SOCIAL IMPACT OF THE (FIRST) INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION


The Industrial Revolution had beside changes in production processes also great impact on social relations in industrial states. With accumulation of capital in hands of an individuals emerged influential middle class of industrialists and businessmen on the one hand and a lower social class of industrial working class.

Mechanization in industry led to evident distribution of work in single production processes and also in the course of production. Working procedures were simplified and knowledge could be less extensive so industrialists could also employ women and children.

Extremely long working hours, required high efficiency, bad hygienic and living conditions caused bigger mortality among factory workers in compare with other professions. For that reason British government limited work of women and children already in 1833, while Germany followed in 1839.

Harsh working and living conditions of factory workers led latter to organise themselves into different movements. At first were those movement oriented against the new machines in textile industry which threatened their livelihood (Luddites).

Early protests and demonstrations of workers were faced with big opposition. Demonstrations of craftsman and workers in St Peters field in Manchester in 1819 ended with military intervention and numerous dead and wounded. In 1838 British workers first organized a political movement known as Chartism and in People's Charter of 1838 demanded an electoral and social reform.