1. What role did slavery play in the industrial revolution?

(Short answer) In order for the industrial revolution to take place, a simultaneous agricultural revolution had to take place in order to support the large city populations now working in factories instead of on their own small farms. This meant that now instead of an area having several small farms, they would have one large farm run by a wealthy landowner. This landowner would buy and trade slaves in order to support his large farmland and the slaves would work long hours growing food. After the industrial revolution took off, the demand for cash crops like cotton and sugar soared, costing many free Africans their freedom. It is estimated that over 3.2 million slaves work in the United States alone during the time period of the industrial revolution, working on enormous plantations and growing large amounts of crops like cotton.

2. Discuss how Josiah Wedgwood’s factory can be seen as a microcosm of the Industrial Revolution. Josiah Wedgwood’s pottery factory in Staffordshire, England was the best microcosms of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. His techniques used in his pottery factory were reflected all over the country of England in other industries. He used one of the most important ideas of the revolution: the idea of mass production and the division of labor. He also used new machines like the steam engine to speed up the production line and used necessity to his advantage, inventing certain technologies when he needed to in order to keep his business moving forward in the revolution. In England, the demand for fine glazed porcelain tableware was at an all time high, as more and more entrepreneurs tried to find a way to make this hard to make tableware widely available for all to buy and have. Before, only the wealthy could afford to buy this expensive china, while the middleclass bought pewter tableware, and the poor carved bowls out of wood and clay. Many royal manufactures created this expensive Chinese-originated porcelain, but the tableware required too much work to create and was too expensive for anyone but the elites to buy. Josiah Wedgwood’s father owned a small pottery shop that created the hand carved pottery used by most of Europe’s population. When Josiah took over his father’s business, he not only wanted to find a way to create many bowls and cups in one firing (it took large amounts of time and work to create just a few) but he was also looking to create identical bowls, plates, and cups that could be easily stacked and uniform in price. He realized he needed to find a way to manage the heat of the fire inside the firing kiln, that way he could put many different plates and bowls in at one time while maintaining a steady temperature. This led to his invention, the pyrometer, which could measure the amounts of extreme heat in the kilns therefore allowing it to be regulated. He also created molds that could be used in place of a potter’s wheel allowing him to create uniform size tableware, saving time and money. His most important invention though, was the division of labor, which sparked the industrial revolution. The division of labor broke up the huge tasks required to create clay tableware, and broke them down into smaller repetitive tasks that were the responsibility of one worker. One worker would be mixing clay all day while the other set up molds, while another worker pours the clay into the molds. This allowed him to produce twice as many items in a day, allowing him to lower his prices while at the same time making a huge profit. He then took his profit and invested the money right back into his business, creating roads and canals so his goods could be efficiently shipped from one factory to the next. He invested in new technologies to further his business and streamline his production. He bought some of the early steam engines so that he could use the engine in place human labor in the stirring of the clay, giving him more amounts of clay available for use everyday. Josiah Wedgwood’s factory was a small example of what was happening all over Europe in the industrial sections, as business streamlined production and expanded their factories, allowing them to not only create uniform products at a fast rate, but also allowing them to lower prices on items once originally reserved only for the elites and wealthy. Companies also began to create and use machines in place of human labor. Not only were machines faster but also they did not have to be paid wages or be given rights. The expanding industrial revolution rapidly advanced England’s and the US’s standing versus the rest of the world, as poor people could now began to afford commodities once reserved only for the rich. The prices in the economy dropped, allowing for greater wealth even among the poor and advancing the economies of these industrialized countries.

3. Many groups benefited from the Industrial Revolution—for instance, the entrepreneurs and industrialists. Which groups did not? What was the social cost of the Industrial Revolution? The industrial revolution had an enormous impact on the social world of the 18 century. Many people benefited from the industrial revolution, gaining money and social status/mobility, while other people were hurt and lost prestige from the industrial revolution. The social world was literally rocked upside-down as the poor started to advance upwards socially and the elites began to lose power and prestige, and greater social mobility was allowed. The industrial revolution rocked Europe’s economy. Thanks to the division of labor and industrialization, cheaper products could be produced faster and cheaper while at the same time offering many jobs for the middle class and the poor. This industrialization also spurred a large forward surge, as companies and individuals created and embraced new technology that allowed for faster and cheaper production. Often companies who did not keep up with these new technologies were left behind and went bankrupt, faced with the large outputs of the technologically advanced factories and the fact that their items were much cheaper that the old style method of making the item. The worst off in the working class were the guilds and tradesmen who hung on to the older styles of manufacturing. One great example of this is when the powered loom was introduced and cotton clothing became highly demanded. Women working as weavers who used the old style of weaving by hand had their wages slashed by nearly 2/3, and they were forced to work longer hours than those who learned how to utilize the powered weaving. Despite the fact that these women worked these long had hours, they still ended up losing their jobs and were forced to learn how to use the power weaver, or suffer from unemployment. Also suffering from the industrialization were the elites who originally started out with power and prestige, as the poorer classes could not compete with their large amounts of wealth. However since the industrialization allowed products to be produced cheaper, the poor could now buy items needed to sustain themselves without spending all of their available money and allowing them to save up and amass their own wealth. This was a huge social cost of the industrial revolution, as it allowed for greater social mobility between the social classes. This was especially important for the middle class businessmen, who were very close to the elites wealth, and during the industrial revolution it was not uncommon for a businessman in the middle class to become successful and buy himself land and a seat in parliament, and therefore giving himself the position of an elite. As stated above, the middle class and the poor were the ones who benefited the most from this revolution. They were now able to buy not only needed commodities, but also luxury goods that were being mass-produced in the industrial factories. The poor could now save up their money in hopes of being able to move up in status in wealth, and the middle class began to have a greater influence in parliament and the government. There was greater social mobility for all of the classes and they could marry whomever they wanted. This was also a time period of great posterity for the inventors and entrepreneurs, who played a large and very vital role in what happened and how quickly the industrial sectors would advance.
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