Thoughts on the Industrial Revolution

Note: This post is part of a WHII course assignment. If you are not a member of the WHII class and have some thoughts to share, feel free to comment below.

As we discussed in class, the Industrial Revolution is a turning point in world history. Great Britain pioneered this movement because of their rich supply of natural resources (coal and iron) and their sizable labor force. This labor force came as a result of population growth and a migration of individuals from the rural areas into the cities (urbanization).

As the Industrial Revolution kicked into full gear (no pun intended), several inventors developed machines to meet the growing demand for more of a product in less time. Eli Whitney, Jethro Tull, Richard Arkwright, James Watt, and Henry Bessemer are all names that should come to mind. Although their inventions were both clever and helpful, their ingenuity also led to a shift from manual, skilled labor to mechanized, unskilled labor. We visualized and discussed some of these changes in class.

As you consider this turning point in world history, I want you to comment on the following question:

Did the benefits of the Industrial Revolution outweigh the negative changes that took place in society?

If you’re not sure where to start, I have included some links below. I would encourage you to consult multiple sources and develop a balanced view before posting.


Add yours
  1. 1
    jesse miller

    yes, the benefits of the industrial revolution did outweigh the negative effects that toke place. i say this because without the machines and mass production Capabilities that came about do to the IND.R. we would have to pay at least 3 times as much for the things that are made by machines now if we didn’t have the machinery. also, the IND.R. brought many jobs to the people that couldn’t work the fields and had no skills. so without the IND.R. we wouldn’t have computers, or at least as many, and would have the tech. we had back in 1940. work sited—-

  2. 2

    Interesting topic. Our pastor covered some of this topic in a recent sermon.

    Basically, the IND.R caused people to no longer rely on family and agrarianism, but to flock to the city to work in factories. So it was a huge social impact. No longer are families the once tight knit community that they used to be, and no longer is the cultivation of the land considered as important as it used to be.

    As factory workers were more in demand, and the industries need educated labor, colleges boomed, and the federal govt was able to steer its “citizens” in the direction that it pleased. Eventually shaping our culture and view on the importance of family to what it is today, close to nill.

    It is my opinion that the benefits of the IND. R. (computers, cheap appliances) do not outweigh the societal and cultural damages.

  3. 3
    Jalisa Hoge

    yes it did, because without those inventions we would have to do things manually. Which would be good in a way so that we (americans) won’t be lazy. I’m sure people got used to the fact that they had an easier way to do things. And even if they didn’t either way it made life easier.>>>>Source: Internet<<<<

  4. 4
    Ryan Robinson

    yes it did outweigh the negative because even though people lost jobs there was technological growth with machinery which gave people jobs they didn’t even have to have skills to do the jobs so any one could have ran the machinery or teach people how to run the machinery so it did outweigh the negative in my opinion

  5. 5
    Taylor D.

    I think the Industrial Revolution outweighed a lot of things, because of the machinary that was invented. Some of the machines that were invented that made things happen more effiently, were the cotton gin, stem engine, steam boat, morse code, and many more. A couple of the inventors from the Industrial Revolution are Eli Whitney, James Watt, and Henery Bessemer. Even though these machinces caused work to be done quicker, the people doing the job were young enexpierenced kids. The enexpierenced kids lacked skill. This is just one of many reasons why i think the Industrial Revolution outweighed the negitive changes.


  6. 6

    Yes I think it did outweigh the negative changes some what because people didnt have to work “as” hard. But there is still alot of bad benefits from the Industrial revoluton as well. Such as children had to work instead of growing up with a good education and worrying about if they’d mess up or get fired. Also the begining of pollution. In my opinion yes it did outweigh the negitives but it could have been different.

  7. 7

    I think its about even because the inventions helped get things done a lot quicker, and with each invention there was an even quicker way. There was a great advance in technology. But with the inventions many people lost their jobs and didn’t require skill. It also caused children to work because their parents could not find work. The working conditions weren’t livable and caused pollution.

  8. 8
    Jane Taylor

    I think that the positive outcomes definitely outweighed those that were negative. Although in some cases young children were brought in for cheap labor and were working harder than ever before, it gave those children and their families a source of income. Additionally, it made it possible to produce a lot of something at once, therefore, it was easier to get a hold of necessary items produced by things like the steam engine and the cotton gin. Moreover, it became easier for things to be shipped and conveyed by the morse code and the steam boat.


  9. 9
    emily lozano

    well all the inventions were helpful in so many ways, wether it put people out of work or not….and it has deffinitly somewhat shaped our world today. the working conditions however, have improved, and the child labor laws have been modified.

  10. 10
    Jeanette Harrison

    The inventions of the Industrial Revolution did not outweigh the negative changes that took place in society.The inventions that were made during this period may have got things done a lot quicker, made products cheaper,and used communication in a new way, but because of these invertions many people were laid off and children were required to do the jobs parents could not.Children were also forced to work in unsanitary and harmfully dangerous factories.Pollution came about also because of these same inventions that had made life easier.These inventions caused “americans” to become lazy.


  11. 11
    Drew N.

    I feel that the benefits did outweigh the negative changes. Inventions such as the cotton gin were able to produce large quantities of cotton with much less labor than before. Yes, it put lots of people out of their jobs, but it was more effective and efficient. Inventions like this also allowed the product being produced to reach many more consumers. Before, you had to wait for your product, but now the wait was not so long.

    Source – Brittanica Encyclopedia

  12. 12
    Danie Schmitz

    I feel that just metioning the inventions and discoveries of the time can only scratch the surface of the IR. Chad had the best point in reference to the family unit- Not only has the family suffered but the ideas behind post-modernism and romanticism come out of this time. Neo-gothic liturature gave us warnings of the harm of mass industrialization. Industrializtion has spurred on greed in the hearts of man. It begs the question- are our lives that much easier.

  13. 13
    Leelea R.

    I think there were both negative and positive changes as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Things would be way more expensive if we didn’t have the technology and machines we have in today’s society. On the other hand, with the development of all these machines, skilled laborers were traded in for many more people that were poorly skilled. I cannot say that there were more positive or more negative things to shift the balance more good or bad.

  14. 14
    sasha dence

    I find it interesting that those who consider the industrial revolution to be a good thing focus on how much cheaper ‘things’ are than they were before machines were able to mass produce them and those courageous few who see relationships as more important than appliances focus on the enormously negative impact the revolution had upon families, communities, and the environment. It is hard to gauge just how negative this impact was because we really don’t know what life was like before there were so many things to buy. We’ve defined the human person as a consumer and our economy shapes our ideas of how we should live.
    While it is true that the industrial revolution made education more accessible and created more unskilled labour thus permitting children to work, it is important to remember the conditions those children had to work and live in. For eg. in Manchester, arguably the most industrialised of the English cities, the life expectancy dropped during the revolution to the age of 17!! It was about 36 in the countryside. Children worked 12 hour days for subsistence wages and the wages of both women and children were legally the property of the father and husband before the women’s property act or the poor laws. How things improved for the fast majority of the working class is hard to see. Conidtions were so bad in the working class sectors of cities that poverty took on a whole new meaning. Some poeple’s lives improved. For the vast majority — the revolution created misery the likes of which had not been experienced. Considering the cost to the poor, to relationships in general, to the environment — I’d have to say while there were benefits, those benefits do not outweigh the devastating effects of making machines rule our lives. Maybe that is why we have so many horror movies these days where machines take over.

  15. 15


    Thanks for your insightful comments. Every situation has pros and cons, but the negative results of the Industrial Revolution are certainly hard to ignore…

  16. 16


    How does that anti-Capitalism Kool-Aide taste?
    It must be delicious since so many people seem to love drinking it.

  17. 17

    We are studying in this school right now and we are in a debate on whether the inventions of industrial revolutions had a positive effect on society or not. I just wanted to bring up the fact of .. cars. Think about how many deaths a year, or a day that we face because of these giant metal things. We have become super lazy and the number of people with obesity is growing daily

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