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Was the Industrial Revolution a Blessing or a Curse?

Marissa Beck
In this paper, I seek to determine the success of the Industrial Revolution. The
Industrial Revolution started in Britain around 1750. During this era, simple hand tools gradually
turned into complex machines. New sources of power were discovered that replaced human and
animal power. In 250 years, the revolution spread from Britain to the rest of Europe, then to
North America, and finally, to the rest of the world. Also, many people were moving their
families from farmlands to the cities during this time period. I argue that the Industrial
Revolution was more of a blessing than a curse. I will prove this by analyzing the new methods
in farming, new technology, and the new ways of thinking.
First I will discuss the successes of the new farming methods introduced in this era.
According to britishmuseum.org, During the 18th century, after a long period of enclosures,
new farming systems created an agricultural revolution that produced larger quantities of crops to
feed the increasing population. The Dutch had led the way in the new agriculture revolution.
They built dikes, which are earthen walls, to reclaim land from the sea. They also combined
smaller fields to make larger ones, which was a better use of the land. Also, the Dutch started to
use fertilizer to enrich the soil. Lord Charles Townshend urged farmers to grow turnips, which
helped restore crop rotation. A new movement started, known as the enclosure movement, where
farmers were taking over and fencing off land formerly owned by peasant farmers. The goal of
this movement was to gain pastures for sheep and to increase the output of crops. The Industrial
Revolution was a blessing because it introduced better, more efficient farming techniques that are
still used to today. Better farming techniques also allowed the population to increase due to the
influx of crops.

Next, I seek to analyze the new technology introduced in this era. One new idea during
this era was the factory. From Dr. Emil G. Hirschs article The Evil of Child Labor, If child labor
is necessary the sooner our social system is dynamited into chaos the better. If child labor is
necessary our religion has been a sham. Justice is lacking from a civilization that requires child
labor. Religion is lacking from it. A social system that can bring such a condition about has
forfeited every further consideration. Along with the creation of factories, many other new
inventions were made during this time period. Some new inventions that helped the textile
industry were John Kays flying shuttle, the Spinning Jenny, and the Waterframe. Factories were
developed in order to store these large machines. New sources of energy and new materials
enabled business owners to change the ways of work. Coal was developed, which was a major
discovery that was used to help power Newcomens steam engine invention. In 1769, James Watt
improved Newcomens engine, which became a key power source in the Industrial Revolution.
The steam engine led to the inventions of railroads and the steamboat. Turnpikes were also
invented for faster transportation on land. The Industrial Revolution was a blessing because the
many inventions created during this era are still in use today, or have improved immensely.
Although factories are still in use today, there are regulations on child labor. The new inventions
that helped the textile industry led to the improvement of the industry that is still used today.
Finally, I will investigate the new ways of thinking during the Industrial Revolution. In
Karl Marxs Communist Manifesto, he writes, "Society as a whole is more and more splitting into
two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and
Proletariat. One of the philosophers during the Industrial Revolution was Karl Marx, who was
from Germany. He condemned the idea of a utopia, considering that he thought it was unrealistic.
He brought forth a new theory, known as scientific socialism, which Marx claimed was based on

a new study of history. Marx was a big supporter of communism, which is evident in his
pamphlet The Communist Manifesto. Communism stems from the ideas of socialism, which is
the idea that people work as a whole, rather than private individuals. Communism sees the class
struggle between employers and employees. Karl Marx believed that economics was the driving
force in history and he believed the history of class struggles was the course of history. Another
group of people during the Industrial Revolution were called the Utilitarians. They believed in
the idea that the goal of society should be the greatest happiness for the greatest number of
citizens. The Industrial Revolution was a blessing because it put forth new ways of thinking. Karl
Marxs ideas, known as Marxism, came to be popular worldwide. As time passed, though, the
working class had gotten better working conditions. As a result, Marxism lost some of its
demand. Although Karl Marxs ideas lost their touch, they soon appeared in Russia and
Germany. Marxs ideas changed the world, but not for the better after the Industrial Revolution.
The Industrial Revolution was a blessing because of the new ideas in farming,
technology, and ways of thinking.

In the current era, the farming techniques of the Industrial

Revolution are still used today, along with the new technology. There have been many
improvements in technology, but the technology from the revolution was a great starting point.
The new ways of thinking, like communism and socialism, paved a way for a different era, one
that involved communists like Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin. Although the Industrial
Revolution had some downsides, like child labor and crowded slums, there were more positive
outcomes than negative. The Industrial Revolution was a blessing because it was the start of
many new things, which had improved over the next century. Without the Industrial Revolutions
downsides, there may have never been regulations against child control or environmental control.