The Industrial Revolution

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The Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution may be defined as the application of power-driven machinery to manufacturing. It had its beginning in remote times, and is still continuing in some places. In the eighteenth century all of western Europe began to industrialize rapidly, but in England the process was most highly accelerated. England's head start may be attributed to the emergence of a number of simultaneous factors. Britain had burned up her magnificent oak forests in its fireplaces, but large deposits of coal were still available for industrial fuel. There was an abundant labor supply to mine coal and iron, and to man the factories. From the old commercial empire there remained a fleet, and England still possessed colonies to furnish raw materials and act as captive markets for manufactured goods. Tobacco merchants of Glasgow and tea merchants of London and Bristol had capital to invest and the technical know-how derived from the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century. Last, but not least important, the insularity of Englandsaved industrial development from being interrupted by war. Soon all western Europe was more or less industrialized, and the coming of electricity and cheap steel after 1850 further speeded the process. I. The Agricultural Revolution The English countryside was transformed between 1760 and 1830 as the open-field system of cultivation gave way to compact farms and encl... ... middle of paper ... ...ck, the absence of building codes, and the lack of machinery for public sanitation. But, it must be added, they were also due to the factory owners' tendency to regard laborers as commodities and not as a group of human beings. In addition to a new factory-owning bourgeoisie, the Industrial Revolution created a new working class. The new class of industrial workers included all the men, women, and children laboring in the textile mills, pottery works, and mines. Often skilled artisans found themselves degraded to routine process laborers as machines began to mass produce the products formerly made by hand. Generally speaking, wages were low, hours were long, and working conditions unpleasant and dangerous. The industrial workers had helped to pass the Reform Bill of 1832, but they had not been enfranchised by it.

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