Industrial Revolution: Pros and Cons in th Century England

Before the 18th century, the life of an average person revolved around farming. But by the 18th century, Britain, the leading colonial power at the time, became more powerful with the natural resources that were manufactured. Many inventions were created during the Industrial Revolution that greatly improved England. However, the working conditions given to the workers were unfair, the effects of having such conditions to work in the factory life were not as considerable, and the effects of the Industrial Revolution such as the growing gap between the working class and the upper class were not the best results that were expected.

Therefore, the material benefits of the Industrial Revolution did not outweigh its social costs to England. One of the reasons why the material benefits of the Industrial Revolution did not outweigh its social costs to England was the working conditions the factory workers were given. The laborers were were in a deteriorating state, caused by the rules that restricted them tremendously.

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In Document 1 (Testimony Before Parliamentary Committees on Working Conditions in England), it shows the trials that were given to workers in various industries, such as the textile mills, silk mills, and the coal mines. Their statements depict a vivid picture of what the working conditions were like at the time.

The investigations of the laborers showed that they had worked for long, extensive hours but for a very low wage. The capitalists were very strict when it came to the workers, and did not care for the physical being of the workers.

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They also described how their industry would survive, depending on how much labor has been done by the employees themselves. It also proved that not only men had jobs, but countless of children and women had worked in the mines and mills also. In Document 4 (Factory Rules from the Foundry and Engineering Works of the Royal Overseas Trading Company), it displays the rigorous discipline the capitalists gave to the workers so that the new industries could succeed. They were 2 really strict about coming to work on time, as most of the industries started to work very early in the morning, and were dismissed rather very late at night.

The employees were to obey the overseers (people who supervised the workers) and were to never question them or the labor they were given. The conduct and discipline of the factory rules were to enforce the daily life of the laborers, from their factory life to their own personal life. The capitalists stressed on their conduct so that their industry’s profit would increase, because the more they worked longer with little to no breaks, the higher the money the employers earned from the industry. In Document 6 (Hard Times by Charles Dickens), he protests the brutal and dehumanizing conditions of the people who worked in the factories.

With his fictional factory town called Coketown, he described how they spent their early morning in the eyes of a factory worker. Having to start very early in the day, he depicts the situation with a gloomy, dark setting. He explained that there is knowledge on the power of the machine, but the working conditions that were given could question the capacity of the worker’s ability and the good and bad qualities of their life, such as love or hatred and patriotism or discontent. All in all, the conditions of labor were very stressful, and the industry heavily depended on the workers to do the job. With the long hours, low wages and hard jobs the laborers had to do, the health conditions of the laborers had deteriorated, or had been severely injured by their job.

The effect of the working conditions were that the employees’ physical and sometimes mental health worsened as they protested for themselves against the capitalists. Because of these working conditions, many tried to find a way of how to live better. In Document 5 (Self-Help and Thrift), Samuel Smiles gives advice about how to achieve success to the middle-class workers. He knew that the government was negative and restrictive rather than positive and active. Although he encourages that labor improves the progress of individuals, it is only successful when it is involved with their positive habits.

In Document 3 (The Division of Labor), Adam Smith expresses that with the great benefits that came with the division of labor (the system in which each worker performs a single set task or a single step in the manufacturing process), also comes with the consequence of having a greater increase of the quantity of work. Because of this process, the workers worked more often as they were to produce more and more of their products. This caused them to stress on themselves on their labor. As workers find a way to achieve help about their work, they realized that the capitalists were being harsh on them.

The conditions of labor had led to the negative effects of the Industrial Revolution. The system that has its industry and trade controlled by private owners for profit was capitalism; the system that carried out the Industrial Revolution. Because of capitalism, the rich, such as the upper class and the capitalists, became more rich, and the poor, such as the working class, were stuck in the state of poverty; if not, they had become more poor. In Document 2 (The Communist Manifesto), Karl Marx, with the help of his coauthor Friedrich Engels, predicted that the worker’s revolution would arise. Rejecting the idea of capitalism, he promoted communism.

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Industrial Revolution: Pros and Cons in th Century England. (2023, Apr 05). Retrieved from

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