• The social changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution were significant
    • The Industrial Revolution brought with it an increase in population and urbanization, as well as new social classes

The poor living conditions in the towns can be traced to:

  • Lack of good brick, the absence of building codes, and the lack of machinery for public sanitation.
  • The factory owners’ tendency to regard laborers as commodities and not as a group of human beings.
  • The Industrial Revolution created a new working class
  • The new class of industrial workers included all the men, women, and children laboring in the textile mills, pottery works, and mines
  • Wages were low, hours were long, and working conditions unpleasant and dangerous
  • Women and children regardless of where they worked had the most exploitative working condition and the lowest rates of pay.

Conditions in City Life

  • People flooded into cities from the countryside in hopes of finding jobs.
  • Exclusive neighborhoods were built for the wealthy bourgeoisie, while the working poor was forced to live in the ghettos
  • The poor were forced to tolerate intrusions even at the most intimate times.
  • People were used to work and home being in the same place and it was normal for parents and children to work together
  • Working day ranged from 12 to 16 hours
  • As many as 8 to 10 people would share one room, families and single people of both genders would sleep together.
  • Houses were built in rows or in squares with a common courtyard, in which there might be a water tap and a common toilet.
  • There was little access to fresh air and little provision for clean water or removal of refuse, including human waste.
  • When production was in demand, workers would work extremely hard for long hours.
  • When the market was slow, they worked at a more leisurely pace.
  • Employers imposed fines and penalties for lateness, interruptions in work, and absenteeism.

Social structure as a result of Industrial Revolution

  • An increase in the standard of living eventually resulted from urbanization
  • Gaps between the wealthy and working-class still remained enormous
  • Industrial and urban development made society more diverse and less unified
  • Diversity within the middle class
  • Upper middle class: bankers, industrial leaders, large-scale commerce
  • Diversified middle class: businessmen, professionals, merchants, doctors, and lawyers
  • Lower middle class: independent shopkeepers and small traders
  • Working-class: about 80% of the population
  • Many were peasants and hired hands (especially in Eastern Europe)
  • Less unified and homogeneous compared to the middle classes
  • Highly skilled workers were at the top of the working-class (about 15% of pop.)
  • Semi-skilled workers: carpentry, bricklaying, successful factory workers
  • Unskilled workers and domestic servants were at the bottom.

Changing family

  • Romantic love was the most important reason for marriage by 1850
  • After 1850 the work of most wives made them increasingly distinct and separate from their husbands.
  • Middle-class women began to organize and resist their second-class status to husbands
  • Child-rearing was more child-centered with the wife dominating the home domain.
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


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