The European Expansion and its Effects on the World

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"The growth of commerce and industry led to the technological advances, which in turn stimulated, and were stimulated by science.” (p. 403) The European scientific revolution was fueled by the blending of “liberal” and “servile” arts, in other words, science and technology. Because of the European expansion taking place throughout the world, new commerce and industries were advancing, creating the need for new technology and science. The theories and inventions that Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton provided were the fist major advances during the scientific revolution, and perhaps were the most profound.

The European expansion during the 15th and 16th centuries lead to major economic expansion throughout Europe and the newly established European colonies throughout the world. This economic growth, also called the commercial revolution, helped to fuel the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century by “Providing large and expanding markets for European industries” (p. 409) The commercial revolution created the need for new technology to meet the demands of the new and ever changing markets created by the European expansion. The commercial revolution also “Contributed the large amounts of capital necessary to finance the construction of factories and machines for the industrial revolution.” (p. 409)

The industrial revolution began in the late eighteenth century with the invention of the steam engine by James Watt. Thanks to the steam engine, people were now able to harness the power needed to run pumps, locomotives and eventually machines used in factories. “It (the steam engine) provided a means for harnessing and utilizing heat energy to furnish driving power for machines.” (p. 412)

The British quickly moved to the forefront of the industrial revolution due to their investment in the coal and iron industries. England was also at the forefront of modern banking due to the large amounts of profit from commerce that the British experienced. In addition to the steam engine, some of the most notable British inventions in the late eighteenth century were the new spinning machines that revolutionized the textile industry. As a result of the technological advances of the steam engine and cotton machines, increasing amount of steel, coal and iron were now needed to fuel the new machines largely in use by the beginning of the nineteenth century. The various im...

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.... Liberalism, the basis of modern democratic society, is “Emancipation of the individual from class, corporate or governmental restraint.” (p. 448) This ultimately led to the rising of the middle class and shifting away from autocratic dictatorship for the majority of the modern world. Socialism, emphasizing the community and the collective welfare, took a stronghold in various countries that proved to be short lived with the exception of World War I Russia. One last ideology, feminism, was also born out of the ashes of the European revolutions.

The commercial, scientific, industrial and political revolutions of the European Transformation changed the world forever. If it weren’t for the technological and scientific advances made during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the world might still consist of isolated countries without communications between them, and without the ability to mass-produce and travel from one place to another quickly. The ideological advancements, perhaps the most important outcome of the 1400-1900’s, are what opened the doors to the freedom and independence from autocratic and class rule that the greater part of the modern world now experiences.

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