Evaluate the Social consequences of the Industrial revolution in the period 1815-1848, with specific reference to two of the following: Great Britain, France, The German States, The Netherlands/Belgium.
In Western Europe, small scale manufacturing had been the norm for centuries. The economy depended greatly on the production of tools, pots and pans by men and women working in small scale workshops. In the early 1800s; however, the industrial revolution transformed the way many Europeans lived. More sophisticated banking systems made it easier for entrepreneurs to acquire the capital required to produce goods on a larger scale. Europe underwent a period of rapid urbanization at this time as the number of people living in cities and towns increased rapidly with the development of the railroad and steamship, better roads also helped to expand the market.
But what was the human cost of such a rapid transformation? “Poor migrants flooded into ...view middle of the document...
The people most affected were those whose destiny it was to spend their lives digging the coal or operating the machines in factories. This was probably the biggest changes to occupation or in physical environment humans would ever have faced. Factories tended to be located in towns and cities near the sources of coal, also in towns or cities a labour supply was more readily available. The growth of these industrial cities was very rapid indeed between 1801 and 1850, for example, the population of Manchester grew by 226,000 and Liverpool grew by 315,000 in the same period. With the increase in overseas trade Port cities also expanded. Britain and other European countries affected by industrialization underwent vast internal migrations. For those migrants that came directly from the countryside considerable adjustment was required; psychologically. Charles Dickens (1812-1870) caught the atmosphere of these depressing industrial cities in his novel hard Times. Statistical information from this period shows the impact these conditions had on families. Rates of suicide, insanity, and crimes were higher in cities than in rural areas, there were also twice as many illegitimate births. When the migrants moved to the cities initially they had remained attached to their rural roots in some capacity and often returned home to their village at harvest times, overtime however; the ratio between city dwellers and country dwellers shifted and by the middle of the 19th century the British population was half urban
Living conditions were increasingly deplorable in these cities. Edwin Chadwick who was responsible for some early public-health legislation passed in Great Britain, described conditions in Leeds in 1842, he said”The surface of these streets is considerably elevated by accumulated ashes and filth. Untouched by any scavenger”
[ 1 ]. Merriman p514
[ 2 ]. Hobsbawn p42
[ 3 ]. Breunig and Levinger p 141
[ 4 ]. Breunig and Levinger pp 140,141
[ 5 ]. Breunig and Levinger p 143