This paper discusses how the Industrial Revolution changed life in every society that it touched, how it affected all individuals and socioeconomic groups and the city and rural areas.
The Industrial Revolution affected the way that people worked, before the Industrial Revolution, people worked in their local, home, towns and after the Industrial Revolution, when factories sprang up in cities, people moved from their home towns to the larger urban areas to seek work (Crump, 2010). The development of factories, because of the technological innovations of this time, led to a consolidation in the work that could be undertaken and so manufacturing moved away from a local, handmade, consideration to a larger scale machine-made endeavour. The workforce moved away from working locally on small projects, as they had done before the Industrial Revolution, to working on larger scale projects in factories. This shift in the size of projects undertaken in factories meant that workers worked in larger teams, after the Industrial Revolution.
The Industrial Revolution affected the way that people conducted business: before the Industrial Revolution, people worked locally, in small teams, producing handmade goods through a ‘cottage industry’ approach. After the Industrial Revolution, when machinery made it possible to manufacture goods, business shifted from being concerned with trade in small, handmade goods to trade in manufactured goods. These goods were not, generally, sold locally but were sold further afield, meaning that the market for the goods increased in size and geographical area. The development of trains, for example, could allow businessmen and goods to be transported much further afield than previous to the Industrial Revolution. The shift from rural to urban production meant that most of the business conducted after the Industrial Revolution was conducted in urban areas. This was in stark contrast to the rural location of most business prior to the Industrial Revolution. Whilst there had always been a divide between the rich and poor, prior to the Industrial Revolution, this divide got even bigger following the Industrial Revolution, as the owners of the large factories, and the distributors of the manufactured products, became richer and richer from the labour of the people they employed in their factories.
The Industrial Revolution affected the way that people lived in their homes: prior to the Industrial Revolution, cities had relatively low populations, with rural areas housing the majority of the population. Following the Industrial Revolution, as people moved to find work in the urban factories, the majority of the population became urban not rural. The housing provided to factory workers was very different from the rural housing of the population prior to the Industrial Revolution: the urban houses were small, cramped and in very close proximity to the other houses, built, as they were, in rows. After the Industrial Revolution, people no longer worked in their homes as they were employed in the factories. This meant that their homes did not need to be as big as previously: homes were, essentially, for sleeping in, as the factory workers would be out at work for most of the day (Cruickshank, 2003).
In conclusion, the paper has discussed how the Industrial Revolution changed life in every society that it touched, how it affected all individuals and socioeconomic groups and the city and rural areas. The paper has found that the Industrial Revolution changed the world and changed the lives of people across all sectors of society.
Allen, R.C. 2009. The British Industrial Revolution in global perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cruikshank, D. 2003. What the Industrial Revolution did for us. London: BBC Books.
Crump, T. 2010. A brief history of how the Industrial Revolution changed the world. London: Robinson Publishing.