January 9, 2013 [THE INDUSTRIAL AGE]
2 political revolutions: French and American
Also Scientific Revolution taking place
New sources of energy and power rising in popularity: coal and steam. Machines are replacing
animal, human, and water power. Power machinery is also introducing organized labour, and the
type of work done by humans changes. Work is performed in factories (in cities) rather than
farms and rural areas. A shift from emphasis on handicraft to specialized labour. Many early
factories had horrible working conditions.
The steam engines, cotton industries, iron industries, factories, revolutions in communications
and transportations (relating to the railroads for Canadians) defined industrialization.
Social Impacts of the Industrial Revolution
o Population is growing exponentially and almost doubles.
o 2 reasons: Fewer deaths (from famines, epidemics) and better nutrition (there is a general
increase in food supply).
o Great Potato Famine: In summer of 1845, the potato crop in Ireland was struck by
fungus – the most important food source for the Irish. Potatoes turned black and were not
eatable. Between 1845-1851 over 1 million people die of starvation. Almost 2 million
moved out of the country (most to America). Ireland was the only European country with
a decreasing population.
Growth of Cities
o Referring to the cities in relation to industrialization.
o Living conditions were miserable – cities were no longer a place of upper class living.
The elites were moving to the suburbs while the labouring classes move to cities, living
in row houses. Rooms in these houses were quite small and overcrowded. Sanitary
conditions were non-existent, with city streets used as sewers. These houses were a
o The elites see these cities as a danger to society – filthy, diseased, and therefore immoral.
o Urban Reformer: Edwin Chadwick (1800-1890)
Became obsessed with eliminating the squalor of metropolitan areas – wanted to
clean up downtowns, initiating an examination of living conditions. After 3
years, produced a report in 1842. Stated that disease is caused by dirty
conditions and atmospheres, and initiates discussion around public
administration, drainage, improving water supply, etc. He advocated for a
system of modern sanitary reform.
Britain introduces the first public health act in 1848. This included creating a
national board of health, which would create local boards to establish this system.
Industrial Middle Class; “bourgeoisie”
o Karl Marx
o An industrial middle class is created with the introduction of factory systems. This refers
to those who ran and/or owned the factories. By 1850, this class is replaced by a new
business aristocracy – a generational shift. January 9, 2013 [THE INDUSTRIAL AGE]
o This new class now also owns banks, mines, etc.
Abysmal Working Conditions
o Many were working 6 days a week, 10-12 hours/day, had maybe 30 min. unpaid lunch,
and worked without vacation (all year). Employers treated employees harshly.
o Abuse was common, and complainers were replaced – many were looking for work.
There was no sense of union or worker rights at the time.
o Factories were dark, dirty, unsafe, and existed before electrification (used gas and oil).
o Mines were still run by muscle-power, and women and children were best suited for this
line of work as they were smaller – conditions were cramped and damp (affecting the
o Youth were exploited for labour (paid for approx. 1/6 of what men were).
Conclusions about Social Effects
Led to the world as we know it today.
The principles of the scientific explanation were proven – humans can have mastery over nature
(through machinery) leading to prosperity.
Wasn’t without social effects – diminished quality of life, polluted environments, and abysmal
working conditions. This lead to the spread of cholera.
Feces was disposed of in the streets, and human waste in addition to animal waste attracts rats and
bugs. Matter would dry in the sun (in the summer), turned into dust, and inhaled. Winter caused
it to freeze, but it would thaw in the spring and was worse.
15-30 pounds of feces is produced by the average horse every day (do the math).
Butchers disposed of leftovers in streets, and roads were made out of dirt.
As populations grew and filth accumulated, cholera spread across the world via ships.
Cholera breaks out in the Indian sub-content in 1817. It is likely that there were previous
outbreaks, but if they existed, they were not documented. It travels along shipping routes,
reaching Europe by 1831. At this time Europe suffers its first major visit of cholera. Nothing
compares to cholera when talking about the emotional toll of the disease: mortality = 60%.
If contracted, would kill one in a matter of hours (cause of emotional turmoil).
o Infectious disease that attacks the intestinal system of the body.
o Caused by a microorganism that enters via the mouth, attacking