the era and wrote a piece about it. Here is mind:
The Double Edged Sword of the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution has been an interesting time so far hasn’t it? From the introductions of all these new machines, the rise in population, the increase in disease and famine and the fact that women are working! It has been a time of extreme change not just here in London, but to all of our beloved England. But how has this Revolution effected us? Has it all been beneficial and, or lack of a better word, revolutionary? Or has this Revolution caused more harm than it’s worth? The truth is that the Revolution has been an awkward engagement that has brought about incredibly great things and equally atrocious things. In simple terms this Industrial Revolution we are living in has been one of the greatest double edged swords in history.
The Industrial Revolution has had many effects on our ever developing country and many of them have had positive changes for our entire society. One of these changes that the revolution has brought about, has been the breakthroughs we have recently had in mechanisms and inventions. One of these breakthroughs being, the new steam engines, that you see on all the newest trains and in all the most successful factories. These new engines have, through the power of coal, brought about incredible advancements in the production of textiles, clothing and other products that we both sell at home and export as some of the most important merchandise that we trade with the rest of the world. These machines have also created more jobs for men AND women! While many argue that this is a mistake, I think not. The introduction of a new workforce as big as an entire gender of people brings about an incredible new force to work which will, and has, lead to more products. Thus leading to more trade, that in turn raises the entire English economy. With the new work factories bringing in workers in need of a place to live they served as a catalyst for urbanization. This new urbanization has worked as a motive for a new and improved education for the children hopefully, that will one day lead to even another great generation of innovators that will make the advancements we have been making redundant. All of these phenomenons came from ONE innovative discovery. But even though I could go on and on about the benefits this cultural phenomenon has been bringing us, I must remind you, this same phenomenon is indeed a double edged sword.
With the good comes the bad and by god, does the bad rain down on our parade. With the incredible advancements the revolution has made for our society at large we seem to have gone backwards with the treatment of the individuals. With the introduction of the steam engine the demand for coal flew up all the way to the roof and broke right through. This extremely high demand created an incredible pressure to mine the stuff until it was all gone. Because of this, we began to make our miners work demanding hours in unsanitary, hazardous and insalubrious environments for very low wages. This brought about outbreaks of diseases and constant injuries that made the miners unable to work, which lead to them being fired. Another consequence of this demand is the employment of children. With the adult workers having an average height of 5”7’, many could not get into the small hidden crevices of the mines that held hidden treasures in the form of even more coal. Mine owners are employing children to do even MORE dangerous work for some of the smallest wages. With the urbanization that the revolution has brought we have the growth of the communities, but as good as this can be it has some of the worst effects of the entire revolution. The cities we are building are cramped and incredibly filthy. Those who have a roof to put over their heads are living with twenty families, sharing everything. Those who don’t, live on the streets, begging, looking for work. The people throw their “by-products” to the streets giving the homeless diseases. These diseases thrive in the weak homeless population. Because of this, the sicknesses are passed on to the the working class people who give it to all the families living in their work homes thus creating epidemics that shorten the average life of the people and families in these industrial cities.
While these problems are some of the worst the Industrial Revolution has brought, they are not as irreversible as one may think. For example the problems brought by urbanization can be theoretically fixed by creating a more efficient way of getting rid of the feces accumulated in the households. The creation of more homes to get more people off the street and having the government work with the cities to find an efficient way of cleaning and preventing the outbreak of diseases is a start. Another problem is the conditions of the workers in the mines, which can be fixed by giving the miners more safety equipment to avoid the savage injuries they sustain during the workdays. They can also have restrictions for the age at which people can start working at the mines and they can be given less days and less hours to avoid the miners having “accidents” due to fatigue. With more effort from everyone: the workers, the mine owners and the English government, we can make strides to make this innovative time we live be one of the best in the history of the world.
While the Industrial Revolution has been an incredibly positive and innovative time for our society as a whole it has had horrendous effects on the individuals of our beloved England. With change there is always the good and the bad, but in most cases one outweighs the other. In this case both are essentially equal creating nothing else but a double edged sword we all have to deal with.