Essay by 3rd Form pupil, Jess Foulston
“The industrial revolution was hugely beneficial to the British people. Do you agree? 1750-1900?”
The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain and quickly spread throughout the world. This period saw the mechanization of agriculture and textile manufacturing as well as a revolution in power, including steamships and railroads, that affected social, cultural, and economic conditions. I agree that it was beneficial during those time although times were rough for some people.
One of the huge changes in the industrial revolution was people jobs and how many people worked. The rich people had an easy ride during these times because factory owners were not doing much but getting lots of money whilst the poor people were worker very long and painful hours. Although the life in a factory of a poor person was rough there are some positives – Factories provided steady work for families and children so they were provided with food and a shelter. Inventions were used and made in high level factories and others made essentials such as clothes and gadgets. On the other hand, times were rougher for women in factories because they were only getting paid half the amount of money but still working the same long hours. Everything was run coal which was a issue as there were children working in factories from the age of four roughly but they were dying really young from breathing in so much coal and their lungs couldn’t get rid of it. Instead of getting an education and learning children were made to work but they weren’t giving many supplies. Overall, the fact that there were plenty of jobs available (although they might not have been nice) they still gave families a chance to get food and water.
Health changed vastly during these times; new things were discovered which saved many lives, but things still could have been better if people were more educated. Some positives were – they found the cause of the cholera, the spent money on people cleaning the streets and delivering water which meant people weren’t picking up illnesses and viruses from the streets. Also, because vaccinations were discovered and used life expectancy went up by 20 years in a century. On the other hand, things were not as good as they could have been; although the streets were being cleaned people were moving from the country side to the cities to find jobs, so that resulted in overcrowding and the faster spread of infection. Another negative was that people were washing and drinking the same dirty water which meant if they were washing after being out side or at work they could be drinking a lot of bacteria and viruses and they may also be washing the coal of them from the factories and be drinking the water that still has particles of coal in it. Life back then was easy for the rich, they could afford all the health care and vaccinations they needed but still proceeded to get the poor people to do the dirty work. Overall, times were hard for the poor and healthcare was not great, but people were becoming more educated on hygiene. So, the birth rate and life expectancy was going up.
Living conditions back then were hard for everyone who couldn’t afford much – most people. There are not really any positives for this topic because it affected everyone and a bad way (except people who owned land or factories.) Poor workers were often housed in cramped, grossly inadequate quarters. Working conditions were difficult and exposed employees to many risks and dangers, including cramped work areas with poor ventilation, trauma from machinery, toxic exposures to heavy metals, dust, and solvents. This made healthcare a struggle with how fast things were spreading and how fast new infections were being made. Overall, nothing was good during these times for workers and young people.
Finally, politics. Politics changed massively and hugely benefited everyone. But things were done that caused many disagreements for example… Some workers were upset that new factory machinery could do the work that maybe ten men used to do. These men formed gangs and went around smashing up the new machinery. In 1811, the machine-smashers or Luddites, as they became known, destroyed machines in the Midlands, Yorkshire, and Lancashire. The gangs caused thousands of pounds worth of damage — and the government took strict action. Machine-smashing became a crime punishable by death. In 1830, the machine-smashers reappeared. This MH time, workers in the countryside attacked farm machinery because farmers began to use machines to do the work that men used to do. Fields were set on fire; farmhouses were burned down, and barns smashed. Again, the government took tough action. Nineteen people were hanged, 644 were put in prison and 481 were transported to Australia. Despite the riots, farmers continued to use the new machinery and many farm workers left the countryside to look for work in the towns and cities. This affected landowners in the countryside because everyone left and moved to the cities, so they had no one to look after their land or work for them. Another issue that people wanted to fix was women having the right to vote and this is how they did it… For many hundreds of years, only a small number of men (rich ones) had been allowed to vote in elections. Many ordinary people, who couldn’t vote, felt this was unfair. They thought that MPs would listen more closely to their complaints about their lives if they were voters. In August 1819, a huge, non-violent meeting was held in St Peter’s Field, Manchester. Thousands of men, women and children attended carrying banners demanding ‘Votes for All’. However, things soon got out of hand. The government sent in soldiers to arrest the speakers and break up the crowd. But the sword waving soldiers managed to kill 11 people and injure 400 more. Although, this was a rough way to get what they wanted (they didn’t get it straight away) after a very long time, women’s votes were allowed. Politics was the most beneficial thing during the industrial revolution because it changed how the country was run.
Overall, the industrial revolution was a hard time and affected the poor the most, but it was worth it because the industrial revolution was HUGELY beneficial. People were getting smarter medically and saving lives. Although times were easy for the rich, in the end people still got what they wanted and were still earning money and were still able to live there lives and most importantly the country was on its way to huge power in the world by the early 1900s. So yes, I do agree the industrial revolution was hugely beneficial.