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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According to Galbi (1994), in Britain about two out of three of workers in 143 water-powered cotton factories were children in 1788. Stearns(1998) states that as a consequence of Revolution, around three quarter of early workers are children and women. It could be due to several reasons. First, employers could pay children less money than adults even if their productive forces were equally (Dean, 1983). Secondly, as Sadler states that compare to adults, children are easier to control (Galbi, 1994). As the machine was totally new and adult labourers were lack of experience, employers regards that children were much easier to adapt the new methods and operate machine than adults (Galbi, 1994). This lead to the child labour became major choice for manufactory business in the early year of the Industrial Revolution. And according to Stearns (1998), employers also sent children to work in mines, as they were capable to get more coal and ore from the deep and unsafe cave. Above all, children also could be forced to work as long as adults, about eighteen hours one day (Galbi, 1994). To conclude these reasons, children were treated like adult labour to work manufactories, making part of the increasing and beneficial business. In result, children were most likely lack of education, also suffered from maldevelopment (Stearns, 1998).
In the early year of Industrial Revolution, the working conditions were extremely harsh