The Industrial Revolution was a period of technological development that took place in Great Britain from the mid 1700s through the mid 1800s. Eventually spreading through Europe and to the United States, the Industrial Revolution brought about economic and social changes as a result of the move from hand tools to power tools and from small-scale production to large-scale production. Prior to the 1800s, products were crafted with simple machines or by hand in small shops or in homes. The shift to manufacturing in factories caused people to leave rural areas for urban centers, eventually creating overcrowded and polluted cities. In the United States a steady influx of immigrants (people who permanently settle in a foreign country) supplied a work force for factories that sprang up in most major cities, particularly in the North, and factory owners employed men, women, and even children for the lowest possible wages. The rapid development of industry caused widespread social problems, which resulted in many people living and working in unsafe and unsanitary conditions and fearing starvation if they lost their jobs. Reforms were slow to come, but in the late 1800s and early 1900s, workers formed trade unions and lobbied (tried to influence political officials) for and got better working conditions.
Further Information: Halsall, Paul, ed. "Industrial Revolution." Internet Modern History Sourcebook. [Online] Available http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/modsbook14.html, October 20, 2000; McCormick, Anita L. The Industrial Revolution in American History. Berkley, NJ: Enslow, 1998; Rempel, Gerhard. The Industrial Revolution. [Online] Available http://mars.acnet.wnec.edu/~grempel/courses/wc2/lectures/industrialrev/html, October 20, 2000.
There was a lot of technological innovations that happened in this time. Economic and social changes soon took place in areas along with bigger productions of material. There was a giant shift to manufacturing and people who lived in small towns were forced to leave to other cities since manufacturing was taking over their homes.