What efforts did workers make to better the harsh working conditions of the early Industrial Revolution?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If you are asking about the "early Industrial Revolution" then I assume you are referring to events in England.  My answer will reflect that.

There were at least three types of efforts made by workers to force improvements in their working conditions.  These efforts included:

  • The Luddites.  These people attacked the manufacturing sector directly by destroying the machines that were putting them out of jobs.  They hoped to improve their working conditions by reversing the trend towards industrialization.
  • The Chartists.  This movement hoped to improve working conditions through political change.  They were trying to get more political power for the working class by getting England to create a more equitable electoral system.
  • The labor unions.  These sprang up in an attempt to organize workers so as to give them bargaining power against the employers.  They were meant to be able to directly negotiate with the companies for better working conditions, wages, etc.

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