The epoch of the citizens and steam engines is mainly known thanks to the industrial revolution. There were a lot of inventions done in this century and this had led to major changes in society. Until the end of the 18th century most people still worked in agriculture.
The industrial revolution began in England. Here were many small pieces of farmland transformed into some great pieces of land. As a result, they could increase the yield of the soil allowing more food became available. The population grew sharply. But there were fewer and fewer people needed in the agriculture. They had found ways with less time and less labor to obtain a higher yield. Many people left the countryside and moved to the city in search of work.
The factories in the city shots like mushrooms out of the ground. This was due to an invention of James Watt. He had the existing design of the steam engine so that he could serve as an engine for a lot of different machines. So it was easier to propel a boat, for example, with a steam engine. But the steam engine was also used in the production. And thanks to this invention was the easier to transport raw materials. This happened for example with the train. In 1839 the first railway lines in the Netherlands. This ran between Amsterdam and Haarlem.
In some industrial cities was between 1800 and 1850 the population tripled. Never before in history were the cities been so great. All these new urban residents were looking for work in the factories. It was at top speed houses built for these new workers. But there was not enough money or time to build proper houses. The houses were so usually hovels. Not only the living conditions were bad, also the work was unhealthy. They made really long days and got very little pay. The first workers had no rights. The factory owners could itself determine how many hours there had to be worked per day and how much money he wanted to give. Worked there in the beginning also very many children in the factories.
There were many people who oppose child labour. The Government seized only in 1874 in by child labour ban. It was now for the factory owners prohibited to children under 12 years of age. There were also rules to protect the workers. There came a labour code which stated that women and boys under 16 years not more than 11 hours per day were allowed to work. This was an important step in the history.
It seems like women with this law were better off than the men. But this was generally not as. For the rest they had few rights. Aletta Jacobs in Netherlands was one of the first feminists. They demanded voting rights for women. Aletta was the first female doctor and had a good wage.
In this epoch gold a wage limit for the right to vote. That meant that everyone should vote earned enough money. Aletta earned enough money, but was not allowed to vote because they are women. This she found unfair and so they fought, and many women with hair, for women's suffrage. However, this was only at the end of her life.