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Hard Times

  • Date Submitted: 03/23/2013 11:24 PM
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Herrmann, Johnson, and Miller-Davis
Mr. Shiverdecker
AP Literature/Composition
10 January 2012
A Brief Overview of the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was one of the most innovative periods of Western history, perhaps second only to the Enlightenment.   It started during the late eighteenth century and ended mid-nineteenth century and was a time of invention and advancement, but the benefits of this progress did not affect everyone equally.   This was especially true in Victorian England, the epicenter of the revolution.   The rich grew more wealthy, but the poor were driven deeper into poverty (History.com, “Revolution”).
The Industrial Revolution was a large-scale urbanization and industrialization of agrarian societies in Europe and America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.   It began when the previous set of legal customs known as feudalism was largely abandoned. Under feudalism, peasants, or serfs, worked for their lords in exchange for protection and were allotted a small plot of land for subsistence.   When feudalism dissolved, small farmers no longer had a plausible way to maintain their farms and were forced to look for work elsewhere.   These farmers crowded into cities at an alarming rate in search of the new factory jobs in the rapidly industrializing cities (Mack).   Furthermore, the farming industry experienced numerous technological advancements that increased efficiency and therefore reduced the need for agricultural workers.   Fortunately, many new inventions and various innovations in industries such as textiles and the iron and steel boom created an abundance of urban factory jobs (PULSE).
Not only did the feudalism system’s downfall occur during this period, but the dominant economic system, also known as the guild system, collapsed, which aided the movement towards industrialization.   The guild system was a structure of collaboration rather than competition; it allowed merchants to cooperate with each other rather...


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