The First Industrial Revolution

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Imagine living in a world without electricity, transportation, lights, or modern technology. Envisioning life without the gadgets and gizmos we enjoy today may seem bizarre, but our society remains dependent on the inventions of the turn of the 18th century to feed, clothe and sustain itself. The First Industrial Revolution occurred during the beginning of the 18th century and would merge with the Second Industrial Revolution in 1850. It was a time of great change in America and the world. The previously miniscule GDP, the Gross Domestic Product (Webster, 1), began to shoot skyward with implementation of an array of new inventions, the use of steam power, and the cotton gin, which vastly increased the ability of farmers and manufacturers to feed and clothe a growing population.

Many people are unaware that the Industrial Revolution came in two waves. People tend to focus on the Second Industrial Revolution, when electrical and steel inventions were king, but that wave of innovation was born from the First Industrial Revolution. The First Industrial Revolution brought the world major changes regarding the invention and mass-production of products including food, supplies, and luxuries. The GDP’s newfound growth was both a cause and effect of the Industrial Revolution. Economic changes allowed people to buy more and growing populations led to heightened demand for goods. Inventions accelerated trade phenomenally by producing new products for the masses, and making old luxuries available to the public. Yet, the Industrial Revolution was only the beginning of a long and challenging path to civilized life for most Americans. “In the first decades of the Industrial Revolution, the standard of living of the factory workers was shockin...

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