The Industrial Revolution, one of the most vital periods of change in Great Britain, occurred because of the stable economic, social, and political stance of the country, as well as brought lasting effects in Britain in each of these areas. With its fast growing monopoly on ocean trade, its renewed interest in scientific discovery, and its system of national banks holding tight to its financial security, Britain was, at the time of the Industrial Revolution, ready for change.
It was the great historical change we call the Industrial Revolution which would forever change city life, social class structure, the power of the British nation amongst others of the world, the production of machinery, and the strength of the economy of Britain. Because of the Industrial Revolution, never again would the British have to suffer the results of no changes regarding the inequalities of the working world, or doubt the strength of their country. Instead they would come to view the word “technology” in a completely new way.
Due to its sturdy financial and economic conditions, Great Britain was the leading figure in the Industrial Revolution. First of all, its domination of the seas via a strong military force gave it control of ocean transportation and trade. Ongoing British trade of tobacco, sugar, tea, and slaves internationally was largely a result of this control. Secondly, Britain’s national banking system provided it with capital from investments and a surplus of finances for which to use in commerce on the international scale.
New inventions of the time included John Kay’s “flying shuttle” weaving device and George Stephenson’s “Rocket” railway train, along with innovations such as Abraham Darby’s thought to use coal instead of charcoal in order to create fuel, as well as Henry Bessemer’s renovation of steel production (3.UShistory.com). Each of these improvements aided both the production and transportation of products and materials used for trade and in industrial factories. Other new developments included a seed drill, which enabled farmers to plant seeds in straight rows, along with the introduction of mechanical reapers and threshers.
These and other devices greatly increased farm production in Britain, promoting the growth and trade of the country. The improved cultivation of healthier fruits, vegetables, and other foods grown on British farms using the new inventions bettered the health and growth of the population, which meant there were more workers to help run industrial factories. Great Britain was also rich in natural resources such as water and coal.
These could provide an ample energy supply for trains, factories, steam ships, and other devices which increased transportation and also the movement of workers and new industrial ideas as well. In fact, Britain’s American colonies played an important role in providing the country with such vital raw materials. The enclosure movement restricted the ownership of public farmlands specifically to the wealthy landowners.
As a result of this movement, an influx of unemployed farm workers was created, adding to Britain’s strong labor force in cities. An increase in the number of workers in industry meant that factories could run more efficiently and produce more goods than ever before, helping to manufacture a much greater amount of new machinery (1.Thefreedictonary.com/industrialrevolution).
It was this expanded variety of mechanical tools that would fuel the continuation of the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution was a positive era to have occurred in Britain. In the beginning, however, the Industrial Revolution appeared to bring no benefits at all to the country. Living conditions in cities became unsanitary, as well as cramped and impoverished.
Factories subjected men, women, and even children workers to low wages, harsh punishments, and unprotected work around dangerous machinery.The tremendous use of coal in industrial production polluted the atmosphere, as well as people’s lungs, and workers’ conditions in the coalmines were not much better than in factories. Food was expensive for poor factory workers, and thus they could afford only to eat rancid meats, fatty fried foods, and stale bread, which contributed to the extreme malnutrition and sickness in the cities.
However, the positive outcomes of the Industrial Revolution rivaled the damage of its more negative effects. Britain obtained much capital from its many new international trading ventures with major nations, all largely dealing with the exchange of new and improved industrial machinery.
Thus, Great Britain grew to become the most powerful manufacturing nation, and the strongest economically, in all of Europe. As Britain’s incoming finances grew and increased, citizens were able to move up the rungs of the social class ladder in British society, thus improving their financial and educational statuses. Alongside new inventions came exciting discoveries in medicine, providing for better treatments of diseases and thus promoting the overall health of British society.
Scientific advancements of the time included new metal-production techniques, which aided a greater production of more durable metals, such as stronger steel, now made cheaper to produce. The improvement of steel production specifically helped cities to construct sturdier buildings which had fewer fire and other safety hazards. Along with construction improvements in cities, electricity was used, instead of gas power, to light city street lamps (2. Wikipedia.com).
It can be concluded that, because of Britain’s national economic, political, and social state, the country was ready to surmount on its shoulders the immense change of the Industrial Revolution. Due to this era in Great Britain, new inventions and innovations contributed to a more modern outlook on life, self-improvement in the workplace, and proved the benefits of a futuristic way of thinking. The Industrial Revolution caused the people of Britain to turn away from the past, and instead to look toward improvements in their way of life which would last through upcoming years. In this respect, the Industrial Revolution was, indeed, revolutionary.
Works Cited Page1. Thefreedictonary.com/industrialrevolution2. Wikipedia.com3. UShistory.com