• 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.


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