Industrial Revolution in England Essay

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Industrial Revolution in England

The internationalized financial crisis is the main subject of any news report. Yet, one must not overlook other important events and coverage, such as technological breakthroughs. Information Technology and Communication represents a pivotal component of our contemporary society, with more and more developments being made on current basis. One could go as far as to wonder when and where did it all start. The most plausible answer is that it started in late eighteenth century, in Great Britain, under the generic name of the Industrial Revolution, which set the trend for developments, eventually leading to the current Technological Revolution. This report strives to explain the Industrial Revolution, in terms of its occurrence and manifestation in England, but also the national advantages which led the commencement of the Industrial Revolution in England.

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution manifested in Europe throughout late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It commenced in Great Britain and its most simplistic explanation is that it represents the transition from manual labor to machine labor. In a more adequate formulation however, the Columbia Encyclopedia (2009) argues that the Industrial Revolution is a "term usually applied to the social and economic changes that mark the transition from a stable agricultural and commercial society to a modern industrial society relying on complex machinery rather than tools."Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Industrial Revolution in England Assignment

The debate on the selection of the actual term of revolution is still ongoing, with some parties arguing that its selection is appropriate due to the tremendous changes which occurred, whilst others believing that similar changes had also occurred in previous times (mostly throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries) and that the process was a gradual one, and as such does not call for the term of revolution, which implies rapidity. Whichever the stand taken, fact remains that it was throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that numerous developments were made; large factories were opened; populations migrated from rural sites to cities, machines were introduced into manufacturing and less emphasis was placed on agricultural operations -- which however increased their output due to the introduction of mechanized operations. All these changes are organized into what is today called the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution is not only one of the most important events in history due to its immediate impact, but also due to the effects we still feel today. For instance, the population's migration from rural to urban sites created a necessity for developed and structured cities, supported by strong municipal services. Then, it gave birth to employee-employer relations and set an interdependency that had not been felt by the pre-revolution individual. It also generated the need for legislation to regulate these relations, as well as any other business or manufacturing operations. Also, it created a context for the implementation of the laissez-faire principles, which were however gradually replaced with the modern day capitalist structures (the Columbia Encyclopedia, 2009).

3. Occurrence and Manifestation in England

The emergence of the Industrial Revolution within Great Britain is generally pegged to the year 1780. Additionally, its occurrence here is linked to the fact that the country revealed a context prepared for change. England possessed numerous inventors and academicians who promoted the forces of advancement. The legislation was also well in place and allowed for patents to be easily acquired and protected. In this safe and stimulating context, several individuals, such as Adam Smith, James Watt or Thomas Newcomen, had intensified their efforts to create new means of more effective production or to issue and fight for the implementation of economic principles (Musson and Robinson, 1969). The results of their efforts were tremendous and materialized primarily in the massive development of three fields -- (1) iron, (2) steam engines and (3) textiles.

(1) Iron

The first major step relative to iron was made in 1709, as British industrialist Abraham Darby discovered how to use iron ore and coke to produce raw iron. This discovery improved production capabilities, reduced times and costs by replacing the more expensive alternatives. A next breakthrough occurred 75 years later, as British Henry Cort invented a new means of rolling the iron. These steps were crucial in the meaning that they created opportunities to capitalize on an abundant resource -- iron ore. Infrastructure was also improved due to the efficient usage of iron to build roads, bridges and railroads -- new techniques for burning coal to generate energy to put trains in motion was also discovered. An improved infrastructure and increased traveling means supported the future economic development of the country.

(2) Steam engines

The steam engine was built in three stages. The first occurred in 1689, as English engineer Thomas Savery built a steam engine with the aim of pumping water from mines. The prototype was improved 23 years later by Thomas Newcomen, another English engineer; the final touch was however brought by James Watt. The new machine was a crucial element in the developments that would follow not only as it improved the productivity levels, but also it allowed factories to be located anywhere, rather than just in the vicinity of waters, where they were originally set so to use water power. Soon afterwards, steam engines became popular in a variety of other fields, mainly transportation. During this time, Watt also set the basis for cooperation between companies to identify technical solutions to production problems; this measure also led to major developments and reduced research time.

(3) Textiles

The third, but nevertheless crucial, development was made in terms of textiles. Spinning yarn and weaving cloth had generically been considered as occupations to occur within the household. With the new advancements however, mass production was possible within factories. Three major breakthroughs characterize the textile revolution. The first belongs to John Kay, who, in 1733 created the flying shuttle, a partly mechanized technique of weaving. By 1770, James Hargreaves had invented the spinning jenny and Richard Arkwrigth had opened the first factory to spin based on water power. Last, in 1779, Samuel Crompton created the mule, a machine which increased the strength and quality of the thread (MSN Encarta, 2009).

The Industrial Revolution has generally been present at these three levels. Nevertheless, the advancements made by the iron and textiles industries, as well as through the introduction of the steam engine, soon expanded to the other sectors as well. The main effects felt by Great Britain and pegged to the Industrial Revolution are succinctly summarized below:

In terms of the English society, the focus of work shifted from family-like agricultural operations to jobs in factories; this also meant that people moved from villages to towns, leading to the emergence of large cities

In terms of economics and development, the impacts materialized in "the rise of the North, South Wales, the West of Scotland and the Midlands as great mining and manufacturing areas; the development of a new commerce; the rise of a new system of production; the increase of urban areas; the development of new relations between capital and labor" (Knowles, 2005, p.17).

The ultimate effect was that England inspired other European countries, but also the United States of America, to embrace the Industrial Revolution and as such evolve

4. English Advantages which Led to the Occurrence of the Industrial Revolution

It is generally accepted that the Industrial Revolution commenced in Great Britain. Yet, what is generally overlooked is the fact that similar processes of change were also present in other countries as well -- at lower degrees however, and with a less observable impact. What made it possible for England to be considered the home country of the Industrial Revolution is a combination of multiple factors and forces, which made the British context more prepared and more susceptible to embrace the Industrial Revolution.

Knowles shortly explains these advantages as given by the facts that Great Britain "had a ready command of capital, […] large and expanding markets, a free population, political security, a trading in large scale businesses for over-seas markets, ease of access to those markets through her geographical position and her shipping, while iron and coal fields provided her with the most valuable raw materials and motive power for machinery and for iron smelting" (p.15). The following paragraphs offer more details for some of these advantages.

Agriculture and productivity

Thomas Malthus was an economist who argued the scarcity of natural resources and forwarded restrictions on production and consumption. Unlike other states, Great Britain was beginning to renounce its implementation of the Malthusian principles and focused more on increasing production levels. The first effects were seen within the agricultural field, where productivity was increased through selective crops which enhanced the quality of the soil. Major soil improvement techniques, such as selective crops, were learned from the Dutch immigrants. Again, unlike other countries, England had opened its borders to immigration, meaning that it became increasingly able to absorb new knowledge and techniques. Another thing they did was to allow land and large farms to be owned by individuals. At a social level, the effects materialized in wealth… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Industrial Revolution in England.  (2009, October 24).  Retrieved July 3, 2020, from

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"Industrial Revolution in England."  October 24, 2009.  Accessed July 3, 2020.