The Industrial Revolution

Iron and Coal, by William Bell Scott

The Industrial Revolution was a period from 1760 to as late as 1840, and marked a rapid advance in economic prosperity and production as well as population in Europe.

For centuries, thousands of people tilled land for their knights, nobles and kings and then handed over a portion of their meagre production to the said knights and nobles, or if you possessed the skills necessary, fashioned weapons, shoes, or other such goods slowly and by hand for those who could afford them. However, with the Industrial Revolution, many goods, such as cloth and the clothing made from it, could be mechanized and made exceedingly faster and cheaper to produce, creating a boom in production. Innovations like the steam engine could be used to power machinery in the factories or move goods and people around much faster and more efficiently than in the past.

James Watts Steam Engine
James Watts Steam Engine

However, not all have supported the Industrial Revolution, claiming that the working conditions were terrible and forced people to slave away for hours in factories, many times losing limbs due to the unsafe machinery. What they fail to realize is what conditions were like before the revolution. Nearly the entire population had to produce food, and they could barely produce enough for themselves, let alone afford to sell food to workers making goods in the cities. Famines and pestilence kept populations low, and the remaining people suffering. With the introduction of machinery, suddenly far less were needed to grow food, and more could go the cities and produce better clothes and tools that made the rest of society wealthier. Overall, the standard of living for most people were improved, not harmed, and we are still experiencing the benefits of this today.


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