Cities had no development plans, sanitary codes, or building codes. Moreover, they lacked adequate housing, education, and police protection for the people who poured in from the countryside to seek jobs. Most of the unpaved streets had no drains, and garbage collected in heaps on them. Workers lived in dark, dirty shelters, with whole families crowding into one bedroom. Sickness was widespread. Epidemics of the deadly disease cholera regularly swept through the slums of Great Britain's industrial cities. In 1842, a British government study showed an average life span to be 17 years for working class people in one large city, compared with 38 years in a nearby rural area. Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton (1848) is a work of fiction. But it presents a startlingly accurate portrayal of urban life experienced by many at the time. Gaskell provides a realistic description of the dank cellar dwelling of one family in a Manchester slum. Elizabeth Gaskell was also a British writer whose novels showed sympathy for the working class. However, not everyone lived miserably in the urban areas. Well-to-do merchants and factory owners often built luxurious homes in the suburbs. The Middle Class is a social class made up of skilled workers, professionals, businesspeople, and wealthy farmers. The new middle class transformed the social structure of Great Britain. In the past, landowners and aristocrats had occupied the top position in British society. They wielded the social and political power. Now some factory owners, merchants, and bankers grew wealthier than the landowners and aristocrats. Yet important social distinctions divided the two wealthy classes. Landowners looked down on those who had made their fortunes in the "vulgar" business world. Not until late in the 1800s were rich entrepreneurs considered the social equals of the lords of the countryside. Gradually, a larger middle class, neither rich nor poor, emerged. The upper middle class consisted of government employees, doctors, lawyers, and managers of factories, mines, and shops. The lower middle class included factory overseers and such skilled workers as toolmakers, mechanical drafters, and printers. These people enjoyed a comfortable standard of living. It created jobs for workers, contributed to the wealth of the nation, fostered technological progress and invention, increased the production of goods and raised the standard of living, and provided the hope of improvement in people's lives. Other industrial benefits were healthier diets, better housing, and cheaper, mass-produced clothing. Because the Industrial Revolution created a demand for engineers as well as clerical and professional workers, it expanded educational opportunities. The middle and upper classes prospered immediately from the Industrial Revolution. For the workers it took longer, but their lives gradually improved during the 1800s. Laborers eventually won higher wages, shorter hours, and better working conditions after they joined together to form labor unions. Long term effects of the Industrial Revolution are still evident. Most people today in industrialized countries can afford consumer goods that would have been considered luxuries 50 or 60 years ago. In addition, their living and working conditions are much improved over the workers in the 19th century. Also, profits derived from industrialization produced tax revenues. These funds have allowed local, state, and federal governments to invest in urban improvements and raise the standard of living of most city dwellers. Manchester's unique advantages made it a leading example of the new industrial city. This northern English town had ready access to waterpower. It also had available labor from the nearby countryside and an outlet to the sea at Liverpool. "From this filthy sewer pure gold flows", wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, the French writer, after he visited Manchester in 1835. Manchester's rapid, unplanned growth made it an unhealthy place for the poor people who lived and worked there. But wealth flowed from its factories. It went first to the mill owners and the new middle class. Eventually, but not immediately, the working class saw their standard of living rise as well. Manchester's business owners took pride in mastering each detail of the manufacturing process. They worked many hours and risked their own money. For their efforts, they were rewarded with high profits. Many erected gracious homes on the outskirts of town. To provide the mill owners with high profits, workers labored under terrible conditions. Children as young as six joined their parents in the factories. There, for six days a week, they toiled from 6 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m., with only half an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner. To keep the children awake, mill supervisors beat them. Tiny hands repaired broken threads in Manchester's spinning machines, replaced thread in the bobbins, or swept up cotton fluff, the dangerous machinery injured many children. The fluff filled their lungs and made them cough. Just like Britain, industrialization in the United States began in the textile industry. Eager to keep the secrets of industrialization to itself, Britain had forbidden engineers, mechanics, and toolmakers to leave the country. In 1789, a young British mill worker named Samuel Slater emigrated to the United States. There, Slater built a spinning machine from memory and a partial design. The following year, Moses Brown opened the first factory in the United States to house Slater's machines in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. But the Pawtucket factory mass-produced only one part of finished cloth, the thread. In 1813, Francis Cabot Lowell of Boston and four other investors revolutionized American textile industry. They mechanized every stage in the manufacture of cloth. Their weaving factory in Waltham, Massachusetts, earned them enough money to fund a larger operation in another Massachusetts town. When Lowell died, the remaining partners named the town after him. By the 1820s, Lowell, Massachusetts, had become a booming manufacturing center and a model for other towns. Industrialization widened the wealth gap between industrialized and non-industrialized countries, even while it strengthened their economic ties. To keep factories running and workers fed, industrialized countries required a steady supply of raw materials from less-developed lands. In turn, industrialized countries viewed poor countries as markets for their manufactured products. Britain led in exploiting its overseas colonies for resources and markets. Soon other European countries, the United States, Russia, and Japan followed Britain's lead, seizing colonies for their economic resources. Imperialism, the policy of extending one country's rule over many other lands, gave even more power and wealth to these already wealthy nations. Imperialism was born out of the cycle of industrialization, the need for resources to supply the factories of Europe, and the development of new markets around the world. Smith's basic ideas were supported by British economists Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo. Like Smith, they believed that natural laws governed economic life. Their important ideas were the foundation of laissez-faire capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system in which the factors of production are privately owned and money is invested in business ventures to make a profit. These ideas also helped bring about the Industrial Revolution. In An Essay on the Principle of Population, written in 1798, Thomas Malthus argued that population tended to increase more rapidly than the food supply. Without wars and epidemics to kill off the extra people, most were destined to be poor and miserable. The predictions of Malthus seemed to be coming true in the 1840s. David Ricardo, a wealthy stockbroker, took Malthus's theory one step further in his book, Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817). Like Malthus, Ricardo believed that a permanent underclass would always be poor. In a market system, if there are many workers and abundant resources, then labor and resources are cheap. If there are few workers and scarce resources, then they are expensive. Ricardo believed that wages would be forced down as population increased. These laissez-faire thinkers opposed government efforts to help poor workers. They thought that creating a minimum wage laws and better working conditions would upset the free market system, lower profits, and undermine the production of wealth. French reformers such as Charles Fourier, Saint-Simon, and others sought to offset the ill effects of industrialization with a new economic system called socialism. In socialism, the factors of production are owned by the public and operate for the welfare of all. Socialism grew out of an optimistic view of human nature, a belief in progress, and a concern for social justice. Socialists argued that the government should plan the economy rather than depend on free-market capitalism to do the job. They argued that government control of factories, mines, railroads, and other key industries would end poverty and promote equality. Public ownership, they believed, would help workers, who were at the mercy of their employers. Some socialists, such as Louis Blanc, advocated change through extension of the right to vote. The writings of a German journalist named Karl Marx introduced the world to a radical type of socialism called Marxism. Karl Marx studied philosophy at the University of Berlin before he turned to journalism and economics. In 1849, Marx joined the flood of radicals who fled continental Europe for England. He declared that working men have no country. Marx's theories of socialism and the inevitable revolt of the working class made him little money. He earned a meager living as a journalist. Friedrich Engels gave him financial aid. Marx and Friedrich Engels, a German whose father owned a textile mill in Manchester, outlined their ideas in a 23-page pamphlet called The Communist Manifesto.
In their manifesto, Marx and Engels argued that human societies have always been divided into warring classes. In their own time, these were the middle class "haves" or employers, called the bourgeoisie, and the "have-nots" or workers, called the proletariat. While the wealthy controlled the means of producing goods, the poor performed backbreaking labor under terrible conditions. According to Marx and Engels, the Industrial Revolution had enriched the wealthy and impoverished the poor. The two writers predicted that the workers would overthrow the owners.Marx believed that the capitalist system, which produced the Industrial Revolution, would eventually destroy itself in the following way.
Factories would drive small artisans out of business, leaving a small number of manufacturers to control all the wealth. The large proletariat would revolt, seize the factories and mills from the capitalists, and produce what society needed. Workers, sharing in the profits, would bring about economic equality for all people. The workers would control the government in a "dictatorship of the proletariat". After a period of cooperative living and education, the state or government would wither away as a classless society developed. Marx called this final phase pure communism. Communism was described by Marx as a form of complete socialism in which the means of production - all land, mines, factories, railroads, and businesses - would be owned by the people. Private property would in effect cease to exist. All goods and services would be shared equally. Published in 1848, The Communist Manifesto produced few short term results. Though widespread revolts shook Europe during 1848-1849, Europe's leaders eventually put down the uprisings. Only after the turn of the century did the fiery Marxist pamphlet produce explosive results. In the 1900s, Marxism inspired revolutionaries such as Russia's Lenin, China's Mao Zedong, and Cuba's Fidel Castro. William Wilberforce, a highly religious man, was a member of Parliament who led their fight for abolition - the end of slave trade and slavery in the British Empire. Parliament passed a bill to end the slave trade in the British West Indies in 1807. After he retired from Parliament in 1825, Wilberforce continued his fight to free the slaves. Britain finally abolished slavery in its empire in 1833. British antislavery activists had mixed motives. Some, such as Wilberforce, were morally against slavery. Others viewed slave labor as an economic threat. Furthermore, a new class of industrialists developed who supported cheap labor rather than slave labor. In the United States the movement to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence by ending slavery grew in the early 1800s. The enslavement of African people finally ended in the United States when the Union won the Civil War in 1865. Then, enslavement persisted in the Americas in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Brazil. In Puerto Rico, slavery ended in 1873. Spain abolished slavery in its Cuban colony in 1886. Not until 1888 did Brazil's huge enslaved population win freedom.