The Industrial Revolution
Not long ago, farmers toiled in the fields of the English villages to sustain agriculture and crop production. With wealthy landowners now taking hold of these enclosures, farmers venture to the cities in search for labor in factories. England has begun to experience the nascence of a new revolution as industrialization seizes the cities with skyrocketed populations and a greater production of manufactured goods.
Located to its advantage, Britain benefits from its favorable water ways and harbors which are conducive for prosperous industry. Steamboats transport goods across the inland rivers while harbors foster exportation and merchant ships. Cotton and cheap labor are made available from overseas. Additionally, new inventions have enabled more efficient production and transportation. New technologies specifically have been geared to promote textile manufacturing, Britain’s trademark industry. First was John Kay’s flying shuttle, followed by James Hargreaves 1764 spinning wheel. The water frame, invented by Richard Arkwright replaced the need for manual operation by using water power to spin the wheels. Later was the 1779 spinning mule produced by Samuel Crompton, and then Edmund Cartwright’s power loom. However, due to the size of these machines, factories are being constructed to house these developments.
Without a doubt, society is transitioning unto urbanization and an increased demand for goods dominates business and manufacturing. More people are moving into the dynamic cities as Britain continues to cultivate a growth of industry. The prospect of the economy remains positive and once again Britain emerges as the dominant economic power.
The rise of industry is accredited to the breakthrough inventors and their designs. James Watt, a former student at the University of Glasgow sought to improve the steam engine by making it faster and more efficient. After two years, he achieved his goal in 1765 and formed a successful partnership with entrepreneur Matthew Boulton. The steam engine since has made considerable use in the steamboats and railroad trains. As a result, transportation of goods has been a major factor of modern cities and industry. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin has also proved crucial to cotton production by increasing the amount of cotton that can be cleaned. Since its introduction, British cotton consumption has exploded and textile industries have experienced increasing profits.
English engineer and businessman, Henry Bessemer, along with his six steam-powered machines used for bronze powder production, has recently developed a method for manufacturing steel cheap. With over 100 patents, the Royal Society of London decided to induct this intelligent scientist into their community in 1877.
Thanks to Edward Jenner, the smallpox contagion is being eliminated day by day with his new vaccine. Rumor has it that a girl who claimed to be immune of this disease by already being infected with cowpox, helped inspire Jenner’s research. Implications on what this new vaccination has to offer are innumerable. Alongside Jenner’s contributions to medical science, French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur has begun to discover microorganisms in other infectious diseases in what he terms, his “germ theory.” These bacteria, he claims, can be scientifically altered to create immunizations. Additionally, France’s wine industry has profited from knowledge of “pasteurization” to help wine from spoiling. After his vaccine for rabies, Pasteur has become one of the greatest contemporary scientists in Europe. A new institute dedicated to Pasteur is planned to be built in Paris by 1888.
Developments and Drawacks
The benefits of modern inventions are evident in England’s economic prosperity. With manufacturing prevalent and exports at constant shipping, England profits from the new industries. Textile industries are enhanced by the betterment of cotton production by the American cotton gin, the steam engine gave rise to steamboats and railroad systems, and medical immunizations increase overall life expectancy.
Railroad systems are one of the primary advancements of this era. Not only is transportation made easier and cheaper, but also, new jobs are made available as iron and coal miners. The Liverpool-Manchester Railroad was recently constructed to transfer goods in and out of the diligent cities. In 1829, the railroad system adopted the Rocket to use as the best locomotive.
Nevertheless, the modern inventions being introduced to our increasingly industrialized societies have offered countless benefits, while also posing considerable complications. Urbanization has hastened the pace of society bringing about urbanization and a new way of living while overpopulation continues to take a toll over English cities as life expectancy is increased with new immunizations. Homes are now heated with coal, but living conditions within the cities are rapidly declining with concerns of overpopulation and insanitation. City inhabitants live in crammed tenements with diseases contaminating the water and spreading contagiously. In addition, children as young as six are forced into work labor under harsh working conditions in unpromising factories. Eleven-year-old Jane Paul describes her experience as a factory worker. “I work six days a week for ten hours continuously. Often my job requires dangerous tasks that risk my safety. I toil long and hard, but in at any given circumstance where I may tire, it is not unusual to receive an awakening beating.”
Responses to industrialization vary. Some citizens have already begun to demand better working conditions in protest of unjust treatment. Other, such as the Luddites threaten the advancement by attacking factories and new machinery. Industrialization has brought rise to development and drawbacks.
Letter to the Editor
The Impact on Society
Dear Editor: Living in the crowded city of Manchester, I witness the best and the worst of this increasingly urban society. Businesses thrive and benefit the English economy while the lower classes face severe poverty and deficit. Cities are growing in size of population, but living conditions are poor. With new immunizations, the problem is only made worse as life expectancy increases and cities remain overpopulated. In addition, the rise of business inspires more people to search for jobs here in the cities. Working conditions, however, are becoming just as unfavorable. Workers labor for long hours from sunrise to sunset with little relief for food or rest. Businesses are becoming as desperate as to burden children for hours a day. Education should be administered to our children to grant them opportunities of their own success. It seems many now seek jobs as professionals or big business owners. If we hope for England to continue to flourish, we should provide education rather than force them into dangerous jobs in the factories, fixing machines. The new machines I contend only place a threat to society. While increasing production, it also creates conflict. Opposing forces such as the Luddites provoke danger to factories. Plus, heavy production in English cities are polluting the air and contaminating the water. It is also to mention the danger it brings to the child factory workers.
It is not to neglect however, the benefit of these new inventions. The Liverpool-Manchester railroad system is a remarkable success, offering low costs of transferring goods to and from the inland factories. Coal and iron miners seek jobs in the railroad industry and others are inspired to travel inward to the cities. The agriculture and fishing industries prosper likewise from the railroads. I agree with Alexis de Tocqueville when he says, “From this filthy sewer pure gold flows.”