The period of the world history from 1760 to 1820-1840 is well-known as the Industrial Revolution, the era that originated in Great Britain and altered the course of history. This movement affected everything from the industrial manufacturing processes to the daily life of average citizen. Ultimately, we seek to discuss the reasons why this phenomenon started in Great Britain and how it affected the whole world.
There are many researches that explore the causes and effects of the Industrial Revolution, however, even today economists failed to predict the extent of the revolution and its effects on world history. Still, there is a question where all scholars concur: why it occurred in Europe and Great Britain namely and not other parts of the world. Among the reasons for it scholars name sources of coal near manufacturing centers, raw materials from colonies overseas and financial resources that the United Kingdom possessed. R.C. Allen in his article “Why the industrial revolutions was British”, puts emphasis to the fact that England was a leader of woolen and cotton cloth industry and constantly growing demand at home and colonies had created the necessary foundations for new inventions as the price for the energy and capital in England was higher than anywhere else.
Arnold Toynbee’s “The Industrial Revolution” sheds light on the numerous inventions in the textile industry from the John Kay’s flying shuttle to Richard Arkwright’s Water Frame that made the production much more efficient and fast. Machines were easily operated by workers, mostly women and children who worked for a very low pay. As workers started to work in factories with the means of production owned by the employers it provided the basis for the factory system of capitalism.
The Industrial Revolution brought many people from the rural centers to the urban areas. Overcrowded cities have become the perfect places for diseases and epidemics. This phenomenon is described in J. L. Hammond’s book “The Rise of Modern Industry”. On the other hand, machine manufactured goods were cheaper than hand-made, so people could benefit from them and as a result, the standards of living rose.
Riots against unemployment caused by the introduction of machines and the necessity of improvement of working conditions became the reasons for creating labor unions and development of social legislation and government regulation of the industrialization.
As a matter of law, the Industrial Revolution prompted a Reform Bill in 1832 that had increased parliamentary representation of industrialized cities, Poor Law in 1834 that cancelled public aid for employed men and Factory Acts in 1833, 1844 and 1847 that dealt with the requirements to working conditions.
It becomes clear that the Industrial Revolution was one of the most prominent events in the world history. Without it the world as we know it today would not exist as it launched a chain reaction in all spheres of life. No one can underestimate the role that the Industrial Revolution had in the building of our modern society.
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