The First Industrial Revolution By: Alyssa DeLeon, Hour 7

The First Industrial Revolution all began with a man named Sam Slater. Slater transferred secret European factory plans to the United States, an act of treason. His plans spread quickly and soon after factories and industries were becoming a revolution. Many might consider him as the "GOAT" or the greatest person of all time. We are questioning whether the Industrial Revolution is a blessing or a curse because of the effects on many workers lives and the economy. The Industrial Revolution was a curse because of child labor, increased slavery, and poor working conditions.

Child Labor

The sorrow of child labor.

Child labor was a curse to America during the Industrial Revolution. Instead of learning and having fun, children had to work all day or part-time. This was a major issue because children were uneducated and went into the cycle of poverty. Many children thought they had to work to hold the responsibility of supporting their families who were in poverty. Due to this, many children were uneducated and had to work for jobs with little money, repeating the same life as their family when they were younger; poverty. Young and innocent children were put through harsh conditions such as no heating, disease, uncleanliness, and many more. "At the beginning of the 19th century poor children—some only 4 years old—had workdays as long as 16 hours." This quote very specifically demonstrates some of the lives of children during the Industrial Revolution. Although the Industrial Revolution started many factories and possibly the economy today, child labor should not be apart of it.


Enslaved children and adults picking cotton all day long.

In addition to child labor, slavery increased due to the Industrial Revolution. Slavery had always been a problem in the south, but the practice of slavery spread like wild fire during the Industrial Revolution. With cloth and clothing being produced in the North, cotton was being demanded in the South. Slaves were worked from sunrise to sunset in the fields picking cotton and using a cotton gin to separate the seeds. Cotton was needed more than ever as seen in "U.S History." "Technological innovation and geographic expansion made the south the world's largest producer and exporter of cotton in the 19th century." Now that the cotton gin and the Industrial Revolution began, a slave owner tried to purchase as many enslaved people as they could to make a profit. Slavery was practiced across the entire south and affected many lives, black and white.

Poor Working Conditions

Men in an unclean and unsafe workplace.

Lastly, the Industrial Revolution caused the curse, poor working conditions. Many factories were unsanitary, hazardous, and the bosses were terrible. Some men had to work in dark, moldy places for at least 12 hours a day with no breaks. The bosses did not care if workers suffered, they cared about the money they were earning. In addition, chemicals and disease spread quickly in factories which were dangerous for the workers. Employees were payed very little a day and the employees were usually unskilled. From "The First Industrial Revolution," "Machines spit out smoke and in some factories, workers came out covered in black soot by the end of the day." In result of the poor working conditions due to the Industrial Revolution, Labor Unions were made and many workers went on strike.

Works Cited

"Child labor." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Feb. 2017. Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.

"Cotton and African-American Life." Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Loom: power loom. Image. Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Feb. 2017. Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.

Meyerson, Harold. "How the American South Drives the Low-Wage Economy." The American Prospect. N.p., 6 July 15. Web. 9 Mar. 17.

Textile: textile worker in U.S., 1908. Image. Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Feb. 2017. Accessed 8 Mar. 2017.

"Working and Living Conditions." The Industrial Revolution. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

Writer, Leaf Group. "What Were the Work Conditions in American Factories in 1900?" Synonym. Synonym, 11 Mar. 2014. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

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