The Industrial Revolution refers to the time period that started in the late 1700’s in Great Britain, spreading throughout Europe and the United States, and lasting around 100 years.
It was a time of sudden expansion in the way that manufacturer’s goods were made, changing them from small local shops and homes and moving them to large factory environments.
This change altered the way people lived and where they lived as more moved away from the rural communities and into the larger cities to find work.
It was also a time that introduced new advances in manufacturing technologies that used iron and coal, new forms of transportation, and new and different lifestyles.
There were two phases of the Industrial Revolution, the first one began in the late 1700’s and lasted to the mid-1800’s.
In this wave we see the new technologies such as the cotton gin that allowed easier and faster cotton crops, combined with steam power in use with locomotives for faster transport of products.
This increase in textile manufacturing played an important role in imports and exports.
The second Industrial Revolution phase began in the mid-1800’s and lasted to the early 1900’s.
It was during his time that we see the start of large factories using mass production for goods and additional innovations such as the production line, the widespread use of electricity, and the start of the process of Bessemer steel.
The northeast New England area is credited for being the starting place for the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. Historians give credit to the 1793 opening of Slater’s Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island as the first official location.
As more factories began to be created, many of those in England brought their knowledge to the U.S. and started lucrative businesses. The U.S. was the most industrialized nation around the globe by the end of the 1800’s.
The amount of changes that happened in society occurred at a really fast rate. People were leaving the farming areas and showing up in large numbers to the cities so that they could work.
This brought rapid overcrowding, pollution, and unsanitary conditions.
The cities weren’t set up to be able to handle sheer volume of people. In many cities, the workers lived in unsafe, poor neighborhoods.
Since there weren’t any laws for pollution or any help for the poor, many people became sick. It was very common for children in families to work in sweat houses, putting in 10 hours a day in hard labor.
Working conditions were governed by the companies that ran the factories and no one was protected. It was quite common for workers, including children, to die on the job.
It took until the end of the 1900’s for the people to rise up against these practices as they formed labor unions. New laws were created to require safe working conditions and working guidelines.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the usual way that people traveled on land was horse and buggy and by large ships when traveling across the ocean.
This all changed with the introduction of railroads, automobiles, and steam boats. Products as well as people now had the ability to travel more quickly anywhere in the world.