Throughout early history, the greatest monuments were created through much manpower to display and glorify leaders. For instance, the detailed terracotta warriors that were sculpted to look like each of Emperor Shi Huangdi’s soldiers uniquely or the Parthenon that displayed the advanced architectural knowledge of the Greeks. These great monuments may be different in terms of location and time period however, they all required skilled workers.
However as technology advances, in the late 18th to 19th century, the advent of the Industrial Revolution caused the average worker to experience low wages which led to more people in a family working to make a living, including children and women. Although many factory owners may disagree to keep their reputation, the industrial factories also created a very dangerous area from the machines and was often poorly supervised with physical abuse. When the first industrial factories opened, it was often preferred to abuse the ignorance of children from poor families, leading to the issue of child labor and poor education. As a necessity, many children were forced to find a job to earn as little as a cent to help pay for living expenses. One shift of a work day was usually around 12 hours with only an hour for a break. In one factory, dozens of children were killed from work-related injuries within two and a half year (Doc 2).
Deaths of children were not hindrances as there were many more poverty-struck families who could easily become replacements that filled in the slums (oi). Due to the vulnerability of children, they were often overworked to the point of attaining physical disabilities. In addition, the time consuming characteristic of the job prevented many from receiving an education. Rarely was there an worker who could read, let alone write (Doc 1,7). The decrease in literacy may have actually slowed down the advancement of society despite all the technology. The Industrial Revolution initiated the use of child labor and slowed down the potential of the future generations. Despite the fact that women were paid half of what men were paid, lower-class women still had to leave their house to work in factories to earn money. In a record of a married woman during this period, women were beaten for not working well enough.
Blackmail by male owners was also commonly used to manipulate women into submission (Doc 8). Women were just as vulnerable as children in the factory system due to their perceived weaker physical stature. Additionally, since households that couldn’t make enough required the woman to work, a housewife symbolized that the husband was capable as the sole provider.
Society had required women to be pious, submissive, pure, and domestic (oi). This proves along with the working conditions that women were considered to be inferior. However, at the same time, more feminist ideas may have been triggered, ultimately causing the women’s suffrage movement later on. As a result, the Industrial Revolution impacted working class women to be powerless in terms of power and wealth. The working men of the Industrial Revolution were also included in the mistreatment along with children and women to work with dangerous machines and with much smoke and dust and caused the creation of the slums. In one response, a worker had lung damages and weak leg muscles from factory dust, overwork, and insufficient diet (Doc2). This shows the lack of management and responsibility of the factory owners.
However, the majority was with the workers who would later turn the tide with labor unions. Furthermore, industrialization triggered urbanization too rapidly, forcing the city’s poorest residents into shabby tenements (oi). These tenements were unplanned one or two story buildings that were unpaved, full of holes and had neither a gutter or a drain (Doc6). Since filth just covered the building with no other place to go, these tenements were unsanitary which produced health problems.
The resources of the area most likely may have been polluted too which would decrease the life expectancy age as well. The workers of the Industrial Revolution lived a very difficult life both in and out of work. All in all, the advent of the Industrial Revolution has affected the average worker to suffer long hours of work, much vulnerability, and poor environment issues. However, although the Industrial Revolution may have been a nightmare to workers, it woke up the people that were suffering to fight for their rights and it was necessary to shape the government of America today. Without it, there would not be working regulations nor equal rights for women. Perhaps, history needs to go through some dark times to improve itself just as we humans do.