Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution (254-258)


  • Urbanization: movement of people to cities
  • Tenement: multistory buildings divided into apartments
  • Labor Union: workers' organizations


  • For entrepreneurs that began their own businesses the Industrial Revolution brought wealth.
  • For millions of the new factory workers the Industrial Revolution brought on poverty, and poor living conditions.
  • The Revolution was known as one of the worst abuses in Europe and the Americas
  • When standards of living became better people were benefiting from the industrialization. The workers were forced to work in unsafe conditions with little pay leading to the workers poverty.

People Move to New Industrial Cities

  • Towns were growing due to people of rural civilizations migrating to the urban towns (urbanization)
  • living_in_cities_1850.jpg
    An example of this: Manchester's population grew by over 20,000 in just thirty years during the mid to late seventeen hundreds. Due to this the location and distribution of people and labor dramatically changed.

Checkpoint: What led to the massive migration of people from farms to cities?

Answer: In the cities there was more work being offered for those willing to do the harsh labor. The Industrial Revolution also had an output of more goods.

New Social Classes Emerge

  • The Revolution changed the opportunities of the middle class. They were owners and operators of factories, mines, etc.
  • Farmers moved to the cities where they worked in mines and factories, and work ed in harsh conditions.

The Industrial Middle Class

  • The bourgeoisie went from "rags to riches"
  • The middle class dressed, ate, and lived well.
  • Always tried to "get ahead."10.jpg

The Industrial Working Class

  • Poor people were packed into buildings
  • Diseases such as cholera spread easily with rotting garbage in streets and rivers

Workers Stage Futile Protests

  • Labor Unions were illegal but secret groups were created.
  • They wished for increased pay but didn't have the power to change circumstances.
  • In England from 1811-1813 riots broke out, this is the first time industrial riots broke out.
  • Textile workers known as Luddites resisted machines that made textiles easier and faster, which caused them to lose their jobs.
  • John Kay invented a flying shuttle allowed more yarn to be produced faster and with less workers. This machine caused riots to break out.

Workers Find Comfort in Religion

  • The Methodist movement was founded in the mid-1700's by John Wesley
  • Wesley_John_02.jpg He encouraged a personal sense of faith and improving yourself by adopting sober, moral ways
  • Working-class people often found comfort in this movement
  • The movement channeled anger away from Industrial revolution and toward reform

Checkpoint: How did members of the working class react to their new experiences in industrial cities?

Answer: Members of the working class had poor conditions at home and at work. Some rioted for better pay and conditions and many found comfort in religion.

Life in the factories and mines

Factory Workers Face Harsh Conditions

  • Workers worked long hours with shifts lasting from 12 to 16 hours for six to seven days a week.
  • They could only take the factory owners gave permission.
  • Workers suffered accidents from machines that had no safety devices, they risked losing a finger, limb or even their own life.
  • Women were hired more often then men because they believed they adapted more easily to machines and were easier to manage. Yet the factory owners paid the working women only half of what they paid their working men.
  • Children were needed to fit into small working spaces.
  • Death rates were high in factories.
  • During the Industrial Revolution there weren't any laws for employers to have to look after workers.

Miners Face Worse Conditions

  • They worked in darkness, and the dust from the coal destroyed their lungs.hurrier.gif
  • Dangers were everywhere, explosions, flooding, and collapsing tunnels.
  • Then women and children carted around heavy loads of coal, sometimes on all fours in low passages.
  • James Watt invented a steam engine to create additional energy, later developed for mining industry to create greater amounts of coal.

Children Have Dangerous Jobs

  • Started working at ages of seven or eight or as young as five
  • Their jobs were to change the spools for the textile mills in hot and humid
    weather conditions
  • Children would have to crawl under broken machinery to repair threads in mills
  • In the mines it would be dark all day and would open and close vents for air
  • Miners would haul coal cars in the extreme heat
  • The children worked in these places because without them families would starve
  • "Factory Acts" were put into place in the early 1800s to reduce workdays to twelve hours and no children were allowed to work under the ages of eight or nine.


  • More laws were created to shorten women's workdays and make working children have an education

Checkpoint Question: How did the Industrial Revolution affect the lives of men, women, and children?

Answer: Instead of working long hot days in the extreme heat they had laws passed that put hour limits on the days and did not allow children under the ages of eight or nine to work in the cotton mills. Women also got their work days shorter and the children to have an education.

The Results of Industrialization

  • Early 1800s brought terrible hardships because of the Industrial Revolution
  • Labor unions gained the right to bargain workers for better wages, hours they worked, and their working conditions
  • Working-class men got the right to vote, which caused them to gain political power
  • Industrial Revolution created low pay and horrific living conditions
  • It also created mass-production of goods to grow and new factories opened to create more jobs
  • The wages grew so that after people paid for their necessitates they would be able to afford a newspaper or enough to go to a music hall
  • Railroad ticket prices dropped so it allowed more people to visit family in other towns and go more often

Checkpoint Question: Why was the Industrial Revolution seen as both a blessing and a curse?

Answer: It was seen as a blessing because it allowed labor unions or bargain other workers for getting paid better, hours, and working conditions. Also, working-class men had the right to vote and mass-production of goods grew, new factories opened up, which created more jobs.

Practice Quiz Packet:

4. What caused the growth of cities during the Industrial Revolution?

5. Those who benefited most from the Industrial Revolution were...


6. Luddites, who smashed machines in Britain, were groups of...

7. Why did factory workers often prefer to hire women?

8. What was one hazard of working in textile factories

9. In the 1830's and 1840's, British inspectors made sure that...

10. One positive effect of the Industrial Revolution was...