Industrial Revolution: Why Did the Industrial Revolution Begin in Britain?

1.Why did the Industrial Revolution begin in Britain? While the French Revolution was opening a new political era, another revolution was transforming economic and social life. This was the Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain around the mid eighteen hundreds and started to influence the rest of Europe and then the world. It was a rapid period that brought about radical changes.

The Industrial Revolution is usually defined as the shift from agrarian revolution to one based on the products of machine manufacturing. As a matter of fact, the revolution was much more involved rather than simply a shift to machine manufacture. It involved new and more efficient ways of organizing tasks, it led to increase in agricultural productivity, the harnessing of plentiful labor and the expanded role of financial institutions that began in the second half of the century that would transform society.

So why did the Industrial Revolution begin in Britain? Well, because conditions in Britain happened to be perfect at that time. England's natural resources helped in many ways to boom the newly Industrial Revolution. For instance, England's abundance of coal provided a good power source for energy; its abundance of iron would be needed for construction (Doc. 1, 4) and the damp climate was good for cotton growing.

These new source of energies replaced wind and water to create "labor saving" machines that dramatically decrease the use of human and animal labors and at the same time increase the level of productivity. As a result England's population grew rapidly providing a labor force for the industry.

Another aspect of the English society that allowed the Industrial Revolution to start in England was the structural class system. In England in the mid seventeen hundreds, there was no dominant and powerful feudal class that restricted and forced changes in society. Instead, there was an abundance of free workers who did not own land. This class structure together with a stable government that didn't hinder the economy made for a perfect setting for industrialization. There were other crucial factors, which helped begin the Industrial Revolution. The first of which was transportation.

Transportation was also crucial for the Industrial Revolution, and England had a great natural transportation waiting to be used. The country had a long, irregular coastline with many rivers and natural harbors (Doc.4) which provided easy transportation by water to many areas. The natural waterways that ran throughout England made it nearly impossible to find a place in the entire country that was more than seventy miles from the water (Doc. 4).

On top of these natural waterways, also existed a canal system throughout England, which began in 1756 (Doc. 1) and had been organized and constructed before the start of the Industrial Revolution. Aside from the natural sources of transportation there was the manmade railroad system that was promoted by the stable government which linked cities with other and would as result boost the economy because of various trading routes.

The effects of the Scientific Revolution played a major role in sparking the Industrial Revolution. The stream of scientific thoughts led to discoveries in different fields of activity (Doc. 5) that would pave the way for new inventions to be applied to the industry.

The Scientific Revolution brought about a new way of thinking… it caused people to believe they could be innovative and made them want to invent new things and new ways of doing things. Not only did it make people think this way, but also it made it okay for people to think this way. These people were the educated class who were not just focused on land and were capable of being managers and running things.

Reforms during the agrarian or agriculture revolution also helped pave the way for the Industrial Revolution. England's agricultural reforms had two major effects…it increased the food production of England farms, allowing the government to feed the increasing population of the industrializing cities and secondly it reduced the number of people who were needed to live in the countryside and farm, thus creating a flood of available work for the new factories being built in the cities. There were two major inventions which contributed to the improvement of agriculture in England.

They were the four year rotation of crops best knows as crop rotation (Doc. 8) and the seed planting drill by Jethro Tull (Doc. 7). The four field crop rotation was a new system of farming that grew turnips, clover and rye grass (Doc. 8) to naturally rejuvenate the soil. This meant that farmers no longer had to leave some of their fields empty each year in order to rejuvenate (www. tiscali.co.uk./ecyclopedia.com) The horse-drawn seed drill was the first of many machines to come that would help change agriculture. The seed drill planted seeds in straight rows and at a depth (Doc. 7).

This was a much well-organized way than the old way of basically throwing handfuls of seeds around. In order for farmers to use these new advancement, they needed to have large land because the land in England had been divided up into small strips to distribute to wealthy land owners and wealthy farmers as well had small pieces of land all over the place in the community. To correct this, the government ratified a series of laws called the Enclosure Acts… it was a series of laws ordering the assembling of all small pieces of land into larger clumps with fences.

The Enclosure Acts caused a large shift in population. Many poor farmers were unable to pay for fencing to enclose their properties and were forced to sell their land as a result many left their occupations and move to the cities for the sake of high wages (Doc. 2).

Lastly, there was political and economic freedom in England (Doc.9) allowed people to invest their savings in new enterprises. The government was flexible- it was able to change the laws that would gave money to the common people to make them happy so there wouldn't be any uprisings, however the government still favored the wealthy class though. What made the government stable was the educated middle class that participated in the government. They made sure that the wealthy didn't take advantage of the privileges and that it was distributed equally.