Gender Paper

1903 words - 8 pages

The Industrial Revolution happened around the period of 1750 to 1850. It was a period of rapid economic and social changes. Great inventions were being made that led the way in a shift from human production of labor to machines. There was a great shift from the agricultural towards commercial attitudes. Farms specialized in one crop in order to be more productive which helped lead to an agricultural boom but which greatly affected rural poor. The rural poor had relied on the old open field system and with the privatization of fields they were deprived of a previous source of food. With the agricultural boom land was power and those without were forced to the factories that were popping up ...view middle of the document...

there was a belief that if you worked hard than even the poorest social classes could rise to the top. This ideal is seen in the works of Samuel Smiles who wrote Self-Help, which he published himself in 1859. Smiles was Scottish and his book was written to help people better their conditions. One of the benefits he saw from the industrial revolution was that it was “helping and stimulating men to elevate and improve themselves by their own free and independent individual action.” (96) he saw that man should “govern himself from within.” and he did this by “Means of individual action.” (96)His later book Thrift which was published in 1875, and expands on the ideas of Self-Help, stated “Industry enables men to earn their living; it should also enable them to learn to live.” (97) The industrial revolution was putting power in the hands of the people by labor and Smiles claimed that “All that is great in man comes of labor” such as “greatness in art, in literature , in science.” With factories rising up all over Britain, there were jobs to be had. To smiles this was a benefit because labor gave the individual power. “Knowledge” he states “is only acquired through labor.”(97) Just as labor opportunities are arising and giving individuals from all ranks of society Social mobility. The old estates society was out and in its place was a new class based on wealthy and means of production.
Another key benefit was the increase in productivity. “In 1812, one women could spin as much thread as 200 women had in 1770.” This along with “wave after wave of technological innovation” helped lead to “the simultaneous effects of cutting cost and improving quality.” (627).
Many problems arise out of the industrial revolution. Children and women were being pulled into the factory because they were a cheaper labor source than men and there they were badly mistreated. It was estimated that in the cotton industry around “40-45 percent of the labor force” were “children and adolescents under eighteen.” (98)
Michael Thomas Sadler who was in the chairman of the parliamentary committee in England was so appalled by British factory conditions, primarily in the treatment of children that he had an investigation of the situation sent out in 1832. Sadler Commissions was the name of the document he published concerning his report on child labor. In an interview with Mr. Matthew Crabtree a man of 22 who had worked in the factory from ages 8-12, Sadler interviews him to see the nature of how children and women were treated. Crabtree says they work “From 6 in the morning to 8 at night.” Their only breaking coming for “an hour at noon.” (98) He states he was “commonly beaten” and sometimes “very severely.” The conditions greatly affected his health as he felt “fatigued at night.” While sometimes being so sick “I could not eat, and what i did eat I vomited. Crabtree says that the children have a hard time keeping up with the machine which makes it difficult early in the morning...

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