The Effects of Technology on Early Modern History

Published: 2021-06-29 07:04:46
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Category: History Other

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As technology progresses and enters into multiple spheres of our lives, its repercussions are seen in the way society functions. The Industrial Revolution marked the dominance of machines. Animal and human labors were replaced by magnificent equipment that surpassed them in efficiency and strength. This brought multiple changes to the socioeconomic structure of most western nations. Societies evolved with urbanization and new stratification levels, and economic schools such as capitalism developed and gave rise to communism.
Before the boom of the Industrial Revolution, the majority of western populations was agrarian with close to eighty-percent of its population living outside cities (Ashton & Hudson, 1998). Towns met the needs of the local farmers, and production centers serviced their immediate communities. As factories sprung up and supplied mass-produced goods, their prices, rates, and quality became impossible to compete with on a cottage industry basis. Because only the wealthy could afford the new machinery, craftsmen lost their livelihoods to the competition and migrated to the cities with the hope of a job in the factory system (Ashton & Hudson, 1998). Cities such as London, the birth place of the Industrial Revolution, teemed with people and grew from an estimated population of 700,000 in 1700 to over 8,600,000 inhabitants by 1939 (London Online, 2012). Unfortunately, cities had neither public health and sanitation services nor infrastructures for procuring basic necessities of water and shelter and removing waste for this concentration of people. Governments were not prepared or experienced to handle the needs of this influx of people who arrived (Ashton & Hudson, 1998). Poverty, ignorance, and the lack of public works resulted in outbreaks of malaria, cholera, and typhoid in a dense society. Acts such as the Public Health Act of 1875 were passed in response and materialized into public works that are the basis of successful urban life (Ashton & Hudson, 1998).

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