Industrial Revolution – The Emergence of Modern Industrialism
While there is no exact date when the Industrial Revolution began,
experts agree that Abraham Darby's development of the coke-burning
blast furnace in 1709 helped launch the Industrial Revolution.
By making it possible to produce commercial grade iron efficiently,
the blast furnace spawned the development of modern iron and steel
industries. The Industrial Revolution was in full force by the
end of the 18th century, during the same time that American colonists
were gaining their independence from Britain.
Simply stated, the Industrial Revolution was the emergence of modern industrialism in Britain, Japan, continental Europe, and the United States. This revolution is responsible for economic and social changes that are still in evidence today.
The Industrial Revolution in the United States was a direct result of the rapid industrialization in Britain, the country that the United States had the closest relations to. Factories began to spring up in England in the late 18th century, revolutionizing the manufacture of things like cloth and cotton thread. Innovation followed innovation, and many industrial inventions were introduced during this time. There was somewhat of a domino effect: weaving inventions spurred spinning inventions, and these, in turn, created a demand for new and more modern ways of carding.
Energy sources were also changing. While the traditional means of energy — wind, water, and animal power — were still used, steam power was also introduced. As England's textile industry became the best and most profitable in the world, it encouraged other areas of manufacturing to innovate as well. While the British did what they could to prevent their new manufacturing processes and technology from being discovered by other countries, emigration ensured that knowledge of new machines traveled quickly.
Of all the countries that benefited from British technology and innovation, the United States is the country that benefited the most. That is because more immigrants went to the United States from Britain than to any other country. Nevertheless, Belgium, France, Germany, and Japan were other nations that benefited from British industrialization.
In addition to changing the economies of many countries, industrialization also changed the world's societies. For example, many people moved out of the country and into the cities to work in factories. These people benefited by enjoying a better standard of living, including benefits to their nutrition and health. But the city way of life was so different than the rural life that many of these people were used to that it caused severe psychological issues. While rural workers were used to varying, seasonal work patterns, work patterns in the city were rigid and disciplined.
In addition, the gap between social classes began to widen. While rural workers were used to accessible landlords and aristocrats, factory owners and managers were significantly more remote and dealt with their workers impersonally. Workers and factory owners became very distinct classes with different needs, and as a result the time during the industrial revolution was rife with turbulence between employers and workers.
Other results of industrialization included growing populations, longer life spans, and increases in crime, pollution, and infectious diseases.
The Industrial Revolution challenged and changed decades of traditions, beliefs, social patterns, and assumptions, transforming much of the globe and heavily influencing our economic and social patterns today.
Industrial Revolution References
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