Negative Effects of the Industrial Revolution



Before the Industrial Revolution, people lived in small villages while they farmed, raised animals, etc. But then everything changed when the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century where agricultural societies became more industrialized and urban. Although there was a big impact, the Industrial Revolution had a negative impact on society. This was because the people had to work in a dangerous environment, there was child labor, and there was unfair treatment from the owners and they were unreasonable.

The first reason why the Industrial Revolution had a negative impact on society is that the workers had to work in a horrible environment. The factories were not a great place for the people working there. People would risk losing limbs, breaking bones, etc. It was a horrible environment for the workers and not safe. “The factories were extremely dirty and dangerous, with low ceilings, locked windows and doors, and poor lighting. Workers risked losing limbs from loud, unguarded machines or getting serious throat or lung infections from the hot polluted factory air.”. These factories brought lots of danger to these workers and because they had to work there for many hours 6 days a week there was a high chance of injury. Another example of the factories not being safe was the treatment of the workers.  It was said that people have been affected in the long term because of the people and conditions in the factories. “Frank once beat me till he frightened himself. He thought he had killed me. He had struck me on the temples and knocked me to dateless. He once raised my arm, which he then hit with all his might. My elbow was broken. I bear the marks and suffer pain from it to this day, and always shall as long as I live.”. Both these examples show how their conditions negatively affected the employees working there. The environment was dangerous causing people to get injured and sick. People risked their lives to work many hours with low pay in a life-risking factory.

The second reason why the Industrial Revolution was negative because of the child labor. Children worked many hours in brutal conditions which affected their lives. Children were too young for how long and hard they worked and given the conditions they should not have been working. In one article a doctor was asked about his thoughts of the children and the safety protocols; he responded by saying, “The state of the health of the cotton-factory children is much worse than that of children employed in other manufactories.” These two reasons and examples show how the factories had a negative impact on the people. The factories were not safe and there were children working in these horrible conditions causing their lives to be shortened or at risk. Another example is that these children were more likely to become sick. Because they were younger and the children’s families were poor, they had a higher chance of becoming sick in these dirty and unhealthy factories. “Poor families could not afford enough food to keep their children healthy, so children had weaker bodies and were more likely to get sick from the dusty air or become deformed from accidents with machines.” The children were never able to be healthy which caused them to have a lower life expectancy. These two examples show how the Indstrial Revolution had a negative impact through child labor. These children had to work in horrible conditions. 

A third reason why the Industrial Revolution was negative was because of the unfair treatment and the owners being unreasonable to the workers. Owners treated the workers with no respect and they barely got paid given the absurd amount they worked throughout the week. “Employers paid low wages and would reduce them if workers were late or business was bad. Some factory owners paid their employees with vouchers for goods at their own stores, where they kept prices high.” The owners would not pay the workers based on how they did which is not fair. The workers put in many hours to try and get money for their family but had trouble because of the owners not being fair and not paying them because the business wasn’t doing good. Also, if they did pay them with vouchers they were only for the goods of the business. So, they weren’t even paying them because they would get the money back which was unreasonable. Another example of unfair treatment was through the wages. Different people who worked there had different pay. Men, women, and children all had different pay. Men were paid 10 to 15 shillings per week, women were paid 5 shillings per week, and children were paid 1 shilling per week. Obviously, the paying distribution was unfair. Although the men, women, and children worked the same hours the men were still paid more which is unreasonable.  These two reasons show how the Industrial Revolution was negative. The workers were treated without respect and were not fair. 

These three reasons show why the Industrial Revolution had a negative impact on society. The workers had to work in horrible environments, there was child labor involved in the factories, and the workers were treated with unfairness. The Industrial Revolution had a big impact on the rest of the world and still impacts us today. Many people were affected by getting hurt or even killed which was not good for society at that time.