The Industrial Revolution was the period of enormous social, economic and cultural change that began in the middle of the eighteenth century in Great Britain which expanded throughout the rest of the world. During this time, countries gradually shifted from a primarily agrarian society to one of machine industry and manufacture.
The Industrial Revolution brought about significant changes that transformed the way people lived. Some of the most crucial technological advancements include the uses of fossil fuel, steam for power and the development and manufacturing of steel for transportation. The inventions of the power loom and spinning jenny were significant timesavers to the textile industry and allowed an increase in output. Discoveries in the chemical industry led to the use of petroleum for fuel, which was used in the new internal combustion engines that propelled automobiles.
The high demand for manufactured goods did not necessarily lead to a higher quality of living in the cities. Air and water pollution from the factories, jeopardize the peoples’ health. Many factory owners took advantage of the workers who worked long hours in very dangerous circumstances. The workers were also paid lowered wages. Children were also a source of labor during this time. Business owners could pay children considerably less than adult workers. The massive rate of immigrants who migrated from the country sides to work in the factories led to severe overcrowding in urban areas resulted in substandard living conditions.
The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain because social, political, and legal and geographical conditions. Property rights, such as those for patents on mechanical improvements, were well established. Earnings were safer, people could gain wealth, social prestige, and power more easily. Due to Britain’s geography, a system of internal waterways and canals made the transport of goods less difficult than in other nations. Coalfields, provided fuel to power the furnaces that and thick forests, located conveniently close to large deposits of metal ores produced iron. Commercial banks provided financing for investments in industrial plants and machinery. These factors encouraged risk taking and investment in new business ventures, both crucial to economic growths. Advances in agriculture also contributed to the industrialization process. Beginning in the mid-17th century, England underwent a process of agricultural improvement that enabled fewer farmers to feed more people while cultivating the same amount of land. Between 1750 and 1800, grain rose fifty percent; this increase sustained the steadily rising population in England which grew from 5.5 million in 1750 to around 9 million in 1801, to over 16 million by 1851. Agricultural improvement not only produced more food at cheaper prices, it also allowed farms to produce more food with fewer workers. Workers who could no longer find work on farms migrated to the towns in search of employment. As a result, there was a dramatic shift in population during the 19th century from the agricultural southeast to the Midlands and the north, where industry was located. The first aspect of industrialization was on the production of cotton, which was used to produce clothing. At the beginning of the 18th century Britain still exported finished cotton cloth from India. Soon after manufacturing England became the world’s primary supplier of cotton cloth. Developments such as the availability of cheap raw cotton from Egypt and America, and the invention of new machines that enabled workers to spin more thread and weave more cloth made this possible. The most important results of these changes were enormous increases in the output of goods per worker. A single spinner or weaver could now turn out many times more the volume of yarn or cloth that earlier workers had produced. This rising productivity was the central economic achievement that made the Industrial Revolution such a...
Bibliography: · http://www.ecology.com/archived-links/industrial-revolution/index.html
· The Industrial Revolution 1760-1830, T.S. Ashton and P. Hudson
· Oxford University Press 1968 USA New Preface Pat Hudson 1997
· The British Industrial Revolution: An Economic Perspective by Joel Mokyr Westview Press 1999 USA
· The First Industrial Revolution by Phyllis Deane
· Cambridge University Press 2000 England
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