The Social Impact Of Industrialization Essay

1549 words - 6 pages

"It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face over which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, and vast piles of buildings full of windows where there was rattling and a trembling all day long, and where the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness. It contained several large streets all very like one another, and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours, with the same sound upon the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day was the same as yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and the next..."You saw nothing in Coketown but what was severely workful. If the members of a religious persuasion built a chapel there-- as the members of eighteen religious persuasions had done-- they made it a pious warehouse of red brick, with sometimes (but this is only in highly ornamental examples) a bell in a birdcage on the top of it.... All the public inscriptions in the town were painted alike, in severe characters of black and white. The jail might have been the infirmary, the infirmary might have been the jail, the town-hall might have been either, or both, or anything else, for anything that appeared to the contrary in the graces of their construction. Fact, fact, fact, everywhere in the immaterial. The M'Choakumchild school was all fact, and the school of design was all fact, and the relations between master and man were all fact, and everything was fact between the lying-in hospital and the cemetery, and what you couldn't state in figures, or show to be purchaseable in the cheapest market and saleable in the dearest, was not, and never should be, world without end. Amen." -From Hard Times by Charles DickensToday we see the Industrial Revolution as being responsible for the higher standard of living we enjoy. This, of course, is true, but there was a great and, at times, appalling, price paid in human suffering to attain this standard of living. From the start, industrialization meant the transformation of countries' populations from being predominantly rural to being predominantly urban. In England, this involved the migration of millions from the agricultural south to the cities springing up near the coal and iron fields in the north. The population of Manchester, England grew from 25,000 in l772 to 303,000 by l850. Liverpool's population rose from 80,000 to 397,000 in the first half of the nineteenth century. Other cities told similar stories of incredible growth. Overall in Britain, the number of cities with populations of 50,000 or more rose from 3 in l785 to 3l...

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