Industrial Revolution Questions and Answers

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The Industrial Revolution was a turning point in American history. What were the positive and negative effects of the revolution on society?  

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Positive effects of the American Industrial Revolution

The modern production methods that gained traction in the period of the Industrial Revolution provided opportunities for factory investors, increased opportunities for trade goods for the country, and made America a truly capitalistic country. The factory system created millions of jobs for skilled and unskilled labor and increased productivity in many industries including textiles and iron. Steam power and the chemical industry enjoyed major technological advances and found applications in industries including agriculture and mining. Transportation became easier and more affordable. Life expectancy increased, as did literacy. The standard of living for many Americans improved dramatically as they earned reliable wages and were able to afford more material possessions that made their lives easier and more enjoyable.

Negative effects of the American Industrial Revolution

Until workers mastered the necessary skills, some industries suffered as their products were inferior to what was being produced overseas. Working conditions were often quite poor, with exposure to physical dangers and no regulations to protect workers. The gulf between rich capitalists and the working class became more profound. The acute need for housing in centers of industry led to the proliferation of slums and an increase in criminality as working people struggled to survive and prosper. Children were exploited through child labor practices. The environment began to suffer as factories polluted without regulations to prevent it.

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The major positive effect of the Industrial Revolution was economic.  The Industrial Revolution allowed things to be produced more cheaply and in greater numbers.  This was originally true of clothing but other goods were to follow.  This improved the material standards of living for many people.

The major negative effect of the Industrial Revolution was that it disrupted society.  It took a society that had been rural and agricultural and made it much more urban and industrial.  This pulled apart the sorts of social ties that had been built up in small communities over the decades.  As people moved to cities and the social bonds eroded, there were negative impacts.  There was, for example, increased poverty and crime in some areas of cities.  People sometimes had difficulties dealing with the new ways of life, leading to social problems like crime and alcoholism.

In these ways, the Industrial Revolution brought both economic progress and social disruptions.

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Positive- 

  • people moved from farming to working at a factory where they make more $$$$$
  • farmers had problems with droughts and could hurt their income so the city was better
  • helped the economy

Negative-

  • MAJOR pollution
  • lots of working injuries/unsafe
  • works LOTS of hours
  • children working and getting hurt doing dangerous jobs