Thomas S. Ashton, The Industrial Revolution, London: Oxford University Press, 1964. pp. 119, bibliography, index.
Introduction & Bibliography of T. S. Ashton
Throughout history, revolutions sprung from every corner of their time. It started with those who thought differently with the courage to confront those who were above them. From the labourers to the masters, from the factory working class to the ruling classes, every aspect could be and would have been the spark to a new era. The industrial revolution was no different. Thomas S. Ashton was a reputed economic historian of his time, and wrote his views on the revolution between the 18th and the 19th century; what is now coined to be the industrial revolution. Ashton was born a little more than half a decade after the revolution took place; even though he did not live through such dramatic socio-economical developments, he was able to experience the aftermath. He wrote The Industrial Revolution (1760-1830) in 1961 near the end of his life, and because of this, he was able to produce this work with such sophistication therefore making this his most renowned piece of work. Ashton was an economical historian, which led me to believe that the economical aspect of his studies directed him to his persistence in statistical significance and the historical aspect of his studies steered him towards the details of historical figures whom might be less popular to others scholars of the same field. Occasionally, due to the nature of his uprising as an economist as well as a historian, he paid excessive attention to the statistical and figures. With this present throughout the book, it would be hardly possible to grasp fully of the concepts he was trying to deliver to the audience. In addition, with his vast knowledge of economics, he applied deep analyses towards economic factors. These would include, and not subjected to, interest rates, and relationship between capital and labour. Ashton focused on how capital was invested, used, obtained, and spread over, and how labour was emigrating, located and relocated. To audiences with minimal knowledge of economics, it would be a difficult task to understand what Ashton was trying to present. Although this might cause a problem, he attempted to provide brief explanation to the persuasion of his ideas. While Ashton goes through the course of change, such as the welfare of the population, the living conditions, wages of workers, and the minds of the general public, he sends a positive message on how this revolution has changed for the better. Even though the topic is still in much debate on whether it had a positive or negative effect on the economy and the generation it affected most, Ashton did not alter from his position. With comparison to Ireland in the same era and same problem of subsistence, that even “if England had remained a nation of cultivators and craftsmen, should hardly have escaped the same fate, and, at best, the weight of a growing population must have pressed down the spring of her spirit.” (Ashton 111) From this point on, the book review will look at how Ashton compares to the general view of how the industrial revolution took place.
The Three Main Industries: Innovations, Inventions and How it Acted as a Catalyst of the Revolution Industry prior to and beginning of this industrial movement was mostly dominated its farming industry. Cultivation played the largest role of the economy simply due to its extensive demand for food and for the fact that it has been an ancient trade. Even as the division of labour is starting to progress industries of all kinds, it was slow, and unable to shift the general labour force away from the agricultural fields. But as time went by, the innovative ideas gave rise to output, and had substantial labour-intensive innovations which led to the opening of other industries. In Ashton’s work, with thorough explanation, gave the reader the sense on how agriculture was expanded, and...
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