Key Concept 5.1 Industrialization and Global Capitalism

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Like the Neolithic Revolution that occurred 10,000 years before it, the Industrial Revolution dramatically transformed the way humans lived their lives to a degree that is hard to exaggerate. It is not difficult to define industrialization; it is simply the use of machines to make human labor more efficient and produce things much faster. As simple as this sounds, however, it brought about such sweeping changes that it virtually transformed the world, even areas in which industrialization did not occur. The change was so basic that it could not help but affect all areas of people's lives in every part of the globe.

See Crash Course video on the Industrial Revolution HERE.

The Industrial Revolution began in England in the late 18th century, and spread during the 19th century to Belgium, Germany, Northern France, the United States, and Japan. Almost all areas of the world felt the effects of the Industrial Revolution because it divided the world into "have" and "have not" countries, with many of the latter being controlled by the former. England's lead in the Industrial Revolution translated into economic prowess and political power that allowed colonization of other lands, eventually building a worldwide British Empire. See short VIDEO here.

I. Industrialization fundamentally changed how goods were produced.
A. A variety of factors led to the rise of industrial production
  • Geography - Europe’s location on the Atlantic, with its numerous harbors and ports, gave it access to natural resources and markets outside its borders. Industrial production occurred at such a dramatic rate—machines require massive amounts of raw materials and produce huge quantities of products—that access to foreign resources and markets was a necessity for industrial growth.
  • Natural resources - Britain had large and accessible supplies of coal and iron - two of the most important raw materials used to produce the goods for the early Industrial Revolution. Also available was water power to fuel the new machines, harbors for its merchant ships, and rivers for inland transportation. Industrial growth also depended on an abundant supply of navigable rivers and canals, especially in the early stages before the railroads came.
  • Social Changes – Factories require large investments of money (capital), so a thriving bourgeois class with wealth to invest was a basis for industrialization. The hereditary wealth of the aristocracy was less relevant. In fact, societies without a solid bourgeoisie had to rely on foreign investment to industrialize (think of the British investing in Ottoman and Russia industrial development). Because factories concentrate labor into small areas, urbanization was a requirement for industrialization.
  • Large agricultural surpluses - The Industrial Revolution would not have been possible without a series of improvements in agriculture first in England, then spreading to other areas. Beginning in the early1700s, wealthy landowners began to enlarge their farms through enclosure, or fencing or hedging large blocks of land for experiments with new techniques of farming. These scientific farmers improved crop rotation methods, which carefully controlled nutrients in the soil. The larger the farms and the better the production the fewer farmers were needed. Farmers pushed out of their jobs by enclosure either became tenant farmers or they moved to cities. Better nutrition boosted England's population, creating the first necessary component for the Industrial Revolution: labor.
  • Advanced financial practices - During the previous era, Britain had already built many of the economic practices and structures necessary for economic expansion, as well as a middle class (the bourgeoisie) that had experience with trading and manufacturing goods. Banks were well established, and they provided loans for businessmen to invest in new machinery and expand their operations.
  • A cooperative government – In Western Europe, particularly Britain, governments supported the interests of the business class and developing industries (think of England’s support of the East India Company). They gave legal protection for contracts and private property, a move that took some of the risk out of investing capital. Political stability also allowed for industrial growth. Britain's political development during this period was fairly stable, with no major internal upheavals occurring, and industrialization only occurred in earnest in the United States until after the turmoil of the Civil War. Even then, the government facilitated immigration to need to need for industrial labor in the U.S.

The transformation of labor, power, and machines In a factory, the entire production process took place under one roof. Whereas agricultural societies worked together as families around the place they lived, industrial workers had to leave home to go to work each day. In agricultural settings, a person had to learn many different things and performed a variety of tasks year round. In factories jobs became specialized and a worker usually did the same repetitive thing all day in front of a machine. Labor no longer revolved around the rising and setting of the sun or seasons, but was ordered by the clock. Days became organized mathematically.

The first factories emerged near rivers and streams for water power, but with the discovery of the energy stored in fossil fuels such as coal and oil, location on rivers was not as important. Coal transformed power by allowing for steam engines. During the Second Industrial revolution gas engines and electricity emerged.

Women and children were among the laborers in the textile industry during the early Industrial Revolution
The earliest transformation of the Industrial Revolution was Britain's textile industry. In 1750 Britain already exported wool, linen, and cotton cloth, and the profits of cloth merchants were boosted by speeding up the process by which spinners and weavers made cloth. One invention led to another since none were useful if any part of the process was slower than the others. Some key inventions were:
  • The flying shuttle - John Kay's invention carried threads of yarn back and forth when the weaver pulled a handle, greatly increasing the weavers' productivity.
  • The spinning jenny - James Hargreaves' invention allowed one spinner to work eight threads at a time, increasing the output of spinners, allowing them to keep up with the weavers. Hargreaves named the machine for his daughter.
  • The water frame - Richard Arkwright's invention replaced the hand-driven spinning jenny with one powered by water power, increasing spinning productivity even more.
  • The spinning mule - In 1779, Samuel Crompton combined features of the spinning jenny and the water frame to produce the spinning mule. It made thread that was stronger, finer, and more consistent than that made by earlier machines. He followed this invention with the power loom that sped up the weaving process to match the new spinners.
The Spinning Jenny was a transitional invention between the spinning wheel and larger steam-driven machines.
D. The Industrial Revolution occurred exclusively in Britain for about 50 years, but it eventually spread to other countries in Europe, the United States, Russia, and Japan. British entrepreneurs and government officials forbade the export of machinery, manufacturing techniques, and skilled workers to other countries but the technologies spread by luring British experts with lucrative offers, and even smuggling secrets into other countries. By the mid-19th century industrialization had spread to France, Germany, Belgium, and the United States.

The earliest center of industrial production in continental Europe was Belgium, where coal, iron, textile, glass, and armaments production flourished. By 1830 French firms had employed many skilled British workers to help establish the textile industry, and railroad lines began to appear across Western Europe. Germany was a little later in developing industry, mainly because no centralized government existed there yet. After German political unification in 1871, the new empire soon rivaled England in terms of industrial production.

Industrialization in the United States was delayed until the country had enough laborers and money to invest in business. Both came from Europe, where overpopulation and political revolutions sent immigrants to the United States to seek their fortunes. The American Civil War (1861-1865) delayed further immigration until the 1870s. The United States had abundant natural resources; land, water, coal and iron ore; and after the great wave of immigration from Europe and Asia in the late 19th century; it also had the labor. During the late 1800s, industrialization spread to Russia and Japan, in both cases by government initiatives.

E. The period of production from the mid-nineteenth century to World War I is often called the “Second Industrial Revolution.” Although the basic principles of industrialization remained the same, this period perfected the production of steel which in turn led to the rise of tall buildings in cities and more precise machinery to produce more complex goods. This period also saw great advancements in chemistry and medicine, in electrical motors and the internal combustion engine.

II. New patterns of global trade and production developed and further integrated the global economy as industrialists sought raw materials and new markets for the increasing amount and array of goods produced in their factories.

A. As we have seen, the rapid production of goods during the Industrial Revolution created the need for large amounts of raw materials. This need created economic links between advanced industrial nations and less developed nations of the world. Many countries in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and Southeast Asia became highly dependent on a single cash crop for export - such as sugar, cotton, and rubber - giving them the nickname of "Banana Republics." Such economies were very vulnerable to any change in the international market. Foreign investors owned and controlled the plantations that produced these crops, and most of the profits went to them. Very little of the profits actually improved the living conditions for people that lived in those areas, and since they had little money to spend, a market economy could not develop. A prime example of this integration between industrial and export economies is the relationship between England, on the one hand, and India and Egypt on the other.

To meet the needs of its textile industry, the British encouraged the growing of cotton in undeveloped places like Egypt and India. This became especially important to the British during the American civil war, when the flow of cotton coming in from the United States dropped significantly. Large loans from England funded irrigation projects, railroads, and other improvements; much land was devoted to the cultivation of cotton. However, after the conclusion of the U.S. Civil War, American cotton took much of this business back from the Egyptians. The Egyptian economy crashed. Debilitated by crushing debt, Egypt declared bankruptcy in 1876. They were occupied by the British six years later.

India did not fare better. Indian politicians and landlords converted their fields to cotton in order to meet the demand in Britain. The indigenous workers were paid next to nothing. The cotton was sent to textile mills in England, made into clothing, and exported around the world. Some of these textiles came back to India and were purchased by the upper classes who had earned the money to do so by exploiting the labor of lower class Indians.

B. One significant result in these undeveloped areas was the decline in agricultural production in order to supply raw materials to industrial nations. Most families in India supported themselves by farming and raising livestock. After Britain colonized India, people there began to devote part of their land to the cultivation of cotton, often in order to pay taxes to the English government. Cotton is notoriously hard on the soil. It drains the nutrients very quickly and prefers virgin land. As the fertility of the land dropped, and less land was used to grow food, severe famine came to India in the late 1870s. Several million Indians died of starvation.

In the Congo in central Africa, rubber was the most important export. In the late 19th century the Africans suffered horrendous atrocities under the Belgian king Leopold II. Natives unable to harvest set quotas in rubber trees were mutilated and beaten. Agricultural production dropped significantly and many starved to death. During its colonial period, about 10 million Congolese perished—fifty percent of its population.

C. Producing large quantities of goods on machines makes no profit unless there are markets—people to buy those things. Moreover, industrial production occurs so fast that it quickly saturates local and national markets. Thus industrial societies thrive on being able to sell their goods to people outside of their borders and they usually depend on their government to secure these overseas markets.

As the Industrial Revolution grew in the early 19th century, the nations of Europe turned to China with its seemingly unlimited number of potential consumers. Remember that in the previous unit (1450-1750) the Qing Dynasty had closed its doors to foreign imports, and would only take payment in silver and gold for their own exports. To reverse this one-way flow of wealth into China and force them to open to European goods, Britain used a flower.

The opium flower, which grew in the British colony of India, was long known to be a powerful and addictive narcotic. The British began to smuggle it into China to create a market for goods that they could supply from their colony in India. The resulting Opium Wars led to the forced opening of China as a market for the manufactured goods of Europe.

D. Industrialization also created a renewed interest in mining activities. As mentioned earlier, one of the advances of the Second Industrial Revolution was the harnessing of electricity. This revolutionary change brought a surge in demand for a metal that had been known to mankind for thousands of years. Copper was the ideal metal for conducting and creating electrical current. Although household electrical power was not generally available in the 19th century, electricity was beginning to find its first applications. Moreover, copper was the preferred material for the thousands of miles of telegraph cables that were connecting the world at this time. Thus it quickly gained a new global importance. The Rothschild family of France, perhaps the world’s premier banking family, invested heavily in the copper mines in Mexico’s northern frontier. Although the majority of profits from these copper mines went to foreign investors, many Mexican peasants became wage earning miners and Mexico became a major player in the global copper market.

Mining also attracted the imperial powers to South Africa. The British first showed interest in South Africa after Napoleon invaded Egypt and cut English trade routes to India. To secure the southern route to India, the British occupied the Dutch colony of Cape Town and drove the settlers, called Afrikaners, to the north where they formed several independent white republics. After the Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, British interest in south Africa began to wane and they tolerated these Afrikaner states. This all changed after diamonds and gold were discovered in the late 19th century. Thousands of British miners and fortune-hunters rushed into south Africa where they clashed with the Afrikaners. The resulting Boer War led to British victory and the Union of South Africa, a British settler colony that created peace between the English and Dutch only by granting them dominion over the black indigenous people. This would culminate into the formal system of Apartheid in the mid 20th century.

III. To facilitate investments at all levels of industrial production, financiers developed and expanded various financial institutions.

The ideological basis of industrial capitalism

The most important idea behind industrialization is capitalism, the belief that capital (wealth) and the means of production (the tools that increase the value of raw materials) should be owned privately. It is to be contrasted with socialism, which holds that the means of production should be owned communally and the wealth produced therein should be shared.

Adam Smith is considered the father of Capitalism.
Capitalism is associated with the thought of the Scottish philosopher Adam Smith. Smith believed that self-interest is the most basic motivation of economic activity, and should not be interfered with. If people are allowed to keep the wealth they create, and pursue their selfish goals, they will produce more, and this will in turn benefit the most people in a society. He expressed this in his most famous statement:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

John Stuart Mill pioneered modern liberalism, the idea of individual freedom.
Thus capitalists believe that the buying and selling of goods should be free from government regulations and tariffs. Free markets will produce the most wealth and benefit the greatest number of people at all levels of society.

Closely tied to capitalism is the philosophy of Classical Liberalism. In the same way that capitalists believe the economy should not be regulated by the government, Liberalism holds that individual choice should not be limited by those in power. This idea of liberty, most associated with the English philosopher John Stuart Mill, maintains that an individual should be able to do anything they freely chose as long as it does not harm another person. Consequently, Classical Liberals believe in freedom of speech, the press, and individual belief. They echo the voices of the earlier Enlightenment in that a government should have the consent of its people.

New Changes in Financing and Business

These ideas of liberty, private ownership, and the ability to invest capital freely, combined to form new financial instruments that improved methods of industrial investment. Joint-stock companies, which formed in the previous era to fund trade ventures into the Indian Ocean, matured during industrialization into advanced stock markets. Factories are expensive, and it is not often that an individual can fund them, nor is it wise to place one’s entire fortune into a single business venture. To share the cost and risks of operating factories, many investors would pool their capital together. Thus was born the corporation, a business owned by the stockholders who invest in it. Each investor would purchase “shares” (or stock) in the business, and as earnings increased, investors divided the profits or loses according to the number of shares they possessed. Exchanges developed in London and New York for the sole purpose of buying and selling stocks. Now, most anyone with wealth could invest and benefit from expensive business ventures in which they could never have participated individually. A wealthy business class of entrepreneurs emerged; the aristocracy was obsolete. The activities of corporations could cross borders. An example of a transcontinental corporation is the United Fruit Company. Formed in the United States in 1899, the United Fruit Company did most of its business in fruit producing regions of Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of South America. It became so powerful in these areas that it gained a monopoly over them and grew to be a powerful influence on the governments there, urging politicians to create land and taxation policies favorable to their business.

IV. There were major developments in transportation and communications.

Once the textile industry began its exponential growth, transportation of raw materials to factories and manufactured goods to customers had to be worked out. New inventions in transportation spurred the Industrial Revolution further. A key invention was the steam engine that was perfected by James Watt in the late 1790s. Although steam power had been used before, Watt invented ways to make it practical and efficient to use for both water and land transportation. Perhaps the most revolutionary use of steam energy was the railroad engine, which drove English industry after 1820. The first long-distance rail line from the coastal city of Liverpool to inland Manchester was an immediate success upon its completion in 1830, and within a few decades, most British cities were connected by rail. Railroads revolutionized life in Britain in several ways:

  1. Railroads gave manufacturers a cheap way to transport materials and finished products.
  2. The railroad boom created hundreds of thousands of new jobs for both railroad workers and miners.
  3. The railroad industry spawned new industries and inventions and increased the productivity of others. For example, agricultural products could be transported farther without spoiling, so farmers benefited from the railroads.
  4. Railroads transported people, allowing them to work in cities far away from their homes and travel to resort areas for leisure.

As revolutionary as the railroads were, they did not replace transportation by water. Steam engines replaced sails as the source of power on large ships. To increase the accessibility of steam powered ships, nations embarked on several projects of canal construction. The Erie Canal, which opened in the United States in 1825, ran over 350 miles to connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. More importantly, the British and French constructed the 100 mile Suez Canal in Egypt, which allowed for all-water passage from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea without having to navigate around Africa. Egypt gained a much higher strategic importance because of the Canal. In 1881 work began on the Panama Canal which was completed by the first year of World War I. Shorter ship routes allowed imperial nations to have more direct control over their colonies by reducing the time it took to communicate and travel. Methods of communication were changing as well. The telegraph could send a message from London to India in only a few hours. Now, imperial capital cities could respond to colonial crises faster. Merchants could relay messages about market demand and make orders for raw materials on a daily basis. In short, improved transportation and communication helped empires control and exploit their colonies with greater efficiency; imperial nations could now micromanage colonies.

V. The development and spread of global capitalism led to a variety of responses.
The Industrial Revolution
New Lanark
created a huge gap between the wealthy and the laboring masses, a contrast that did not go unnoticed by the critics of the new industrial society.

One group of critics, the Utopian Socialists, interpreted Enlightenment ideas of equality to mean social and economic equality in addition to political equality. They wanted the workers, rather than private investors, to collectively own the means of production and share in the wealth that their labor on machines created. Robert Owen, for example, created an industrial village in which the profits of industrial production when back into the community. At New Lanark, his industrial community in Scotland, workers lived and worked in clean, healthy facilities, a condition that astonished the many visitors drawn to see this experience first hand. Instead of working in factories, children were educated. Owens left Scotland to create another socialist industrial settlement in the United States, New Harmony.

More radical than the Utopian Socialists were the communists. Karl Marx, the founder of modern communism, wondered how a system that produced enormous amounts of wealth could also perpetuate such wide spread poverty. Marx first wrote about his interpretation of history and vision for the future in The Communist Manifesto in 1848. He saw capitalism, or the free market, as an economic system that exploited workers and increased the gap between the rich and the poor. He believed that conditions in capitalist countries would eventually become so bad that workers would join together in a Revolution of the Proletariat (workers), and overcome the bourgeoisie, or owners of factories and other means of production. Marx envisioned a new world after the revolution, one in which social class would disappear because ownership of private property would be banned. According to Marx, communism encourages equality and cooperation, and without property to encourage greed and strife, governments would be unnecessary. His theories took root in Europe, but never became the philosophy behind European governments, but it eventually took new forms in early 20th century Russia and China.

The revolution Marx longed for never occurred in the industrial West or the United States. In the late 19th century, various reform movements raised the standard of living for workers to a degree that quenched the revolutionary spirit of the Proletariat. Thus, in England and the United States, the revolution took place at the ballot box. At the beginning of the 19th century, the lower classes in these nations could not vote because property ownership was a requirement for suffrage. Once these requirements were dropped, the working classes gained suffrage, and they voted for politicians sympathetic to their conditions. Soon, laws restricting child labor were passed. Minimum wages and maximum hours of the work per week were set by law. Later on, labor unions were permitted and workers gained the right of collective bargaining. In the newly formed nation of Germany, the government created welfare systems such as unemployment protection, healthcare and retirement programs. It is not surprising that the place where Marxism did become an organized political party was the country in which the workers’ voices could not be heard. Russian industrial laborers did not get the right to vote, so the reforms that benefited workers in Europe and the USA did not come to Russia. Thus Russians were more likely to be drawn to radical ideas and their manifold expressions. The Bolshevik party, Russia’s communist party, was born. Others, called Anarchists, advocated the elimination of government altogether. An anarchist assassinated Tsar Alexander II in the latter half of the 19th century. There were some civilizations whose traditional culture did not provide fertile ground for the growth of industrialization. In China, Confucians had long been suspicious of merchants and their activity. Moreover, the competitive nature of market capitalism impelled businesses to always seek the cheapest sources of materials and the most profitable markets in which to sell them. This practice was corrosive to the bonds of social loyalty and reciprocity favored by Confucian thought. Conservatives in the Ottoman Empire struggled with similar issues. The warrior elites were supported by agriculture, so they attempted to maintain former methods of economic production.

State sponsored Industrialization outside the West In Russia the tsarist government encouraged the construction of railroads to link places within the vast reaches of the empire. The most impressive one was the Trans-Siberian line constructed between 1891 and 1904, linking Moscow to Vladivostock on the Pacific Ocean. The railroads also gave Russians access to the empire's many coal and iron deposits, and by 1900 Russia ranked fourth in the world in steel production. The Tsar ordered the emancipation of the serfs, in large part to provide an industrial labor force. During the Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government also pushed industrialization, hiring thousands of foreign experts to instruct Japanese workers and mangers in the late 1800s. Railroads were constructed, mines were opened, a banking system was organized, and industries were started that produced ships, armaments, silk, cotton, chemicals, and glass. By 1900 Japan was the most industrialized land in Asia, and was set to become a 20th century power.

The Welfare state The conditions of industrial society led some people to change their conception of the role of government. The Enlightenment taught that governments were to protect people’s individual freedoms and property. Beyond this, they were to basically stay out of people’s lives and the economy. But with industrialization, some nations began to conceive of a new role for government: looking after the welfare of its people. The first nation in Europe to adopt this view was the newest. Germany had only formed in 1871, but its government, under Bismarck, created a state pension (retirement) plan, government sponsored healthcare, and unemployment benefits for those out of work. The welfare state had been born, and in the next 50 years would spread across Europe and North America to varying degrees.

VI. The ways in which people organized themselves into societies also underwent significant transformation in the industrialized states due to the fundamental restructuring of the global economy.

Industrial changes: social classes
A major social change brought about by the Industrial Revolution was the development of a relatively large middle class, or "bourgeoisie" in industrialized countries. This class had been growing in Europe since medieval days when wealth was based on land, and most people were peasants. With the advent of industrialization, wealth was increasingly based on money and success in business enterprises, although the status of inherited titles of nobility based on land ownership remained in place. However, land had never produced such riches as did business enterprises of this era, and so members of the bourgeoisie were the wealthiest people around.
However, most members of the middle class were not wealthy, owning small businesses or serving as managers or administrators in large businesses. They generally had comfortable lifestyles, and many were concerned with respectability, or the demonstration that they were of a higher social class than factory workers were. They valued the hard work, ambition, and individual responsibility that had led to their own success, and many believed that the lower classes only had themselves to blame for their failures. This attitude generally extended not to just the urban poor, but to people who still farmed in rural areas. The urban poor were often at the mercy of business cycles; swings between economic hard times to recovery and growth. Factory workers were laid off from their jobs during hard times, making their lives even more difficult. With this recurrent unemployment came public behaviors, such as drunkenness and fighting, that appalled the middle class, who stressed sobriety, thrift, industriousness, and responsibility. Social class distinctions were reinforced by Social Darwinism, a philosophy by Englishman Herbert Spencer. He argued that human society operates by a system of natural selection, whereby individuals and ways of life automatically gravitate to their proper station. According to Social Darwinists, poverty was a "natural condition" for inferior individuals.

Industrial changes: gender roles
Changes in gender roles generally fell along class lines, with relationships between men and women of the middle class being very different from those in the lower classes.
Lower class men and women:
Factory workers often resisted the work discipline and pressures imposed by their middle class bosses. They worked long hours in unfulfilling jobs, and in their leisure time often engaged in things thought unrespectable by the middle class such as going to bars and pubs, and staging dog or chicken fights. Meanwhile, most of their wives were working, most commonly as domestic servants for middle class households, jobs that they usually preferred to factory work. Young women in rural areas often came to cities or suburban areas to work as house servants. They often sent some of their wages home to support their families in the country, and some saved dowry money. Others saved to support ambitions to become clerks or secretaries, jobs increasingly filled by women, but supervised by men.
Middle class men and women:

Paus family portrait NFB-18645
When production moved outside the home, men who became owners or managers of factories gained status. Industrial work kept the economy moving, and it was valued more than the domestic chores traditionally carried out by women. Men's wages supported the families, since they usually were the ones who made their comfortable life styles possible. The work ethic of the middle class infiltrated leisure time as well. Many were intent on self-improvement, reading books or attending lectures on business or culture. Many factory owners and managers stressed the importance of church attendance for all, hoping that factory workers could be persuaded to adopt middle-class values of respectability. Middle class women generally did not work outside of the home, partly because men came to see stay-at-home wives as a symbol of their success. What followed was a "cult of domesticity" that justified removing women from the work place. Instead, they filled their lives with the care of children and the operation of their homes. Since most middle-class women had servants, they spent time supervising them, but they also had to do fewer household chores themselves.

Historians disagree in their answers to the question of whether or not gender inequality grew because of industrialization. Gender roles were generally fixed in agricultural societies, and if the lives of working class people in industrial societies are examined, it is difficult to see that any significant changes in the gender gap took place at all. However, middle class gender roles provide the real basis for the argument. On the one hand, some argue that women were forced out of many areas of meaningful work, isolated in their homes to obsess about issues of marginal importance. On the farm, their work was "women's work," but they were an integral part of the central enterprise of their time: agriculture. Their work in raising children was vital to the economy, but industrialization rendered children superfluous as well, whose only role was to grow up safely enough to fill their adult gender-related duties. On the other hand, the "cult of domesticity" included a sort of idolizing of women that made them responsible for moral values and standards. Women were seen as stable and pure, the vision of what kept their men devoted to the tasks of running the economy. Women as standard-setters, then, became the important force in shaping children to value respectability, lead moral lives, and be responsible for their own behaviors. Without women filling this important role, the entire social structure that supported industrialized power would collapse. And who could wish for more power than that?

Industrial changes: the family
Because machinery had to be placed in a large, centrally located place, workers had to go to factories to perform their work, a major change in lifestyles from those of agricultural societies. In previous days all family members did most of their work on the farm, which meant that the family stayed together most of the time. Now, people left their homes for hours at a time, often leaving very early and not returning till very late. Usually both husband and wife worked away from home, and for most of this period, so did children. Family life was never the same again. In agricultural societies, what one meant by the word “family” usually consisted in a larger group of people than what we typically mean by that word today. Farm work required many members of extended families two work together: parents, children, aunts uncles and cousins blended together and usually thought of themselves as a single family unit. In industrial societies, parents and their children earned wages and became economically independent from other members of the extended family. This “nuclear” family lived under a single roof, often married later in life, were not arranged marriages like in previous times, and had fewer children.

Industrial changes: demographics
This era saw a basic change in the population structures of industrialized countries. Large families had always been welcome in agricultural societies because the more people a family had, the more land they were able to work. Children's work was generally worth more than it costs to take care of them. However, in the west, including the United States, the birth rate declined to historically low levels in the 19th century. This demographic transition from high birth rates to low reflected the facts that child labor was being replaced by machines and that children were not as useful as they were in agricultural societies. Instead, as life styles changed in urban settings, it became difficult to support large families, both in terms of supporting them with salaries from industrial jobs and in housing them in crowded conditions in the cities. High birth rates continued elsewhere in the world, so the west's percentage of total world population began to slip by 1900 even as its world power peaked.

Urban life During the Industrial Revolution, cities often grew faster than the infrastructure that supported them; rapid urbanization outpaced the implementation of sewage systems and other utilities. In this unsanitary environment, disease spread rapidly. In 1854, an outbreak of cholera in London led the city government to install a massive network of underground sewers. Dr. John Snow, by applying the scientific method, discovered the contamination source in a single water pump on Broad Street. Civil engineers designed a major underground sewage system to solve the problem of contaminated drinking water. Government action and science were solving major urban problems caused by industrialization and urban growth.