How did industrialization influence social structures in Europe?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the most intense effects of industrialization was the creation of a new strict hierarchical social structure in European cities, similar to but different from the traditional agrarian hierarchy.  There were those who owned the factories and those who worked in them.  The strict division of social structure in Europe due to industrialization becomes one of the most lasting effects of industrialization.  The individuals who were profiting with factories and industrialization were the owners and proprietors of such entities.  They were making an unlimited amount of money and with this, they were able to occupy the top realm of the social structure emerging as the new industrial society.  At the bottom were those who toiled in the factories.  With no real established standard of living or minimum wage, these individuals were subject to the factory owner's demands.  Accordingly, they worked long hours and represented "the bulk of the population, that was at the bottom of the social ladder."  This part of the social structure also "suffered severe reductions in their living standards."  It is here where I think that the effect of industrialization on social structures in Europe is profound and very compelling.

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