Industrial Revolution Essay

The Industrial Revolution was the period in the 18th and 19th centuries when Britain was transformed from a predominantly agricultural nation into the manufacturing workshop of the world.The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain and it started textiles. Cloth is another name for textiles. Cloth was first created by hand, but man could not keep up with the rising demand for more and more cloth. There were many advancements in the textile industry that took production from man-made to machine made.[6] These inventions included the cotton gin, flying shuttle, and the spinning jenny.

This improved the speed of production and made it easier for workers. Great Britain, in the late 1700’s was able to jump-start the Industrial Revolution due to several geographic, political, natural, and man-made factors. Their resources, knowledge, and technical know-how not only changed how people lived, but how they interacted and forwarded a capitalist mentality and economy. [7] However, many problems arose when the machines came in. It endangered the lives of the workers and children. Since there was this new technology, it raised the expectations of the owners for the workers to produce more.

This included long, hard work hours which took its toll on the workers. This Industrial Revolution began for several significant reasons. The Industrial Revolution began in England for many reasons. The first reason was that England had the resources that were needed for industrialization. The second reason is innovation which was helped by the variety and amount of English thinkers and inventors being able to communicate effectively and quickly about their new farming and factory techniques. [5]

The third reason was the lack of internal tariffs and the lack of political interference in business. Geography and resources were an important part of the Industrial Revolution essentially because England had large deposits of coal which powered machines, iron from which the machines were created and wool which the machines spon into thread and then clothing. [3] It also had the resources close to ports and rivers.

These waterways ended shipping and made it affordable. Also enclosures allowed large farms to operate without any interference of peasant needs. [1] With four year rotation of crops each part of the land was utilized in a different way. New crops provided cheap sources of food for both humans and animals. [1] With farms creating more food, more people were available for other jobs. Along with this, new inventions required less people on farms and more people available to work in factories.

This was just one way that helped the Industrial Revolution begin in England. Innovation was essential to the Industrial Revolution because of the idea of assembly lines.[5] This was first used in the textile mills to increase production. Along with these there were the improvements in agriculture which helped support a growing number of city dwellers due to increased harvests. Britain, at the opening of the 17th century, was sporting rapid population growth.

As more citizens were born, the demand for burning fuel for cooking and heating increased.[2] During this period, wood was the primary source of fuel for the average household, and it came from forests in the countryside.[4]

Unlike the mainland European countries, England was an island and did not have as much trees as did France or Italy. Soon, the forests of England became exhausted and prices for firewood skyrocketed. [2] This occurred not only because they were running out of trees, but because wood had to be transported farther distances in the countryside hence increased cost. The problem was getting out of hand, until people decided that they had enough of wood and decided to burn coal instead. Coal was relatively abundant in Britain. Also, coal mines were found near rivers where they could be transported easily to the urban centers of London and other places. [1]

But the coal on the surface of the mines was soon exhausted, and miners had to dig deeper in order to get their coal. These mine shafts soon went so deep that they started to fill with water from underground. Driven by the increasing demand for coal, the English had to invent devices to pump out the water so that they could work the deep shafts below the water table. Many of these devices worked on the principle of atmospheric pressure and steam. From one of these devices, an English mechanic by the name of Watts got the idea for building the first true steam piston engine.[6]

One thing led to another, and England became the first industrial powerhouse of the world. As was stated before, the Industrial Revolution had its advantages and disadvantages. All in all it left us with technology that is useful in everyday life. The industrial revolution was a time of great imagination and progress. The inventions that allowed new products to be manufactured created a demand that caused a vicious cycle that propelled some people to prosperity, while at the same time held people down in poverty.

It was almost never the intent of the inventors, scientists, and other brilliant people to cause such discourse between the working class and the industrial machine, but it was, nonetheless, created.The role of government today in regulating industry is geared more towards protecting the worker. Back in the early days of the industrial revolution, it was the opposite. Life for people who worked in factories and mills often had low wages and awful working conditions. Workers finally had to ban together to improve their wages and working conditions and this often resulted inviolent confrontations. Some of these issues still exist today. Some may argue the industrial revolution is still happening, but is it?

References 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Mr. Jennings Notes