The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on British Society and Economy

2053 Words Mar 19th, 2012 9 Pages
The impact of the Industrial Revolution on British society and economy
There is no doubt that the Industrial Revolution plays a central role in the modern British history. The structure of British society has forever changed by the impact and consequences of Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution is often stated as the increase of the number of factories, the exercise of steam power in a wide range of area and the mass-production produced by new technology in the course of 1750 to 1850 (Lane, 1978: 72). Engles (1986: 37) argued that the Industrial Revolution’s mainly development were the invention of the steam engine and the cotton industry. As the improvement of technology, the steam engine could produce more power with less
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People often lived and worked in family unit, presenting everything by their own hand. Porter (1999) points out that around 75% British lived in the village, and most people ensure their life by farming. As a result of the Industrial Revolution, this situation no longer continued. The new law required that all owner’s of gazing grounds must afford the expense for fence, which lead to many farmers go bankrupt, at the meantime, many hand weavers unemployed because the new machines capability of produce big amount outputs (Stearns, 1998). Consequently, it forced many people find jobs in new factories, and moved to cities where the factory located (Porter, 1999). It is also important to state that although they worked for long hours, they only get paid little money. As they could not afford the higher living expenses in big cities, they had to move into the slum house. It is necessary to point out that over 12,000 people lived in 1,400 houses, nearly one family shared per room (included about nine people at average) (Engles, 1968: 62). This lead to several distress like air pollution, typhoid and cholera to threaten people’s lives (Stearns, 1998). Dean (1983: 104) also describes that the living conditions were fearful, in the course of early year of Industrial Revolution, over half of children aged under five years old dead because of the infectious