The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Europe

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The Industrial Revolution hit Europe and along with it came a great deal of change. Not only did this industrial revolution affect standards of living in cities, it also affected greatly the nature and quality of labor. The Industrial Revolution had an impact of the greatest magnitude on Europe and has shaped the work style and nature of labor that Europeans know today. Although it may seem like a revolution of this sort would have great benefits for those who lived through it, evidence seems to show otherwise. For many it was difficult to adapt to this new world of industrial labor and for others it was a bit easier to adjust. Preindustrial labor, or “old” labor, was not easy. Days were long and pay was never sufficient enough for agricultural workers. The husband in the family often relied on other side jobs and the work of his wife and older children. After paying taxes and rent, and spending money to upkeep the house and on clothing, often little was left for a sufficient amount of food. Families with lots of children often had to scrape by with just the bare minimum amount of food. Even with the small amount of land they owned to grow crops and raise poultry and other meats, it was never enough to provide for their family. Even though days were long and the work seemed strenuous, the nature and ways of old labor had its advantages. One advantage was having the opportunity to work alongside your family. Although days consisted of twelve or more hours of labor, workers were still able to socialize and had the control over their pace of work. Laborers often enjoyed forty days plus off in addition to the Sundays they already had off. And we must not forget the quality of work and products was extraordinary. Guilds often set reg... ... middle of paper ... ...s. Both preindustrial and industrial labor left families poor, but at least old labor didn’t give people the feeling of being overworked. It was difficult for men and women to adjust to industrialized labor because the nature of old labor – independence, individualism, and satisfactory – was so different from that of the new labor – conformity, stressing, and unsocial. It may have seemed that the new labor would have brought on many employment opportunities, but instead of employing more workers when trade was brisk, they gave their workers longer more strenuous hours. One of the good things that came out of new labor was it brought more working opportunities for women and young girls. After reading the evidence, it seems like most people would have favored preindustrial labor over industrialized labor anytime. It provided better work conditions and freedom.
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