Industrial Revolution Seminar Questions

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1) What caused the Industrial Revolution?

There are multiple reasons that the Industrial Revolution started. It was mostly made possible by a revolution in agriculture, which improved farm productivity. New types of soil, the development of crop rotating, and the invention of new devices, such as the seed drill, all served to increase the quantity and quality of farm produce. This meant that there were less famines, and that women would have stronger babies, so population skyrocketed. Population explosion from both declining death rates and the enclosure movement, in which rich landowners kicked farmers off their land, resulted in more people migrating to the cities to find jobs. This is called urbanization, and it produced more demand and a larger workforce. More people meant that there was more need for food and goods, so people had to find ways to increase production.

2) Describe the views of laissez faire economists a) Adam Smith, b) Thomas Malthus, and c) David Ricardo

Adam Smith's view was that a free market would help everyone, poor and rich alike. It would increase the production of goods so that more would be affordable to everyone. A growing economy would make capitalists invest in new ventures.

Malthus thought that the food supply eventually wouldn't be enough to feed everyone and the war, disease, famine kept population in control. He urged families to not have as much children, because the poor would suffer as long as the population was growing.

Ricardo agree Malthus that people need to stop having as much children. He said higher wages caused people to have more children. However, this created a larger workforce, which meant more unemployment and misery.

3) Contrast the approach...

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...Population explosion, agricultural changes, and the increasing demand for more workers led to urbanization, or the migration of people to cities. The enclosure movement played an important role in urbanization because when the rich landowners would take over the farmers' land, the farmers would be kicked off their own land. Some farmers had to leave because they couldn't keep up with the competition from the landowners. These jobless farmers then migrated to the cities because they could get jobs because of the growing demand for workers. New sources of energy, such as the coal-powered steam engine, helped entrepreneurs change the way their work was done and helped power the Industrial Revolution. Also, declining death rates due to the agricultural revolution decreased famines and led to a population explosion. Thus, large numbers of people migrated to cities.
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