Middle Class and Class Structure Essay

Submitted By purplebuddy813
Words: 2130
Pages: 9

The Factory System The factory system was a new way of organizing labor made necessary by the development of machines which were too large to house in a worker's cottage. Furthermore, the efficient use of the new machines required that many of them be installed together where they could all be driven by the same power source. Therefore, workers' homes became separately located from their place of work. All brought together under one roof, it was considerably easier for the factory owner to supervise and closely regulate their workers. Ruthless competition between owners (capitalists) motivated them to reduce costs and maximize productivity in every way. That meant imposing long hours, low wages, and unsatisfactory, even dangerous working conditions upon the workers. It also meant employing child labor and women's labor because the wages were lower and the work to be done often required little skill. Working hours were as long as they had been for the farmer, that is, from dawn to dusk, six days per week. Hours were regulated with precision by the factory clock to ensure that a full measure of work was performed. Wages were so low that entire families; father, mother, and children had to work in order that the family might survive at a bare subsistence level. The cruelest form of employment was that of children taken from orphanges or otherwise abandoned. For these unfortunates had no adult to afford them some degree protection from exploitation. The work performed was monotonous and often dangerous. Children employed in coal mines, pushing or pulling coal carts, grew up stunted in growth, and died at an early age, usually by their twentieth year. While capitalists were gaining increased political power as a result of the liberal revolution, the workers had no political power or influence. When workers tried to organize into the first labor unions, these were often outlawed by a government controlled by capitalists. These circumstances encouraged the development of the socialist ideology. It also led to the English reform movement.

What was the factory system and why did it develop? What were its effects?
The factory system was a method of manufacturing which had first started in England at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1750s. Furthermore, each worker performed a separate operation on the work, thus increasing the efficiency of production. Workers and machines were brought together in a central factory building or buildings specially designed to handle the machinery and flow of materials. Although all work was usually done under one roof in the earliest factories, eventually different processes were often performed in different buildings. In addition,workers were paid wages that could be in the form of money or a combination of money, housing, meals or goods from a company store. However, the rise of the factory came somewhat later when cotton spinning was mechanized. Much manufacturing in the 18th century was carried out in homes under the domestic or putting-out system, especially the weaving of cloth and spinning of thread and yarn, often with just a single loom or spinning wheel. As these devices were mechanised, they replaced the cottagers, who were forced to work in a central factory. Other products such as nails had long been produced in factory workshops, increasingly diversified using the division of labour to increase the efficiency of the system.

The Family and Class Structure in mid-19th Century Europe
After a period of approximately a century (1750-1850) of instability in families, due to the transition of industry, a new stable pattern emerged. The Middle Class, although still a minority, was beginning to have a profound impact on values, even beyond the members of its own class. The new industrial age had separated the home from the workplace. This encouraged a more precise definition of the roles of women and men. While men were supposed…