Industrial Revolution: Illustration


Figure 1.--This is a 19th century image commonly used to illustrate school text books. We are not sure yet who the illustrator was. It highlights the poverty of the new industrial workers, including the use of child and women workers which was a part of the Industrial Revolution. On the other hand its gives the mistaken impression that the Industrial Revolution created poverty. In fact it created wealth and while the wealth created was poorly ditrubuted, it did not all go into the hands of rich factory owners. The Industrial Revolution was what massively expanded the middle class and made the West the wealthiest region of the world. Socialist influenced commentators use images like list to criticize capitalism, but fail to confront the fact that socialism destroys wealth as can be seen in the poverty of modern socialist states..

This is a 19th century image commonly used to illustrate school text books. We are not sure yet who the illustrator was. It highlights the poverty of the new industrial workers, including the use of child and women workers which was aart of the Industrial Revolution. On the other hand its gives the mistaken impression that the Industrial Revolution created poverty. In fact it created wealth and while the wealth created was poorly ditrubuted, it did not all go into the hands of rich factory owners. The Industrial Revolution was what massively expanded the middle class and made the West the wealthiest region of the world. Socialist influenced commentators use images like list to criticize capitalism, but fail to confront the fact that socialism destroys wealth as can be seen in the poverty of modern socialist states.

Illustration

This is a 19th century image commonly used to illustrate school text books. We are not sure yet who the illustrator was. This is important to know because he is making a very powerful political statement. It is important when assessing illustrations, especially drawings, to do know who drew the image and where it was published. There is no doubt that working conditions were harsh and that women and children were forced to work in the 18th and 19th centuries. The illusttration, however, may have been altered. A reader tells us, "The illustration has been doctored. It started its life as a pamphlet about a new modern mill. It was got at by a social worker campainger who added the children and woman. I think the boy in white long trousers is in the original but the boy and the girl as well as the ragged woman are additions." The illustration show child labour being used in mule spinning. It is captioned 'Love Conquered Fear', which I do not quite understand. I am not sure who the illustrator was. The illustration appeared in F. Trollope's The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy, published by Henry Colburn, in 1840 (facing page 82).

Poverty

The illustrator highlights the poverty of the new industrial workers, including the use of child and women workers which was a part of the Industrial Revolution. On the other hand its gives the mistaken impression that the Industrial Revolution created poverty. In fact it created wealth and while the wealth created was poorly ditrubuted, it did not all go into the hands of rich factory owners. The Industrial Revolution was what massively expanded the middle class and made the West the wealthiest region of the world. What the illustration does not show and few social commentators address is that the Industrial Revolution did not create either child labor or poverty. It was in fact the Industrial Revolution that created the wealth that allowed large numbers of people to for the first time in human history to emerge from poverty. The unsaid message of this image is that the Indistrial Revolution and capitalism created the povery. The simple fact, however, is that before the Industrial Revolution, most people lived in poverty. There was no idealic rural life before the Industrial Revolution, but rural poverty. And the Industrial Revolution did not create child labor. Before the Industrial Revolution, most children worked. It is only with the Industrial Revolution and the expansion of the Middle Class that the modern concept of childhoofd emerge and that child labor began to be seen as abusive.

Socialism

One of the outcome of the terrible poverty and abuse of industrial workes was Socialism propounded by social reformers and historians like Frederick Engles, Karl Marx, and others. Socialist influenced commentators use images like list to make their case that criticize capitalism was both inefficent and morally corupt. The problem was that Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations was correct and Marx was wrong. Now there is no doubt that that the benefits of the Industrial Revolution and early capitalism were not equally distributed and that early industrial workers suffered terribly. These abuses were gradually addressed through the democratic process emeging in America and Western Europe. Too many modern pundits fail to confront the fact that socialism rather than generating wealth destroys wealth. The fundamental reason that the Soviet Union failed was its inefficent Socialist economy. What occurred in Soviet industry is that the inputs of capital and raw materials into an industrial product exceeded the value of the resulting product. As a result, state concerns could not afford to pay their wirkers a decent wage. The same was the case in all Socialist states fropm China to Cuba. What occured in China when the Communust Government scraped the Socialist economy is graphic proof of the ability od Capitalism to geneate wealth. While the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism created wealth, just the opposite is the case of Socialism. Socialist reforms in Western Europe have seved to better distribute the wealth generated by Capitalism, but they have not generated wealth.






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Created: 8:52 PM 1/4/2008
Last updated: 8:52 PM 1/4/2008