The Industrial Revolution was a period of major industrialization and innovation that took place during the late 1700s and early 1800s. The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain and quickly spread throughout the world.
Industrialization increased material wealth, restructured society, and created important new schools of philosophy. The social impact of industrialization was profound. For the first time since the Neolithic Revolution, people worked outside of the local environment of their homes. They arose every morning and traveled to their place of employment. This was most often in a workplace known as a factory. The new machinery of the Industrial Revolution was very large and sometimes required acres of floor space to hold the number of machines needed to keep up with consumer demand.
As in all productive revolutions, skill greatly determined the quality of life. The most important aspect of this new economic order was the fact that the skills needed to succeed were in many ways different from those that had been needed in the earlier economy. Artisans had the easiest time transitioning to the new economic paradigm. The fact that they had highly developed manual skills enabled them to adapt to the new machinery much easier than their agricultural counterparts. This was also the case when it came to dealing with the new, enclosed work environment and strict schedules.
The industrial economy had a new set of rules and time schedules for the common laborer. The work environment not only moved indoors, but the pace of the work changed drastically. Instead of driving a horse that pulled a plow or wagon, the machines drove the worker. The seasons of the year were no longer relevant to the time spent at work. Adult males were now expected to labor twelve to fourteen hours a day, five-and-a-half days a week, all year long. This was a very hard transition to make. A great many people who had once been considered highly productive agricultural workers were unable to hold jobs because of their inability to adjust to this new regime.
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