From the late 1800s until the early 1900s, Europe was undergoing a huge breakthrough: the Industrial Revolution. Factories began to form in the cities, as well as the country, and offered many jobs throughout Europe. People, however, had mixed feelings about the Industrial Revolution. Though it offered more income for a low-class family, it also urged people to work hard, long hours of dangerous, even deadly, work.
Women and children were even safe from the carnage that was amounted from the Revolution. Through the coal mines, women and children were sometimes used, rather than horses, to carry loads of coal up the mine shaft and sometimes, up the hill. The work load was tremendous, but every bit of money helped. The women would leave their younger children with the neighbors, or an elderly woman if the child was very small, while they took the older ones with them to the mine late at night. Through these long nights, the children made very good use of themselves, as they were able to fit into small places that the men would normally be unable to. 2 These conditions, however, left the families to lose comforts that they may have been used to. Instead of a man coming home in the morning to a warm fire and cooked breakfast, the entire family came home to a cold house, with nothing fixed to eat and everybody terribly exhausted. 3 Along with the lack of comfort, many people frowned upon women, and girls, working alongside boys and men.
The women and men would be working side by side, all wearing the same clothing, if any. One account stated that, “their sex was recognizable only by their breasts, and some little difficulty occasionally arose in pointing out to me which were girls and which were boys. ”4 Apart from the mines, children were also working in factories. According to the Sadler Reports, children who messed up, didn’t work hard enough, or even showed up to work late5, were subject to beatings.
Michael Sadler stated that there were two types of parents6 ; those who had their children work to help out the family, and those who forced their children to work so they could benefit from their children’s earnings. These children were working around machinery that could easily mangle and/or kill them, while some of the parents were sitting back, reaping the benefits from their sown seeds of labor. One of the positions available in the city, as well as the country, was as a journeyman tailor.
In an interview with Mr. Thomas Brownlow, the reader was informed of the horrible working conditions put in place by the management. During the summer, the building would remain 20 degrees warming than outside, suffocating the men inside with unbearable heat and putrid odor. Brownlow stated that though physical harm was attained by the workers, mental states of alcoholism also attributed to a young death rate, some as early as 45 years old. Nevertheless, people still made decent money while working as a tailor.
He knew of one man who had accumulated more than ? 1500 (about ? 125000, adjusting for inflation, as of 2009) by the time he had passed away. 7 Good and bad points are major parts in the Industrial Revolution. Employees were paid decent for their work performed and women were introduced into the workforce. However, the workers were mistreated, beaten, and forced to work in miserable conditions that would be deemed unfit to work in in the modern era. So was the Industrial Revolution a good thing, or another bad deploy of history?
It may have its mixed feelings, but it helped modern civilization reach the point that it’s in today: a time where all citizens can work without discrimination and children cannot work in unsafe positions at very young ages. Bibliography Women in the Coal Mines. Documents of Western Civilization. Edited by Candace Gregory. Sacramento: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. (323). Women in the Coal Mines. Documents of Western Civilization. Edited by Candace Gregory. Sacramento: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. (322) Women in the Coal Mines.
Documents of Western Civilization. Edited by Candace Gregory. Sacramento: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. (323) Women in the Coal Mines. Documents of Western Civilization. Edited by Candace Gregory. Sacramento: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. (325) Sadler, Michael. “An Oration on Child Labor”. Documents of Western Civilization. Edited by Candace Gregory. Sacramento: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. (326-27) Chadwick, Edwin. “Living Conditions of the Working Class”. Documents of Western Civilization. Edited by Candace Gregory. Sacramento: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. (331)