During the Industrial Revolution inventions and methods were put in place that, without them, our world would be entirely different. The Industrial Revolution was not worth the cost to society due to pollution and work creating health problems, all of the hardships not only in factories, but also in mines, and the workers living and working in horrible conditions. These issues killed, injured, and separated families. Disease accounted for numerous deaths during the Industrial Revolution. With a lack of sanitary systems and no knowledge about what caused diseases, diseases such as cholera, typhoid, typhus, tuberculosis, and smallpox spread through industrial cities. (Reading16) As more people moved to cities the problem got worse. All of the new factories using steam engines to power their machines produced pollution, this pollution covered houses and building in black and grey, caused breathing problems for the whole city, and contaminated water ways. (Reading 10)
In Great Britain an out Break of Cholera in 1831-1832 killed about 7,000 people, and another in 1848-49 killed 15,000, during the Industrial Revolution cholera alone killed over 22,000 people just in Britain.( Reading 16) Cholera as well as Typhoid are caused by contaminated or infected water being spread through the drinking sources and into bodies. Another devastating disease was Typhus, this disease was spread around by lice, which were greatly infested in industrial cities. Smallpox, as if people need one more thing to deal with, was also occurring during the revolution. Edward Jenner’s vaccine was nearly useless because “many in the industrial cities were ignorant of the fact that Jenner had developed a vaccine.” (Reading 16)
Also the crowded apartments in the cities were a perfect place for smallpox. The biggest killer in Britain though was tuberculosis, this disease was cause by air pollution and spread through the air from an infected person. Tuberculosis caused one-third of the human deaths from 1800-1850. This disease makes the victim literally cough up a lung. Other health problems, unrelated to pollution are the height of the workers, who sit on the machines all day in unnatural positions, are lowered, their limbs are smaller, and their legs are bowing causing physical deformities.( Reading 8)
These factories were dangerous to say the least. They were not designed for the worker, they were designed to make the most profit as quickly as possible. The machines had no protection for the workers, if a person got one of their limbs caught in a machine it would rip it off. Employers had children, who worked for little to no pay climb under the machines while operating and gather together little scraps of cotton, or thread or whatever the industry happened to produce. (Readings 6 and 12) During the Industrial Revolution, the children of the families had their situation go from bad to worse.
In rural areas, children would have worked long hours with hard work for their families, but in the cities, they worked longer hours with harder work for other people. Harsher treatment, fewer rewards and more sickness and injury came from child labor. Child labor was normal, and many of the children were horribly injured, caught lung diseases from breathing in soot, lint, sawdust, or died. The factories were freezing cold in the winter and burning hot in the summer time, caused by poor ventilation systems. The working class was treated like disposable objects made to work in dangerous factories.
In the mines a “hurrier” carried the coal from the face, where the coal was cut, to the horse ways (Reading 3), here a “hurrier” describes the conditions “I have a belt round my waist, and a chain passing between my legs, and I go on my hands and feet. The road is very steep, and we have to hold by a rope, and when there is no rope, by anything we can catch hold of. There about six women and about six boys and girls in the pit I work in; it is very hard work or a woman. The pit is very wet where I work, and the water comes over our clog-tops, always, and I have seen it up to my thighs; it rains at the roof terribly. My clothes are wet through almost all day long (Reading 4) In this excerpt a Six year old girl tells what she does in the mines, “I have been down six weeks and make 10 to 14 rakes a day; I carry a full 56 lbs. of coal in a wooden bucket.”(Reading 5) A mine worker states the food and break they get for each day, “We have dinner at noon. We have dry bread and nothing else. There is water in the pit but we don’t sup it.”(Reading 5)
The people who worked in factories, because they were paid too little, were forced to live in slums, cellars, alleys, (Reading 20) and outside the factory where they worked. The houses that they did have were packed very closely together, covered in soot, crumbling with age, and having holes in the wall instead of windows. These one room cabins were shared by several people and had only dirt floors. Their roads and surroundings were riddled with holes, filthy and covered in trash, and strewn with animal and vegetable waste. (Reading 20)
The working adult men’s wages would have been about 15 shillings. In 1842, city workers were only expected to live to be 17 years old verses living to 38 in the country. (Reading 2) Children were especially underdeveloped by lack of sleep and poor nutrition. They never went to school. (Reading 13) The hours of a workers shift stopped them from having time with their family before or after work, as stated “My cousin looks after my children in the day time. I am very tired when I get home at night; I fall asleep sometimes before I get washed.” (Reading 4)
Even though theses hardships gave us all this wonderful technology that we have today, such as computers, cars, phones, all these things we take for granted today, came at too great of a price. The Industrial Revolution was not worth the costs to society due to pollution and work creating health problems, all of the hardships not only in factories, but also in mines, and the workers living and working in horrible conditions. These issues killed, injured, and separated families. The suffering, separation, hurt, and lives lost during the industrial revolution was not worth it, even for all we got out of it.
Courtney from Study Moose
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