Assess the Impact of the Industrial Revolution in England on the Atlantic World

The industrial revolution according to Neil Tonge in his historical account ‘challenging history- industrialization and society 1700 – 1914,’ can be classified as a change in industrial technology, organization of labourers, transport, and finance and business operation. In ‘A history of the western society, fourth edition,’ referred to it as the total change from agrarian society to a mechanized or complex society. The impact of the revolution on England and the entire Atlantic world was immense. This essay seeks to discuss various effects of the revolution on all aspects of development in the countries involved. Trade was influential to the industrial process.

Neil Tonge described it as the wealth of the world. It makes the difference between the rich and the poor, nourishes industries and dispenses the natural wealth. According to various historians such as Eric Williams the triangular trade and the sugar industry in the Caribbean was crucial to the transformation of the Atlantic economy. Industrialization intensified trade amongst nations and human resources. Large amounts of sugar, coffee, cotton and tobacco were taken from the colonies to fuel the industrial masters in London.

The result of this parasitic relationship was massive underdevelopment and stunted economies in the colonies since all colonies were giving back to the mother country. There was also the culture of interdependence between Britain and her colonies and the 13 American colonies. The colonies were by now accustomed to a ready market and therefore had to remain dependent upon the crown since their industry were tied to them.

The monies made from the colonies did not stay in the colonies but went to Europe and the US, fuelling their economies and leaving the colonies highly underdeveloped. There was also the formation of new industries such as the shipping, boat building, textile, oil and steel industry. This resulted in mass urbanization in the industrial countries. Persons moved from rural to urban areas in search of employment. So too did the emigrants from the colonies. They left the colonies in search of employment and a better life.

This resulted in demographic changes in the host country and the base country. Population increased in the host and decreased in the base. The creation of industry also saw the small business going out of existence. The large factories produced goods at a cheaper unitary cost and proved to be a thorn in the flesh of small businesses. The law of the jungle was now in full effect, only the huge industrial powers were reaping the profits of the industrial period. The industrial revolution saw the specialization of labourers.

Persons were now concentrating on one area of work. This made labour monotonous. The result was mass production. Mass production saw large amounts of goods being produced, making goods cheaper, readily available and in large quantities, resulting in huge profits for industrialists and cheaper commodities for consumers. Workers all over were highly underpaid but they were in most cases receiving more liquid cash than they ever received. The industrial revolution had far reaching consequences on the industries involved. The craft industry in Africa was seriously injured by the intervention of the Europeans.

The Europeans took African craft from Africa and sold them in Britain as novelty, with the profit reaped by the traders. The Africans with knowledge of making the craft were taken away from the plantation and brought to the west as slaves and they came to the west with the know how to create these crafts. The tradition of making African craft was thus cut short. Industrial powers used their superior powers and weapons to take over the land in Africa. Africa was also seen as a part of the ready market for European goods.

This was a continuation of European imperialism in Africa and their ideology that white men were superior in race than the black. One Englishman said, "There are 40 million naked people [in Africa], and the cotton spinners of Manchester are waiting to clothe them." Colonies provided Europe's factories with new markets for manufactured goods, and cheap raw materials to feed Europe's machines. They therefore imposed their goods on Africa with the aim of tem receiving the profit. The creation of new industries provided employment and proved to be a boost to the economy. This was the case in Europe as well as in America.

The result was the massive redistribution of pay. The pay was low in most cases but was more than most employers ever received. This caused further migration to industrialized areas. There were inventions and technological advancements that made the industrial process possible. This included the Bessemer iron production process, the telephone etc.. This facilitated the development of industry and made good cheaper to consumers. There was a rise in labour unions. This was a direct response to the poor state of the employer employee relations in the factory setting. Workers were generally made to work in small cramped conditions and work for long hours.

This was a general feature of industrialization. Labour unions such as the knight of labour were formed. On the issue of health, overpopulation, and overcrowding led to unsanitary conditions. By 1834, persons like Edwin Chadwick and Bentham began to look into public health. They believed the disease and death caused poverty since the sick were unemployed, and orphan children were poor children, his solution was to clean up the city.

By 1842, he was able to prove that disease was related to filthy environment things such as lack of drainage and garbage collection. So he therefore implemented clean pipe water to aid in personal hygiene, houses, street cleaning, fire fighting and industry. So Chadwick’s report was the basis of Britain’s first public health law which created a national health board and gave cities broad authorities to build made on sanitary systems.

This movement influenced the US, France and Germany from the 1840’s onwards and it can be imagined the influence it had on other places onwards. In the 1870’s, many European cities authorized private companies to operate horse drawn street cars which had then been developed in the us to carry riders along the major thoroughfares, so in the 1890 Europe adopted another American innovation, the electric street car, which was quicker and more convenient. By this time, the average European was using public transport 4 times as often as in 1886. This aided in crowded cities being less congested. In England 901, only 9 percent of the urban population was overcrowded, when more than 2 persons had to stay in one room. Persons cold afford to move further distance away from their workplace.