The Industrial Revolution in Europe between 1760 and 1850 had a major impact on the many countries of Europe that forever shaped their outcome. The Industrial Revolution had many causes that are still debatable to this day, the most major influence however was the end of the French Revolution. After the Industrial Revolution, many changes took place throughout the continent economically, socially, culturally, religiously, politically, and intellectually.
The exact cause of the Industrial Revolution is debatable among historians today, some believe that the Revolution was an outgrowth of social and institutional changes brought about by the end of feudalism in Britain after the English Civil War while others simply blame it upon the effectiveness of border patrol, which prevented less diseases from entering the countries.
With this, more babies lived past infancy, and for the first time in history the workforce had a humongous surplus of workers. Since work was hard to find in rural areas, many men were forced to leave their farms and work in the factories in the city. Other factors include the development of international trade, the creation of financial markets, and the accumulation of capital. Most importantly, the Industrial Revolution was a direct effect of what the end of the French Revolution brought to Europe.
The French Revolution had transformed Europe's political, diplomatic, and industrial views. People of knowledge began to wonder about an "industrial revolution", as they saw their country become more and more economically oriented. The Industrial Revolution first hit the countryside, and with large numbers of population, food was scarce and alternative ways of producing more food faster became a commodity.
The first breakthroughs were agriculturally based, in which simple rural based farming transformed into larger-scale manufacturing. Other major breakthroughs included the transformation of factories and many important inventions still used today. New sources of energy were discovered, along with faster transportation, and new ways of maximizing human labor, which triggered economic and social changes throughout the continent.
When it comes to the economic development of Europe after the Industrial Revolution, most of the consequences were indeed positive. Wages rose to heights never before seen imaginable, and people had enough money to live comfortably. Industries developed, and with the help of factories and manufacturing, the production of products became significantly more time efficient.
Machines were invented to help speed up these processes, and thus made mass production accessible. With this, the production cost of such goods were kept cheap, in that industries can sell products cheap and still make a large profit. This stimulated the economy into a stable state, where both government and people were happy.
As money flowed, the creation of banks became more apparent, and with this began the loans to create more and more industries. Mass production and the invention of the steam engine also helped mercantilism grow in Europe, which in turn also stimulated the economy. Construction began to boom and the development of roads, canals, and turnpike trusts, goods were able to be transported in faster, safer, and cheaper ways.
The improvement of the transportation system also had positive effects on the social aspects of the revolution. Citizens of Europe had more money to spend and save, and could use that money to go on vacations and visit family that lived far away. With the invention of railroads, this was possible to do as a day trip, and what before took 3-4 days now took 3-4 hours.
The dramatic improvements in transportation also eventually led to the creation of national sport leagues, since teams were able to quickly visit opposing teams. This led to many social changes Europeans never were able to witness before. Ball games brought sons and fathers together, while family day trips to the beach increased social bonding. The new forms of transportation also had a major effect on people's diets, in the sense that fresh foods and different foods were able to be quickly transported to urban areas.
The people of Europe were also impacted by the Revolution culturally and religiously. As more inventions helped the industries of the continent, European's views changed. Mass production and transportation advances lead to the increase in speed to the spread of news. The "Communication Revolution" contained inventions involving improved newspaper presses, and steam-powered printing began.
The invention of the telegraph, the press, and the typewriter were all agents of communication for written word. With everything becoming very accessible, new ideas were provided everyday to each class of Europe. Editorials were published in which people voiced their opinion. Many Europeans took advantage as to what the Industrial Revolution had given to them, and in turn took it upon themselves to lean more and more about the outside world. This sparked new cultural, religious and even political views which in turn spread across Europe.
New political ideas were also spread with ease throughout Europe, and the development of new and differing political parties soon became apparent in European society. People soon became disenfranchised from the electoral system of Europe. With the major growth in the industries, the middle class became more forcible, and a reform to the political system in Europe was a necessity to balance the new society's power structure. Also, the introduction of liberalism in the 18th century lead Europe into a new age of politics.
The Tory and Whig parties transformed into the modern-day Conservative and Liberal parties, creating a new era in Europe. For once, people had the right to their opinion, and as views between the two parties created separation between people, the ability to choose a side gave hope to the people of Europe. Intellectuals of Europe began creating other third parties that shared new and differing ideas than that of the two major.
The Industrial Revolution also shed light onto education. Before the revolution, only the wealthy class were educated, and the middle and poor classes could not afford education. The Revolution gave middle class families and opportunity for change intellectually, and made the cost of education not as high. Also, the many inventions during the Revolution lead to inspirational ideas to the younger crowd of Europe. The invention of the fly shuttle, spinning jenny, water frame, steam engine, spinning mule, cotton gin, and first railroad were all major influences upon the intellectual aspects of Europe.
Most importantly, the Industrial Revolution marked a major event in European history, and had a profound effect on the socioeconomic conditions of the continent. The changes spread like wildfire throughout Europe, North America, and eventually the world. The major inventions were basic grounds for many of the modern day inventions used today. All in all, the Industrial Revolution is noted as one of the major turning points in human history and affected almost every aspect of daily life.
- "Causes" The Industrial Revolution. 02 Feb. 2009 .
- "The Industrial Revolution in France, 1815-1848." Questia Online Library. 02 Feb. 2009 .