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The Industrial Revolution Impact on European Society

The Industrial Revolution is a remarkable turning point not only in European history but also in the whole world’s faith. In the middle of the 18th century, crucial changes started to happen in Great Britain and then spread the influence on the other countries and empires.1 Working processes were becoming more automatized, and human and animal labor was no longer as widespread as before. Appeared technological advances allowed to develop the faster and modified communication that was one of the reasons for the urbanization and industrialization of the society. The Industrial Revolution also impacted the social classes by making some of the people wealthier and giving opportunities for the evolvement, while the others experienced additional struggles. Every aspect of social life went through changes and renovations, adapting to the new conditions of the modern world.

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Thus, this essay aims to analyze the influence of the Industrial Revolution on European societies, focusing on the modified working processes, shifting in social classes, technology, and improved communication.

One of the most remarkable features of the Industrial Revolution is the progress in technological development and its implementation in the many spheres of society’s life. The steam engine significantly contributed to the automatization of the manufactory and increased its efficacy. Along with the changing process in the production industry, the new technologies also impacted transportation. This was the period when the first railways appeared, and trains became a new effective means of transportation for cargo and passengers.2 The iron industry experienced the rise during the Industrial Revolution since, instead of charcoal, steam provided it with more effective and fast production methods.3 Moreover, it was conditioned by the growth in demand for new machines and mechanisms so that both fields supplemented each other. However, with the shift in the way the factories started producing goods, workers had to undergo some turns in their working positions as well.

The appearance of the new type of transportation also contributed to the changes in communication. It was the first time the country identified the different time zones and applied them to the schedule of the train.4 Thus, the continent had its specific time zone very soon because of railway transportation. Still, the most revolutionary invention in communication was the telegraph. Although, at first it was used only for the railway station to inform about any changes or crucial details regarding the train’s movement. Soon telegraph became a publicly accessible device to exchange messages between people even at a long distance. This new invention gave an opportunity for people to deliver and receive letters almost immediately during the time they were sent and influenced the approach towards communication in a positive way. It was the first alternative that made the process of delivering the messages faster than by postman or riding on a horse.

Although, it may seem that with the coming of new technologies and the automatizations of the factories, the workers should have received the opportunity for the new probably more decent and well-paid position. However, the situation with the working conditions became worse over time. The factories owners aimed to create the easiest ways for the machines to operate and produce goods, but they had a certain purpose for that. The entrepreneurs and management wanted to hire the unskilled cheap labor force for them to understand how to deal with the machinery mechanisms quickly; that is why the process had to be simplified as much as possible.

Consequently, workers had to face more disturbing and unethical working conditions than before. They had to work for 12-14 hours with a brief period for break six times a week. It was also very damaging for the health due to the physical loads and the anti-sanitary.5 At the same time, women became much more demanded in the manufacturer field due to the fact that their labor has cost less than the men’s. Moreover, even children were suffering from the exploitation of their work. Underaged was involved in the labor equal to the adults thought history, and with the Industrial Revolution, the situation changed negatively. Factories owners were hiring more children, especially for cotton production. Due to their small size and soft touches, they could perform the duties more skillfully.6 However, the defining criteria were that child labor was the cheapest and cost very little compared to the wage of a man or even a woman.

There was another aspect brought by the Industrial Revolution that negatively affected workers’ lives – social classes. Before the time when the innovations in Great Britain began, the term “social class’ implied belonging to a certain group of people whose status was initially defined by birth.7 Although in the new era, those with lower income realized that their position in society is defined by their economic state and their place in the social hierarchy. In turn, the representers of the rich segment recognized their wealth and resources, united them, and gave them a particular amount of power.

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As a consequence, the workers and people with no higher education or specific skills become heavily exploited. At the same time emerges the middle class, which represents people of respectable professions with the average income. Such specialists as lawyers, accountants, or engineers become valuable for the new building society.8 It is connected to the increase in the number of entrepreneurs creating their businesses with the help of their already own savings and wealth. Another group also faced the threat of being exposed to the new social class conditions and experienced losses because of it. The owners of the small shops that were managing their businesses in an old manner and were not adapted to the new reality were experiencing challenging times since they could not find a place in either of the appeared classes.

Overall, the Industrial Revolution brought many changes to the society of that time and undoubtedly made a massive impact on the current world. The appearance of the new technologies allowed the people to increase the productivity and speed of production. The appearance of railways improved the cargo and with the time passengers’ transactions giving a possibility to the last ones to move more quickly and effectively through the continent. In addition, communication reached a new level of development when the telegraph was invented, and the population could almost immediately exchange messages. However, there were negative implications regarding the emergence of the social classes, which contributed to the downgrade in working conditions for unskilled labor. Although everything evolved even further and undergone certain shifts, the events that happened at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution set the foundation for the following processes and determined the state of the modern world.

Bibliography

Industrial Revolution”. History. 2019. Web.

Chapter 2: The Industrial Revolution”. NSCC. Web.

Footnotes

  1. “Industrial Revolution,” History. 2019. Web.
  2. See note 1 above.
  3. See note 1 above.
  4. “Chapter 2: The Industrial Revolution,” NSCC. Web.
  5. “Chapter 2: The Industrial Revolution,” NSCC. Web.
  6. “Industrial Revolution,” History. Web.
  7. See note 6 above.
  8. See note 5 above.

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StudyCorgi. "The Industrial Revolution Impact on European Society." January 15, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/the-industrial-revolution-impact-on-european-society/.

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StudyCorgi. 2023. "The Industrial Revolution Impact on European Society." January 15, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/the-industrial-revolution-impact-on-european-society/.

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StudyCorgi. (2023) 'The Industrial Revolution Impact on European Society'. 15 January.

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