Manchester And The Industrial Revolution

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The city of Manchester grew to become a city of industry over the course of the 19th century. Several aspects of the Industrial Revolution affected the growth of Manchester, such as machines that streamlined the textile manufacturing process, and steam-powered engines and locomotives. At the dawn of the 19th century, Manchester’s growth served the rich at the cost of the poor, but by the third quarter of the century, reforms benefitted the proletariat as well. Manchester’s growth created a variety of investment opportunities, and many landowners and factory proprietors prospered from industry. However, in order for the rich to prosper, the working class had to work long shifts in hazardous conditions, only to be paid meagre wages. Fortunately, …show more content…
Manchester’s primary industry was the textile industry. In 1816, it lead the world with 86 steam-powered cotton mills and 1,819 warehouses. Manchester’s industrial prowess impressed French visitor Alexis de Tocqueville so much that, according to Document 4, he wrote that from Manchester, “the greatest stream of human industry flows out to fertilize the whole world.” (By taking an observational tour of England, de Tocqueville informed the French citizenry of both the benefits and costs of industry; France was not as industrialized at the time.) It is clear that Manchester was a major industrial power in the 19th century whose exports could be found around the world. In Document 3, actress Frances Anne Kemble noted Manchester’s “triumphs of machinery and the gain and glory which wealthy Liverpool and Manchester men were likely to derive from it.” (As Kemble was wealthy writer and actress, it is interesting to see her bias against the poor protesters, describing them as “grimy” and “tattered”.) From this, it is evident that Manchester’s growth in terms of industry and trade benefited the rich business owners of Manchester. With their new fortunes, the upper class of Manchester could afford to eat well and take advantage of various novel luxuries like the telephone and the train. The wealth that Manchester brought to its rich investors …show more content…
These reforms stemmed from changes in government structure. In 1853, Manchester’s village-style government was scrapped in favor of a mayor-council style more suited for a large city. This democratic change resulted in regulation of working conditions and construction of public buildings, both of which benefitted the poor. “The conditions of the factory laborers have been vastly improved within the last quarter of a century,” wrote historian William Alexander Abram in 1868. “The lavish provision of public parks, baths, and free libraries promotes the health, happiness and culture of the industrial orders.” (Abram’s flowery language is appropriate for his educated audience, as he wrote this in a scholarly journal.) Public infrastructure was also developed as part of the reform in Manchester. Document 1 illustrates the growth of Manchester in the 19th century, as well as the development of infrastructure. In the map of Manchester in 1850, development of canals and railroads can be seen. (The creation of the map was likely encouraged by the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution movements, which promoted scientific activity like mapmaking.) Some of the new developments in Manchester would have been the public services described in Document 6. Canals and railroads themselves benefitted the poor as well. According to “The Western Heritage”, “The

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