Introduction: In the late 18th century, Europe experienced a substantial amount of urbanization due to the increase of industrialized factories, especially in the textile industry. Question: Describe the inventions that improved production and the European marketplace through the pre-Industrial Revolution. How did these advances affect social classes?
Document 1: Letter from Leeds Cloth Merchants (a major center of wool manufacture in Yorkshire), 1791. Defending the use of machines. “ yet anxious to prevent Misrepresentations, which have usually attended the Introduction of the most useful Machines, they wish to remind the Inhabitants of this Town, of the Advantages derived to every flourishing Manufacture from the Application of Machinery; they instance that of Cotton in particular, which in its internal and foreign Demand is nearly alike to our own, and has in a few Years by the Means of Machinery advanced to its present Importance, and is still increasing.”
Document 2: William Radcliffe: On Power Looms, 1828 “ with my little savings, and a practical knowledge of every process from the cotton-bag to the piece of cloth, such as carding by hand or by the engine, spinning by the hand-wheel or jenny, winding, warping, sizing, looming the web, and weaving either by hand or fly-shuttle, I was ready to commence business for myself; and by the year 1789, I was well established, and employed many hands both in spinning and weaving, as a master manufacturer.”
Document 3: Andrew Ure (Professor at the University of Glascow): The Philosophy of the Manufacturers, 1835. “ The blessings which physio-mechanical science has bestowed on society, and the means it has still in store for ameliorating the lot of mankind, have been too little dwelt upon; while, on the other hand, it has been accused of lending itself to the rich capitalists as an instrument for harassing the poor, and of exacting from the operative an accelerated rate of work.”
Document 4: John Aikin: Manchester Becomes a Thriving Industrial City, 1795. “ The improvements kept increasing, till the capital engines for twist were perfected, by which thousands of spindles are put in motion by a water wheel, and managed mostly by children, without confusion and with less waste of cotton than by the former methods. But the carding and slubbing preparatory to twisting required a greater range of invention”
Document 5: Edmond Cartwright: The Power Loom
Document 6: William Radcliffe: On Power Looms, 1828. “ the operative weavers on machine yarns, both as cottagers and small farmers, even with three times their former rents, they might be truly said to be placed in a higher state of ” wealth, peace, and godliness,” by the great demand for, and high price of, their labour, than they had ever before experienced.”
Document 7: Leeds Woolen Workers Petition, 1786. Petition by workers in Leeds (a major center of wool manufacture in Yorkshire) appeared in local newspapers. “ We therefore hope, that the feelings of humanity will lead those who l, have it in their power to prevent the use of those machines, to give every discouragement they can to what has a tendency so prejudicial to their fellow-creatures.”
Document 8: Observations on the loss of Woolen Spinning, 1794. “. . . another advantage of this work was, that until these Machines were introduced, it was equally to be obtained in every County, unlike every manufactory, a child with a Wheel was never thrown absolutely out of bread, by change of place when grown up. – But all this is altered….”
Document 9: Friederich Engels: Industrial Manchester, 1844. “ The whole assemblage of buildings is commonly called Manchester, and contains about four hundred thousand inhabitants, rather more than less. The town itself is peculiarly built, so that a person may live in it for years, and go in and out daily without coming into contact with a working-people’s quarter or even with workers, that is, so long as he confines himself to his business or to pleasure walks. This arises chiefly from the fact, that by unconscious tacit agreement, as well as with outspoken conscious determination, the working people’s quarters are sharply separated from the sections of the city reserved for the middle-class; . . .”
Document 10: P. Gaskell: The Physical Deterioration of the Textile Workers, 1833. “ factory labour is a species of work, in some respects singularly unfitted for children. Cooped up in a heated atmosphere, debarred the necessary exercise, remaining in one position for a series of hours, one set or system of muscles alone called into activity, it cannot be wondered at–that its effects are injurious to the physical growth of a child.”
Thesis: Inventions suck as the spinning jenny, power loom, and the overall introduction to the textile industry affected social classes of Europe dramatically; social elitists became exposed to a new opportunity for business and profit, while artisans and lower class individuals often lost work, or were forced into demanding labor. 1st Group: Artisans that lost their trade to factories
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