The Industrial Revolution can be termed as the expansion of undeveloped forces. Paul Mantoux describes the range of the phenomena that comprised the watershed in British, European, and the world history. In his perspective, the revolution cannot be pigeon-hold as it was not a government policy but a historical accident that brought changes in the political, social, and economic frameworks of the society.
The period presented a transition from early modern history to modernity. Industrial Revolution age was sparked with transformations in various sectors of the economy. With various industrial innovations such as the steam engine, the world’s revolution into an urban society began.
Growth was experienced in all sectors: population, family life, economy, inventions, labor unions, social change, and factorial responsibilities. The growing economy enabled the industrial revolution to spread with the increase in wages and less domestic responsibilities among families. In addition, the economy affected the change from rural to urban societies, leading to the development and expansion of cities and industrial societies. By 1800, the population had increased immensely, and mass production was on the rise, with the sole purpose of bringing reform to the world. Thus, the Industrial Revolution economically, socially, and politically altered the lives European citizens through the creation of jobs as a result of expansion of factories, steam power, and familial aspects.
The revolution began during the mid-eighteenth century with the increase in cotton demand. Workers at the time tried to resist the change, but it was inevitable due to the insufficient cotton production that could not be relied upon to sustain the English economy. Hence, the cotton industry was among the primary changes that fostered the Industrial Revolution. The industry was of great significance to trade, thereby massively impacting the revolution. In addition, the cottage industry boosted the English economy through trade in the international market for it was known for its high quality and low cost exports. In essence, the changes started in the cotton industry, but the process of further changes and inventions was inevitable.
The Industrial Revolution had a decisive effect on the world as it created room for the expansion of new ideas in inventions. In line to that, the steam invention was one of the most important discoveries during the Industrial Revolution. Communication, transportation, and power increased as a result of steam powered boats, engines, and trains2. The steam power technique was mainly used for mass production and power. Furthermore, it was efficient, and its generation was economical and also easy to control. Apart from the factorial system, the Industrial Revolution also impacted the agricultural sector as farms expanded to fit the industrial world. Therefore, the advancement of the world developed as a result of Industrial Revolution on a wider scale as it promoted the production process.
New inventions led to the rise of capitalism. The wealthy employed poor peasants to work in their equipped factories thereby the factory system replaced the cottage industry. In addition, the revolution caused huge marginal gaps in class. The rich become even richer while the poor remained poor, and there was no interaction between the two classes of people. The factory system invention was later followed by change in the social set up; that is government and social policies were altered. Consequently, culture also experienced a transformational change that was completely different from the normal English setup. It was after the twentieth century that the industrialization was felt in America. Therefore, the change was caused by immigrants from England that occurred in early twentieth century. The immigrants with their descendants were the pioneers of Industrial Revolution in the United States.
The revolution contributed the new banking system, investments, stable environment, and capitalism. The expansion of the banking system enabled people to save at low interest rates, leading to the development of a new money economy. The changes in the financial sector created an economic stimulus that gave people more money to spend. The result was the creation of a stable economy. Hence, the financial change and the vast investments immensely impacted the state of the society, which led to the possibilities of expanding the modern economy.
Economy during the time of Industrial Revolution was significantly impacted by technological innovations. Technological transformations were a result of increase in the amount of workers and creation of new ways to organize production. This led to the rise of state of power at the expense of competing powers, which was common in the cities. The rise in economy led to the decline of prices, and products were available at a much cheaper price but still had vibrant value. In the eighteenth century, availability of cheap fuel promoted invention and application in the clothing industry. Clothing manufacturers concentrated on lightweight, cheap, and easily colored fabrics.
Since the 1800s, population has continued to grow with the rise in industrial development. This increase in population promoted innovation and the growth of industries. The growth was supported by modernization in medicine, hygiene, healthcare, and living standards. Naturally, the exponential growth led to the exponential requirement of resources, which also led to an increase in waste by products. In the 1800, Europe’s population reached a striking one hundred and twenty-three million while the world’s population reached an approximate of 9.2 billion by 2012. The massive growth in population can be attributed to the technological and medical advancements achieved by the Industrial Revolution.
Industrial Revolution also transformed family life as more people were becoming the representatives of working class. A large number of the working class brought home their wage and could now be able to afford luxuries. Further, the revolution changed the social orientation of families as duties and responsibilities were given to each family member, changing from the traditional male responsibilities. The above change was seen as a revolution to women and children as it altered the family structure in general besides the mere upbringing of children. Consequently, the level of income as well as education increased making families more contented with their lives.
Labor unions were the epitome of the Industrial Revolution although some may view it from the negative perspective. The industrialization period was marked with the transition from rural colonies to urban cities. The power was not shared equally as the revolution was in the hands of the bourgeoisie. Thus, there were frequent strikes as workers sought for equality, which resulted in the formation of labor unions. Initially, the majority of the unions were not successful in advocating for equality due to the imbalance of power. Currently, trade unions have revolutionized and have impacted the Industrial Revolution immensely even though the revolution is what molded the union. Therefore, the unions influenced the revolution positively as they expanded workforce and presented rights and equality to all.
In conclusion, the Industrial Revolution has played a major role in the establishment of the modern society. Advancement in technology, medicine, and sharing of responsibilities among family members led to the improvement on the quality of life, therefore increasing population. The industrialization age made the world undergo a transition from rural colonies to urban cities4. Thus, the inequality that existed during this transition led to the formation of labor unions to fight for equality among the workforce. Even though the period occurred in different times in England and America, the Industrial Revolution made a huge impact to the world as its benefits and innovations has fostered evolution.
Allen, Robert C. The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective. Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Allen, Robert C. “Why the Industrial Revolution was British: Commerce, Induced Invention, and the Scientific Revolution 1.” The Economic History Review 64. 2 (2011): 357-384.
Crafts, Nicholas FR. “Industrial Revolution in England and France: Some Thoughts on the Question, “Why was England First?”.” The Economic History Review 30. 3 (1977): 429-441.
Mantoux, Paul. The Industrial Revolution in the Eighteenth Century: An Outline of the Beginnings of the Modern Factory System in England. Routledge, 2013.
Rule, John. The Vital Century: England’s Economy 1714-1815. Routledge, 2014.