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Industrial Revolution Facts and Summary
The Industrial Revolution was a transformation of human life circumstances that occurred in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (roughly 1760 to 1840) in Britain, the United States, and Western Europe due in large measure to advances in the technologies of the industry. The Industrial Revolution was characterized by a complex interplay of changes in technology, society, medicine, economy, education, and culture in which multiple technological innovations replaced human labour with mechanical work, replaced sources like wood with mineral sources like coal and iron, freed mechanical power from being tied to a fixed running water source, and supported the injection of capitalist practices, methods, and principles into what had been an agrarian society.
The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in human history, comparable to the invention of farming or the rise of the first city-states—almost every aspect of daily life and human society was, eventually, in some way altered. As with most examples of change in complex systems, the transformation referenced by “Industrial Revolution” was really a whole system effect wrought through multiple causes, of which the technological advances are only the most apparent.
Industrial Revolution started in the United Kingdom in the early seventeenth century. The Act of Union uniting England and Scotland ushered in a sustained period of internal peace and an internal free market without internal trade barriers. Britain had a reliable and fast developing banking sector, a straightforward legal framework for setting up joint stock companies, a modern legal framework, and system to enforce the rule of law, a developing transportation system. In the latter half of the 1700s, the manual labor based economy of the Kingdom of Great Britain began to be replaced by one dominated by industry and the manufacture of machinery. It started with the mechanization of the textile industries, the development of iron-making techniques and the increased use of refined coal. Once started, it spread. Trade expansion was enabled by the introduction of canals, improved roads, and railways. The introduction of steam power (fueled primarily by coal) and powered machinery (mainly in textile manufacturing) underpinned the dramatic increases in production capacity. The development of all-metal machine tools in the first two decades of the nineteenth century facilitated the manufacture of more production machines for manufacturing in other industries. The effects spread throughout Western Europe and North America during the nineteenth century, eventually affecting most of the world. The impact of this change on society was enormous.
Industrial Revolution, its emergence in England was primarily the result of the many reasons. A few are briefly enumerated here. A major increase in population; An agricultural revolution, which was linked to population growth and the application of new techniques and machinery in cultivation; the application of new techniques of production in the cotton and iron and steel industries; the gradual abandonment of cottage industry and a focus of production in factories, where it could be more rigorously supervised.
The character of British society also is stated to have stimulated the rise of entrepreneurship. The pursuit of wealth in trade and manufacture or in the professions led to the accumulation of fortunes which gave individuals rank and status. Utter rejection of such fortune as “tainted” was not a feature of English society, as it was in Europe. Nobles themselves invested in activities which linked their estates to manufacturing.
In both France and Germany, the construction of railways in the mid-nineteenth century was crucial to the growth of industrial capital. The development of industrial capitalism in other countries (Russia, and Hungary for instance) in the late nineteenth century was primarily the result of capital investments from the established industrial nations. However, towards the end of the nineteenth century, increasing importance of markets in colonies and underdeveloped regions of the world cannot be denied for all these nations.
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