Effects of the Industrial Revolution


 Population Increase

 The Industrial Revolution brought with it an increase 

 in population and urbanization, as well as new social 

 classes. The increase in population was nothing short 

 of dramatic. England and Germany showed a growth 

 rate of something more than one percent annually; at 

 this rate the population would double in about seventy

 years. In the United States the increase was more than 

 three percent, which might have been disastrous had it 

 not been for a practically empty continent and fabulous natural resources. Only the population of France 

 tended to remain static after the eighteenth century. The general population increase was aided by a 

 greater supply of  food made available by the Agricultural Revolution, and by the growth of medical 

 science and public health measures which decreased the death rate and added to the population base.


                                                                                                      Until the Industrial Revolution, most of the world's 

                                                                                                      population was rural. However, by mid-nineteenth 

                                                                                                      century, half of the English people lived in cities, 

                                                                                                      and by the end of the century, the same was true 

                                                                                                      of other European countries. Between 1800 and 

                                                                                                     1950 most large European cities exhibited 

                                                                                                     spectacular growth. At the beginning of the 

nineteenth century there were scarcely two dozen cities in Europe with a population of 100,000, but by 1900 

there were more than 150 cities of this size. The rise of great cities can be accounted for in various ways:

First, industrialization called for the concentration of a work force; and indeed, the factories themselves were 

often located where coal or some other essential material was available, as the Ruhr in Germany and Lille in 

northern France. Second, the necessity for marketing finished goods created great urban centers where there 

was access to water or railways. Such was the case with Liverpool, Hamburg, Marseilles, and New York.

And third, there was a natural tendency for established political centers such as London, Paris, and Berlin to 

become centers fort he banking and marketing functions of the new industrialism. Rapid growth of the cities 

was not an unmixed blessing. The factory towns of England tended to become rookeries of jerry-built

tenements, while the mining towns became long monotonous rows of company-built cottages, furnishing 

minimal shelter and little more. The bad 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. But, it must be added, they 

were also due to the factory owners' tendency to regard laborers as commodities and not as a group of 

human beings.


Creation of a New Working Classes

In addition to a new factory-owning bourgeoisie, 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. Often skilled artisans found themselves degraded to routine process laborers 

as machines began to mass produce the products formerly made by hand. Generally speaking, wages 

were low, hours were long, and working conditions unpleasant and dangerous. It was common for very

young children to be working for over twelve hours a day. 

The youngest children in the textile factories were usually employed 

as scavengers and piecers. Scavengers had to pick up the loose 

cotton from under the machinery. This was extremely dangerous 

as the children were expected to carry out the task while the machine 

was still working. Factory owners were responsible for providing 

their pauper apprentices with food. Children constantly complained 

about the quality of the food. In most textile mills the children had to 

eat their meals while still working. This meant that the food tended to get covered with

the dust from the cloth. Many parents were unwilling to allow their children to work in these new textile factories. 

To overcome this labour shortage factory owners had to find other ways of obtaining workers. One solution to 

the problem was to obtain children from orphanages and workhouses. These children became known as pauper 

apprentices. This involved them signing contracts that virtually made them the property of the factory owner. 

Children who worked long hours in the textile mills became very tired and found it difficult to maintain the 

speed required by the overlookers. Children were usually hit with a strap to make them work faster. In some

factories children were dipped head first into the water cistern if they became drowsy. Children were also 

punished for arriving late for work and for talking to the other children. Parish apprentices who ran away 

from the factory was in danger of being sent to prison.

Children who were considered potential runaways were placed in irons. The industrial workers had helped to 

pass the Reform Bill of 1832, but they had not been enfranchised by it. Child labour was a very serious problem 

during the Industrial Revolution.


Rise of New Ideas

Workers' suffering gave rise to socialism. After the London Congress of the Communists League, Marx and 

Engels worked to write the organization's manifesto. It was completed in December 1847. In January 1848, 

it was approved by the Central Authority of the Communist League. In February 1848, it was first printed 

(in German) at League member J. E. Burghard's London printshop (46 Liverpool Street). In this book, he 

spread the kind of socialist ideas called communism. He taught workers to overthrow capitalist

governments. This was to build communist governments under workers' rule. Some radical socialists followed 

Marx's ideas. In 1917, they set up the world's first socialist government in Russia.



The process of the First Modernization took about 210 years (1763-1970). Between the 14th to 17th century, 

the Renaissance, Science Revolution and Awaken Motion promoted the development and distribution of 

science and scientific spirit, which is the foundation of the Industrial Revolution. The first Industrial Revolution 

took place in the period of 1763 to 1870. The second Industrial Revolution took place in the period of 1871

to 1913, and science had the direct impacts, such as the new industries of chemical, electric and the internal 

combustion engine were based on sciences. The modern universities, research institutes and laboratories

in the industry not only pushed the progress of science and technology, but also speeded the process of 

the modernization.