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Working Class Women In The Industrial Revolutionary Period: Mid 18 Th C Mid 19 Th C.

2616 words - 10 pages

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WORKING CLASS WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD:MID 18TH C - MID 19TH C.The development of industrialization in Europe and America from the mid eighteenth century onward brought dramatic changes. England was where the Industrial Revolution first started, and then over the next century spread to the rest of Europe and beyond. This chapter will focus on the nineteenth century when the most serious affects were felt on women, and consequently on society. Both men and women went from working basically on their own schedules to a schedule set by others. As industrial time developed, family time diverged increasingly. Traditional family responsibilities did not yield easily to industrial life. Women often were caught in the middle. Historians today are debating how oppressed women were and how displaced families became. Commentary at the time the industrialization process was taking place varied. Some of the most vocal detractors like Frederick Engels received more publicity then and later compared to the supporters. New studies are analyzing statistical data to arrive at a more balanced assessment, including what occurred for women.Why this movement to industrialization took place at this time is a long and complex process. Many factors account for why society shifted from man power to machine power. Traditionally, it was textile manufacturing where the earliest evidence of industrialization occurred. As women down through the centuries have been integrally involved in every step of the process from production, to manufacturing, to selling, this industry is a good starting point. On the eve of the Industrial Revolution, spinners of thread could not produce as much thread as weavers needed. This imbalance had been created during the 1730's by James Kay's invention of the flying shuttle, which greatly increased the productivity of weavers. Prizes were offered for someone to invent a machine to eliminate this bottleneck. By 1765 James Hargreaves developed his spinning jenny, a device to multi-spin thread. Still, these machines were used only in cottages, there were no factories. It was Richard Arkwright's water frame, patented in 1769 that moved the manufacturer of cotton into the factory. By the end of the century James Watt had perfected the steam engine that ran the textile machinery.There are many other reasons in addition to the invention of machinery that accounted for England's being the first to industrialize. In the 17th and 18th centuries, an Agricultural revolution had come to England, allowing for a gigantic increase in crop production, resulting in a population explosion that would eventually migrate to where the industrialized jobs were. With the profits from farming, the capital was used to invest in industrialization. In England, the government was favorable to the business and merchant class. The complete opposite viewpoint occurred in France, Spain, and other European countries. England had an overseas...

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