The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period in history when mankind found innovative and efficient ways of producing goods, manufacturing services and creating new methods of transportation. This not only revolutionized the way the market system functioned, but also changed the way people perceived their status in society and what they required as basic necessities. However, the price that humanity was forced to pay for the emergence of the Industrial Revolution greatly outweighed the rewards that it brought alongside its origin.
Prior to the Industrial Age, the Western European market operated on a simple "putting-out" system. The average producer was able to manufacture a product in the same area that he or she lived on and the demand for that product was usually set by a few local consumers. The process was easy and simple, provided that the product being created was always required by someone else. However, the invention of Machinery and all of its accompanying peripherals allowed producers to start manufacturing on a mass scale. With factories placed in central locations of the townships (known as centralization), the previous system was dismantled and categorized into steps. No longer would one person be required to build, market or transport their product since the new system introduced the art of specialization. Specialization allowed a person to perform a single task and guarantee them wages as a source of income. However, as wonderful as this might seem, this new system led to the emergence of a n working class (proletariat) and forced them to depend on market conditions in order to survive as producers. Although seemingly content at first, those who became employed by these factories were immediately subjected to deplorable conditions. Arnold Toynbee made a scholarly assessment of this new wave of socio-economic behavior and concluded that the working class is suffering due to a series of hardships that make their lives miserable. He cited low wages, long hours, unsafe conditions, no provisions for old age, a discipline determined by machine and whole families being left with a low income rate as being a recurring problem that exploited the integrity and efficiency of Industrialization. This subsequently led to a period of "depersonalization" which meant that the employer-employee relationship was deteriorating in exchange for this new system. No longer could a worker befriend his boss or maintain a stable friendship since the divisions between their market classes made this al most impossible. One relied on the other for subsistence and therefore this dependency gave the property owners an upper edge in terms of negotiating income and support. Since the proletariat owned nothing but his labour, his abuse was imminent at the hands of some ruthless bourgeoisie. Clearly, this revolution was not aiding all the citizenry of Western culture.
Since European man had found a way to increase the amount of products being manufactured, he also found a way to speed up the process through specialization and Urbanization. The growth of giant factories in Manchester, England skyrocketed from 77,000 in 1801 to 303,000 in 1850. People began leaving their countryside rural areas in exchange for an Urban life lead by the clock. The farm worker became the factory worker literally overnight in order to compete with these new market forces that had swept across Western Europe. T.S. Ashton, a prolific historian, saw this transition as being a positive force during the inauguration of the Industrial juggernaut. He believed that with Industrialization and Urbanization there existed a greater stability of consumption since a regularity in employment meant that goods were always being produced and transactions were ensuring that a greater proportion of the population was benefitting. He lauded the existence of a large class of workers since guaranteed lower prices because more people were well above the level of poverty. Be this as it may, Karl Marx had a radically different opinion on the effects of Industrialization. He was disgusted by the fact that the new working class was always at the mercy of their own employers and depended too much on the market. This dependency, he preached, would lead to an uprising involving the collective powers of the proletariat. This prophetic warning would lead to many other revolutions, most notably the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, and opened a new age of human suffering and decadence.
In conclusion, the Industrial Revolution presented mankind with a miracle that changed the fabric of human behavior and social interaction. Eventually, it even influenced political ideologies and spread across the four corners of the Earth. However, in its silent and seemingly innocent way, the majority of the population in Western Europe were struck by a disease that was invisible to those in power and too obvious to those in the lower classes. The exodus from nature and the simple country life into a cornucopia of bustling cities filled with polluted factories is evidence of the influence of Industrialization. An influence so profound that the benefits were buried behind an avalanche of pain, poverty and abuse.
The Effects of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was absolutely beneficial to the progress of the world from the 1800s all the way to present day. Sacrifices were made which allowed technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution, which in turn, created happiness, life opportunities, and an over-all, definite amelioration of life.
At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, many hardships had to be overcome, causing great grief to most of the population. Faith was lost, patience was tried, and a blanket of oppression covered the people of Europe. When new inventions arose to facilitate the producing and mass-producing of goods that supplied the people of Europe, nearly everyone was forced to begin a new career within a factory. These are just some of the hardships that many loyal, hardworking citizens were faced with. The reverberations of these new inventions caused a dramatic plummet of the life expectancy of an average citizen to an alarming 15 years of age. Women and children were expected to work up to 16 hours a day and doing labor that could cause serious injury, like carrying extremely heavy loads. For their work, they were paid ridiculous wages, women around 5 shillings per week, and children about 1. One can easily recognize the negative aspects of such a dramatic event. However, if one "steps back" to view the revolution as a whole, he will notice that the positive aspects completely outweigh the negative aspects. The job opportunities and price decrease definitely improved the lives of the people, giving them a chance to be a part of the society and be able to purchase products at a price that wasn't too bad.
Many lives changed outside work. There were many national benefits of this revolution. One very important thing was that there became many more goods available because of the mass-production. Due to this mass-producing, the goods also dropped in price, which considerably benefited those who were financially struggling. Along with the mass-producing came more employment opportunities, which allowed some of the less fortunate people to have a chance of getting a job. The increase of new ideas and inventions led to an increase of the quality of life. Medicinal products became more plentiful, transportation improved, and free education was available. People began to find themselves with more leisure time. Wages were increased, health benefits became available, and eventually, pension became available to those who retired. These are just some of the many aspects of the revolution that benefited the people as a nation, which made them happier, and made the government safer from rebellion.
There is still one more aspect of this revolution and that is the effects of it on present day. Without the inventions and changes that took place to form a more ideal society, we wouldn't be where we are today. Without labor laws and health benefits, the life expectancy of a human would drop at least 20 years. Our lives would not be integrated with the technology that helps us learn and grow such as computers, cars, and airplanes. Without the growth of industrialization, there would not be the need for any of these inventions, and we would all still be working on a farm. Some would say that they would rather live on a farm, but many can easily see how much better our lives are with the effects of the industrialization.
Let us "step back" and view the revolution as a whole now. In the beginning, people struggled and suffered, and this happens with all change and progress; people sacrifice. As time passed, people gained more benefits, and their lives became better. Work became much less tedious, and many people found themselves with more extra time. Finally there is the modern day and the future. Technology and industry has dominated our world, improving it to a point that would have been unimaginable one hundred years ago, and with the help of the people, the sacrificing and the hardships, progress continues.
Change In Urban Society At the end of the 18th century a revolution in energy and industry began in England and spread rapidly all around Europe later in the 19th century, bringing about dramatic and radical change. A significant impact of the Industrial Revolution was that on urban society. The population of towns grew vastly because economic advantage entailed that the new factories and offices be situated in the cities. The outlook of the city and urban life in general were profoundly modified and altered. Modern industry created factory owners and capitalists who strengthened the wealth and size of the middle class. Beside the expansion of the bourgeoisie, the age of industrialization saw the emergence of a new urban proletariat - the working class. The life of this new group and its relations with the middle class are controversial issues to modern history. Some believe that the Industrial Revolution "inevitably caused much human misery" and affliction. Other historians profess that Industrialization brought economic improvement for the laboring classes. Both conclusions should be qualified to a certain extent. Economic growth does not mean more happiness. Given the contemporary stories by people at that time, life in the early urban society seems to have been more somber than historians are usually prow to describe it. No generalities about natural law or inevitable development can blind us to the fact, that the progress in which we believe has been won at the expense of much injustice and wrong, which was not inevitable. Still, I believe that industry was a salvation from a rapid population growth and immense poverty. Furthermore, by the end of the 19th century the appearance of European cities and life in them had evolved and change for the better. Industrialization was preceded and accompanied by rapid population growth, which began in Europe after 1720. People had serious difficulty providing their subsistence by simply growing their food. There was widespread poverty and underemployment. Moreover, the need for workers in the city was huge. More and more factories were opening their doors. The result of this was a vast migration from the countryside to the city where peasants were already being employed. "The number of people living in the cities of 20000 or more in England and Wales jumped from 1.5 million in 1801 to 6.3 million by 1891" (Mckay, 762). With this mass exodus from the countryside, life in urban areas changed drastically. Overcrowding exacerbated by lack of sanitation and medical knowledge made life in the city quite hard and miserable. A description of Manchester in 1844, given by one of the most passionate critics of the Industrial Revolution, Friederich Engels, conveys in great detail the deplorable outlook of the city. "…the confusion has only recently reached its height when every scrap of space left by the old way of building has been filled up or patched over until not a foot of land is left to be further occpupied" (Engels 2). Lack of sanitation caused people to live in such filth and scum that is hard to imagine. "In dry weather, a long string of the most disgusting, blackish-green, slime pools are left standing on this bank, from depths of which bubbles of miasmatic gas constantly arise and give forth a stench unendurable even on the bridge forty or fifty feet above the surface of the stream" (Engels 2). The appalling living conditions in the city during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution brought about two important changes. By developing his famous germ theory of disease, Louis Pasteur brought about the so-called Bacterial revolution and lead the road to taming the ferocity of the death in urban areas caused by unsanitary and overcrowded living conditions. The theory that disease was inflicted by microorganisms completely revolutionized modern medicine and brought about the important health movement in the city. After 1870 sanitation was a priority on the agenda lists of city administration in most industrialized European countries. Urban planning and transportation after 1870 transformed European cities into beautiful and enchanting places. Water supply systems and waste disposals construction were accompanied by the building of boulevards, townhalls, theaters, museums. The greatest innovation in this area at the time -the electric streetcar- immensely facilitated the expansion of the city and helped alleviate the problem of overcrowding. A good example of urban planning and transportation was the rebuilding of Paris, which laid the foundations of modern urbanism all around Europe. The appearance of the city and the quality of life in it greatly improved by the end of the 19th century. But, living conditions in the city during the Industrial Revolution were pretty bad, a factor that greatly contributed to the bad plight of the working class at that time. As urban civilization was starting to prevail over rural life, changes in the structure of the society and in family life became inevitable. Urban society became more diversified while the classes lost a great part of their unity. Economic specialization produced many new social groups. It created a vast range of jobs, skills and earnings, which intermingled with one another creating new subclasses. Thus the very rich and the very poor were separated by the vast space occupied by these new strata. Urban society resembled the society from the age of agriculture and aristocracy by one thing. The economic gap between rich and poor remained enormous and income distribution stayed highly unequal with one fifth of society receiving more than the remaining four fifths. With the emergence of the factory owners and industrial capitalists, he relations between the middle and the working class changed. But did the new industrial middle class ruthlessly exploit the workers? I believe that at the begging this was certainly the case. People were coming to the city as "family units" and as such worked in the factories. "In the early years some very young kids were employed solely to keep the family together" (Mckay 718). The conditions of work were appalling. An excerpt from Parliamentary Papers in England named "Evidence Before the Sadler Committee", mirrors the quite dark side of life in the factories. In this testimony several people who worked at factories in different industries and towns in England draw a vivid picture of the factory reality. Both children and grownups were made to work fourteen to sixteen hours a day with only an hour brake and a salary that was hardly intended to compensate the tremendous load of work. Children were "strapped" "severely" if they lagged and deteriorated their work. The sight of the workers reflected their sad plight. "Any man …must acknowledge, that an uglier set of men and women, of boys and girls, taking them in the mass it would be impossible to imagine…Their complexion is sallow?Their sature low…Their limbs slender and playing badly and ungracefully?Great numbers of girls and women walking lamely or awkwardly, with raised chests and spinal flexures" (Gaskell, 1). Miserable life and poverty allowed people few recreational outlets and money to spend. For this reason a process of corruption and degradation of morals spread among working class people. An illustration of this is the proliferation of prostitution at the time. The continuing distance between rich and poor made for every kind of debauchery and sexual exploitation. Important factor in the degradation of morals that spread through urban society and the working classes in particular was the diminishing role that religion played in daily live. Urban society became more secular and more and more people started to regard the church as conservative institution that defended social order and custom. As a result of this illegitimacy and sexual experimentation before marriage triumphed during the 19th century. Women's actively entering the labor force was a new development spurred by the Industrial Revolution. In the preindustrial world women did leave home at an early age in search for work but their opportunities were limited. The service in another family's household was by far the most common. The employment of girls and women in factories had an important effect on their stereotypic role of household carers. It weaned them away from home and the domestic tasks. "Shut up from morning till night, except when they are sent home for their meals, these girls are ignorant of and unhandy at every domestic employment" ("Observations on the Loss of Woolen Spinning, 1794"). However, the plight of the urban working class changed as the growth of modern cities approached the end of the 19th century. The average real income raised substantially. The practice of employing children from an early age was abandoned. Less and less women were working in sweated industries. Instead men were the primary wage earners while women stayed at home taking care of the household and the children. The early practice of hiring entire families in the factory disappeared. Family life became more stable, as mercenary marriages were substituted by romantic love. Sex roles in urban society became highly distinct. The most distressing changes brought to urban society -overcrowding, lack of urban planning, unsanitary conditions, unemployment and poverty -were eventually offset by the compensation and remedy of economic growth. Urban society not only change for the better. This change was a remarkable step for humanity. For one thing, the city promoted diversity and creativity. It was the uncontested home of new ideologies, ideas, movements, crucial scientific discoveries, customs, fashions, developments in art and literature.
The process of industrialization in England and on the Continent created an enlargement of the middle classes, e.g. the merchants, bankers, etc. Therefore, it became increasingly difficult for the conservative landowning aristocrats and monarchs to retain their power over society. The term liberalism was first used in England in around 1819. Liberal ideas of freedom of trade, freedom of speech etc. were largely shaped by the French Revolution, as were most other political doctrines. Both the advancement of the political doctrine of liberalism and the political ideas themselves were different in every country of Europe. The liberals of Britain and France were the most influential, therefore, I shall focus this essay predominantly on their influence, until the year 1832, on their respective countries in order to answer the question to what extent their influence was different. In the first chapter, I will deal with the political and economical ideologies 'all' liberals have in common. The next chapter will elaborate to what extent those liberalist ideas influenced society in France, until 1830. In the third, I will discuss the influence of liberalism in Britain up to the year 1832. Classical Liberalism: The ideologies of liberalism varied extensively in Europe from country to country, but there were also many similarities in their views of society. Liberals viewed men to be desirous for increasingly more property and respect of others, because liberals believed that the only way to get ahead in life was to gain property and respect, for the more property the better position in society. Liberals recognized that there was a need for some minimum form of government, otherwise there would be the inconvenience of every man having to be his own judge and policeman, but it would not need to be a very strong government. Government was only to restrain occasional transgressors; it was to protect the propertied against the non-propertied. Since the people also needed to be protected from an arbitrary or absolutist government, the government should be under the ultimate control of the propertied. Therefore, there should remain the power to remove or alter the legislative power, when it acts contrary to the trust that was placed in it. In other words, liberals believed in the ability of self-government and self-control, because they considered man to be rational in that man was capable of making independent decisions about his life. However, they did acknowledge the need for a weak government. This government was to be a constitutional monarchy, in which freedom of the press, freedom of speech, free rights of assembly, religion, and freedom to dispose over private property would be preserved in the best possible way. They were convinced that the legislative and the executive branch of government should be separate and that their actions should be mutually restrictive (based on the idea of "checks and balances" by John Locke). As stated previously, they were also convinced of the idea that only male property owners should be allowed to vote, because they had a stake in society. How much property was needed to be eligible to vote was a hot topic of debate amongst liberals all over Europe. Liberals were not democrats in that they supported the idea of universal male suffrage, for they feared the excesses of mob rule. However, they did believe that every adult male should have the opportunity to accumulate property to become eligible to vote and that all men were equal before the law. A liberal slogan was that careers should be open to the talents. None of the liberals in Europe was in favor of the unification of laborers into labor unions for it would be an artificial interference with the natural laws - supply and demand, diminishing returns - of the market. Moreover, liberals advocated an economy of "laissez faire", i.e. free trade; to be achieved by getting rid of or at least lowering the tariffs. They were of the opinion that free trade would be beneficial to all the countries involved, for with free trade, it would be easier to exchange goods. Consequently, each country would produce what it was most suited for, thereby increasing the country's standard of living and general wealth. The doctrine of liberalism was generally supported by men of business, bankers, merchants, the new capitalists ("the cotton lords"), who owed their position to their own hard work and intelligence; they were "self-made" men, who would do anything to increase their property within the means proved by the law, but not beyond. Some progressive landowners that wanted to improve their property joined these mostly 'new' classes in their support of liberalism. Contrary to what one might think, most liberals were, to a certain extent, concerned with the situation of the workers. They created several possibilities for the workers to obtain their own property: "savings banks, mutual benefit societies, and institutions of technical and vocational education" (Sperber; p66). There was one field, however, in which the liberals did favor strong governmental activity: the field of public education. They believed that well organized effective public education would create a strong society of male property owners who had a voice in public affairs. The influence of liberalism in France: In France, problems arose when Charles X became king in 1824. The reforms that were instituted after the constitution of 1814 were reversed. The Catholic clergy started to reclaim their rights to the control of public education. Sacrilegious behavior became increasingly more prohibited by law; e.g. sacrilege in church buildings became punishable by death. A strong opposition began to rise against these extreme actions by the reactionary government. In March 1830, the Chamber of Deputies - led by Lafitte and Casimir-Pйrier - passed a vote of no confidence in the government. The king retorted by proclaiming that new elections were to be held after he had dissolved the Chamber. According to the result of the new elections, previous actions made by the king were to be rejected. On his own authority king Charles, infuriated by this outcome, now issued four decrees, on July 26 1830. The first ordinance contained the order to dissolve the newly elected Chamber immediately, before its first meeting. The second proclaimed the institution of governmental censorship on all forms of press. Another reduced the right to vote in such a way that none of the bourgeois classes retained their suffrage. It concentrated all the political power back into the hands of the conservative aristocrats. The last decree called for new elections on the basis of the previous three decrees. On July 27, 1830, the July Revolution broke out in Paris. It were the republicans, mostly consisting of students, other intelligentsia, and working-class leaders, that undertook action, because they saw their chance to achieve their ideal of universal male suffrage. Strangely, it was not the upper-middle class that acted although they were the ones brutally deprived of their right to vote the day before. For three days, Paris was the stage of popular revolt. Charles X stepped down and fled to England, because he did not want to be taken captive by the angry revolutionists, the army refused to defend him against. After the abdication of Charles X, the liberals still wanted to continue with the existing system of constitutional monarchism, but with a king they could trust, which is completely in line with their view of government of constitutional monarchism, shown in the first chapter. However, they did liberalize it in that there was to be no more absolutism, the Chamber of Peers would be no longer be hereditary, and the Chamber of Deputies would be elected by a doubled electoral body (from 100,000 to 200,000). The Chambers agreed that the new king would be the Duke of Orlйans, proposed by Marquis de Lafayette, who was crowned on August 7, 1830. The upper-bourgeoisie - merchants, bankers, and industrialists - benefited most from the new system. To them, this new system was to be the end of political progress. After the revolution of 1830, liberalism became the governmental doctrine that was only interested to preserve the status quo. Liberalism in Britain: In England the Tory government had already begun to liberalize in the decade preceding the July Revolution in Paris. The Tory party had reduced tariffs and allowed British colonies to trade with countries other than Britain. Skilled workers were now permitted to emigrate and industrial manufacturers could export machinery, thus revealing British industrial secrets. These measures came very close to the liberal ideal of free trade. The Tories did not only liberalize the economy, but they had also started to reform some social aspects of society as well, notably in the direction of freedom of religion. Permitting Protestants to hold and run for public office had extensively reduced the power of the Church of England. From now on Catholics received the same rights as others. The introduction of an official police force, that was to keep protests, angry crowds, and occasional riots under control, was unprecedented in any European country. The main injustice in Britain, at that time, was the unequal distribution of representation of the people in the House of Commons. "It was estimated that in about 1820 less than 500 men, most of them members of the House of Lords, really selected the majority of the House of Commons". As a consequence, of the Industrial Revolution the population was shifting considerably to the north, while the population used to be concentrated predominantly in the south. However, no new boroughs (urban centers having the right to elect members of Parliament) had been created, since 1688, to the displeasure of the northern industrial urban centers. In 1830, probably influenced by the July Revolution in Paris, the issue of reforming the House of Commons was raised again by the minority party, the Whigs. As an answer to the enormous outburst by the Duke of Wellington, in defense of the existing system, a Whig ministry took over the government. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass the Commons and the ministry resigned. Fearing popular revolt, the Tories refused to form a new government. The Whigs returned and now the bill did pass the House of Commons, but it stranded in the House of Lords. The country was on the eve of a revolution if the bill would not become law. The Whigs went to the king with this argument trying to persuade him to create enough new Lords to change the majority of the House of Lords in favor of the Whigs. The Lords surrendered and they approved the bill. In April 1832, the bill finally became law. The new law was a typical British creation. In stead of adopting the new ideas of the French - that each representative should represent approximately the same number of voters - they preferred to make some alteration in the existing system. The property owners and their principal employees - doctors, lawyers, etc.- would under the new law, elect the members of the House of Commons. The new law came down to the redistribution of votes, not to a substantial enlargement of the electoral body (from 500,000 to about 813,000). Conclusion: In my opinion, the influence of the liberals in France should have been far greater than that of the liberals in England, because the liberals in France had obtained the control over the government. Therefore, it would seem to be easier for them to institute legal measures to benefit their political and economical ideologies. However, they refused to adopt and implement the successful English policies. Consequently, the main difference between the two countries remained that England continued to flourish and easily be the leader of the world economy. In England, the control of government by the Tory party, after 1832, reduced the influence of capitalism on society. Consequently, legislation was passed to somewhat protect the workers against the continuing lust for profit of their employers. This contrary to France where only the most well to do were in control of politics not much was done to relieve the condition of labor. Concluding I believe that, in England, even though the liberals did not have direct influence on the course of politics, English society did come very close to some of the liberal ideals, e.g. constitutional monarchy, emigration of skilled workers, colonies trading with other countries, etc. It is, therefore, fair to say that, although the liberals did not have the direct influence on public policies, the influence exerted by the liberalist ideologies was far greater than in France.