Imagine a world in which almost all your food, clothing, toys, tools, and furniture were grown or made by your own family or a nearby craftsman. Most of your day would be spent working. Because handmade goods were costly and took so much time to make, you’d have only a few clothes and toys.
This was the reality of life for all but the wealthiest for hundreds of years before the Industrial Revolution. From the late 1700s to the mid-1800s, new inventions made it possible for clothing, furniture, and other items to be made quickly and cheaply in factories. Steam engines, along with railways, canals, and better roads, simplified shipping these products. Life was easier in many ways, but these conveniences came with a price.
Questions and Answers
Question: Who benefitted most from the Industrial Revolution?
Answer: For the middle and upper classes, the Industrial Revolution meant access to products that made life more comfortable. The middle and upper classes also benefitted financially from their business profits.
Poor factory workers, especially children, suffered during the Industrial Revolution. These children suffered from injuries and disease caused by poor factory conditions. Working long hours, they rarely learned to read and write, making their chances for improving their lives slim.
Slaves also suffered because of the Industrial Revolution. The invention of the cotton gin made cotton growing much more profitable for plantation owners, but they needed more slaves to do the work. Slave trading and owning increased.
Head to Scholastic to learn more about the Industrial Revolution.
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