The Industrial Revolution, which was the innovation in the manufacturing industry to increase production, profit, and labor demands in 1750 to 1900. For the rich, this meant more luxuries and better lives, but for the average person, who was generally middle-class to poor, the Industrial Revolution did not do as good to them. The documents provided showed two groups of thinking. The first group thinks that the benefits and safety regulations brought by the Industrial Revolution helped the working class live generally normal lives, as shown in Documents 3, 4, 5, & 6. The other group thinks that due to the Industrial Revolution, the working class lived in poverty due to terrible working conditions and lack of action from the upper classes, like in Documents 1, 2, 7, & 9. While the first group may have the upper class men’s accounts, the second group is what is happening because if this wasn’t true, there wouldn’t have been such an outcry in the early 1900s. Also, the other thinkers are not actually workers, but people who think that they are good by looking at the surface, but the sad truth is not shown.
In Document 5, the ‘Society for Bettering the Conditions and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor’ shows how all 1,500 residents could work, and the 500 children in that group were fed, educated, and clothed by Mr. Dale. They also had a low mortality rate in the community. This, however, was in pamphlets, so the information might not have been totally true, and was used to make them look good. You can see this because they are trying to emphasize the community’s charity work. Similarly, in Document 6, it brags about how cheap and clean the worker’s housing was. This community also took pride in the women’s clothing as well as their clean and orderly lifestyle. However, this does not come from the residents. This probably comes from the upper class trying to advertise the community and get richer. Also, in Document 3, from someone who doesn’t even live there, he says the children were never beaten and were always happy. Since it is from someone who doesn’t work for the factory, this is also probably a small sample compared to the huge problem of child labor.
In contrast, many reports of poverty in the working class as a result of irresponsible actions from employers and disinterest from those who were well-off discuss a much more vivid and harsh reality where workers were placed under cruel conditions. Document 1 provides an insight into the view of one such worker, who has worked for eighteen years for sixteen hours a day. He reports being beaten by his supervisors to keep him awake while he was laboring. Similarly, document 2 is a man who will die within a year because of the factory. He reveals that many children working in these factories die because of the carelessness of the supervisors when working with the machinery. Document 7 shows how unkempt the slums are. They are filthy and unkempt and generally hidden from the view of the general public, and those who live there are workers trying the best they can to live. Though, this was written by a socialist, so this may also be skewed as well. Document 9 is a painting showing actual slums in London, England. You can see smog in the sky and a lady dumping sewage. The entire area is also very narrow and is hidden from the more prominent areas of the city by buildings and bridges. This removes it from the public.
The Industrial Revolution caused many people to form their own views of what is morally right and wrong. The idea of cooperation between the classes creating small healthy communities, the reality of harsh environments created by lazy employees and social inequality adding to the gap between classes, and the hopes that the Industrial Revolution would ultimately bring happiness and prosperity to the world in the years to come are but three states of mind among countless views formulated throughout this period, yet they prove the most relevant today. The world still struggles with similar grievances in the labor force, yet by examining the outcomes of these issues during the period of the Industrial Revolution, we are able to resolve these issues without making the same mistakes as our predecessors.