Since its start roughly two centuries ago, the Industrial Revolution, particularly from 1780 to 1850, has peaked the interests of scholars, historians, and economists alike. More specifically, the era itself sparked the ongoing debate as to whether or not these technological advancements and ideas of industrial capitalism attributed to the degradation of the laboring classes, as most history textbooks outline. Though there are players for both teams siding with either optimism or pessimism, it is revealed in an essay from Boyson that the pessimistic opinions towards the working conditions, pay, and overall treatment of the laboring classes have overpowered much of what the general public sees and thus believes..
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However, it is also exemplified through his essay that these are not the only claims to be made or heard, and that in the debate between optimism and pessimism, much statistical evidence exists supporting the former. Through this essay and the works and opinions of others, it becomes clearer to see that though the Industrial Revolution in Britain from 1780 to 1850 has become synonymous with overall pessimistic views and statistics, this essay will highlight that they are simply unfounded, as there is far more statistical evidence, tangible legislation, and professional historical analysis that airs to the side of optimism.
For any reader or member of the general population to not only make a decision on which side bears more resemblance to what actually happened during this time period and at whose expense, one must first examine and evaluate both sides. However, almost every history textbook, including our own, has already educated much of todays society on the harshness and cruelty synonymous with the Industrial Revolution and its laborers. Marked as a time period filled with capitalism making the rich richer and the poor poorer, this era has effectively been stained, but was there a reason behind this? Of course. The working conditions for most were in fact awful. Legislation to protect most of what went on did not yet exist, creating an environment that was not only unsafe, but at times inhumane. For some, though, these claims went further.
In The Communist Manifesto curated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, laborers in the Industrial Revolution were spoken of in a way that insinuated that they were being taken advantage of by big business and privately owned factories thanks to the idea of industrial capitalism, and even mentioned the world slavery as a likeness to their treatment and wages.
They summarize This process has, to an ever greater degree, ruined the old middle class, especially the small handicrafts men; it has entirely transformed the condition of the workers (Marx,
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