The Industrial Revolution and Imperialism

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The concept of imperialism is one that has pervaded nearly every major society or empire throughout human history. It seems to be a natural consequence of societies growing in size, power, and knowledge. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries vast changes occurred in Western Europe (and soon spread elsewhere) that spurred a new round of imperialism the likes of which had not been seen before. The changes were the industrial revolution that was taking place. Countries were rapidly advancing to industrial societies producing much greater quantities of goods at much lower costs. The goods produced ranged everywhere from cotton textiles to military machinery, all of which would play important roles in rounds of imperialistic expansion that would follow. The imperialistic displays by Western European nations also brought about several other industrial revolutions in other regions including the Ottoman Empire, Russia, and Japan. I will take a look at how the industrial revolution encouraged imperialistic expansion, as well as some of the results of that expansion in other regions.

While there are many important facets of the industrial revolution that took place in Western Europe there are two very important results in relation to imperialism. One is simply the advancement of the economies. Switching over to an industrial society meant that greater volumes of raw materials were required, because the concept of industrial society is using mechanization to produce quality goods on a mass scale. In doing this much of the labor forces naturally moved from agricultural areas to industrial ones. And so not only was a smaller percentage of the population providing the necessary inputs for many industrially produced goods, but the quantit...

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... industrial sector but would experience many setbacks simply due to the size, diversity, and traditional ways of Russian workers.

Although Russia did not become an imperialistic power like the nations in Western Europe, as well as the United States and Japan, it does serve as an example of how imperialism encouraged a “second round” of industrial revolution. Unlike Russia many other parts of the world became subject to imperial rule due to the advancements in Europe, Japan, and the United States. In fact nearly all of Africa was carved up and claimed by different imperial powers. As was India one of the first nations to be fully subjugated British imperial rule. This was all done in efforts for these nations to assert their control over as many people and natural resources as possible to obtain every competitive advantage possible in the rapidly advancing world.

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