When discussing the impact of the Industrial Revolution, many focus on the effect it had in creating a middle-class and in creating increased wealth and income. Often times, people overlook the impact that the Industrial Revolution had on society as a whole. The Industrial Revolution changed the way that people lived and worked. The life of common people prior to the Industrial Revolution and the life of the common people after the Industrial Revolution was drastically different.
When the Industrial Revolution began towards the end of the 18th century, there were very few laws to regulate industry. This is because everything was just starting. There were no laws designed to prevent children from working in mines or from working in factories. There was very little understanding of the dangers of biohazard waste and the effect that it had on the environment. The force behind the Industrial Revolution was free-market capitalism. As a result, the government had little to no responsibility for regulating industries or for planning new towns that grew up around those industries.
For those who were first introduced to the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, things were difficult. Work hours ranged from 10 to 14 hours a day with little to no paid vacation or holidays. There were different hazards that were a byproduct of the job that these individuals did.
One of the biggest challenges of the start of industrialized work was that many people who entered the industrial environment came out of a society that had a slower pace and country style life. So keeping up with the demands of employers, keeping up with the pace of work, and understanding the discipline required to carry out certain tasks were a challenge for individuals accustomed to village life.
With time, things changed. Regulations were put in place to protect workers. Workers were able to garner rights, and these rights made things safer. Now individuals who work in factories using complex machinery, such as wire tying machines, do so in complete safety. They work decent hours, they are paid a decent wage, and they have time off for vacation and for sick leave.
Modern society owes a debt of gratitude to individuals who first stepped into the Industrial Revolution. The sacrifices they made, the hard work that they did, and their vision for the future played a large role in making society what it is today.