, Research Paper
Had it not been for the industrial revolution, I would doubt very much that we would enjoy the technology we have in the year 2000. The reason we have this technology is that between the years 1750 and 1914 a great change in the world?s history was made. People started to discover faster methods of producing goods, which increased their economy. These people were mainly British and French, but after a few years the French were distracted by their revolution, and the British continued to industrialize. However you must not think this industrialization had no effects on society because it did. So in this essay I am going to talk about the history of the industrial revolution, discuss why Britain led the way in the industrial revolution and also I am going to explain to you in detail the effects of industrialization on society.In the midevel ages people were living in total darkness, and they did not know what was going on in the world around them. Happily the medieval ages were followed by the renaissance. Then came the year 1750, the year of the agricultural revolution in Britain which led away to a revolution in industry. Charles Townshend for example was one of the people who made the agricultural revolution possible. He suggested rotating the crops every year or two, to help the soil get enriched with vitamins and nutrition?s. The America?s then introduced potatoes to Great Britain. New farm machines were invented, for example Jethro Tull developed a seed drill which planted seeds in straight rows and farmers began using new iron plows in place of inofitiant wooden plows. In addition to that, the enclosure movement brought wealthy people to farm larger amounts of land, which was very good for the agricultural revolution. This revolution improved peoples diet and health leading to an increased population, which demanded healthy food, clothing and employment. Since many farmers were seeking jobs, they found it now in the textile industry, which created a new demand for laborers. You shall notice now that the mechanical inventions were so rapid and each one triggered another new one. A few examples of these inventions are the flying shuttle by John Kay, the spinning jenny by James Hargraves, the water frame by Richard Akriwght, the power loom by Edward Cartwight, Samuel Cromptons spinning mule, and Eli Whitney?s cotton gin. All these inventions gave the British cotton industry a further boost. Also the new machines were expensive and had to be set up near rivers, where running water turned a water wheel to power the machines. Inventors such as Arkwright built spinning mills and for that he hired hundreds of workers all operating under the factory system. This system brought machines and workers together in one place under one roof for a number of hours each day and workers were paid daily or weekly wages.As the industrial revolution unfolded new sources of power such as the steam engine was developed. It is true that the idea of the steam engine existed since 1698 but all along it had problems like intense pressure, or it required a lot of coal to fuel it. However in 1760 James Watt developed a perfect steam engine which revolutionized transportation. Not only so but also brought great changes in the iron and coal industries, which Henry Bessemer contributed greatly to, by developing a procedure that helped the production of steel, this stronger more workable steel triggered the growth of other industries as well. What do these industries depend on? Yes they depend on good transportation systems to bring raw materials to factories and to distribute finished goods. Thus they started building canals between mines and factories, then a road surface, and finally the rail road industry was developed. George Stephenson developed the Rocket; the first steam powered locomotive. Also the American Engineer Robert Fulton developed a way to use steam power for ships. The postal system was also introduced by the British but this time inexpensively. And last we should remember the telegraph that sent messages by electrical impulses not only in Europe but also between America and Britain.So after all the years we wonder why Britain lead the industrial revolution, well the reason is that they enjoyed many advantages that helped them take the lead in the revolution. As I have wrote the agricultural revolution increased food production, which freed many laborers to work in industry. Also to add to that Britain had iron and coal resources, they also had developed an excellent transportation system to speed the flow of goods. Britain was also the leading trading nation in Europe, which gave their merchants lots of capital. So as a result they used their capital to invest in textiles, mines railroads and shipbuilding. Britain also had a large colonial empire, which supplied it with raw materials for their factories. In addition people in the colonies bought finished goods produced by British industry. Also the government encouraged industrial growth, it lifted restrictions on trade, it encouraged road- and canal- building, and it maintained a strong navy to protect British merchant ships all over the world. Also the social and intellectual climate in Britain encouraged industrialization although a strong class structure existed in Britain, the British also excepted the Idea, that poor people did not have to stay poor. Instead they could better themselves. Oh! You might think. This is great. Yes many inventions, expansions, advances in science and technology, revolution in transportation, and new methods of production. Yes. Great! But all this had another cost that society has to pay for. How? Let me explain: First you shall encounter the problems of growing cities over night. These cities that used to have quiet market places, have developed into industrial cities with thousands of workers moving quickly into poorly build houses with no sanitation systems or water systems or even ventilation systems. All this contributed to the spread of various diseases, with no laws to ensure safety or taxes to improve living conditions. As a result to this people started losing person to person contact which they enjoyed before as farmers.Not only their houses were slums but also their factory conditions were worse with fumes, loud monotonous noise of machines,and poor lighting. Also the machines did not have safety devises incase of emergencies. And when you ask who are the people who worked for the factories? Writers answer you: men, women and children aging 5 and above. If you have read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens you would see the picture clearly then you might wonder if the entire nation was poor now. Also if you have read another book by Dickens called Hard Times, you could picture how bad factory life is. However, this period had a vast growth of a new middle class that were now as rich as the aristocrats and sadly the factory workers had little economical and political power which made them bond together and try to improve their working and living conditions.Here you shall witness in the years to come the rise of the labor union to get more gains for workers in wages or productivity in a safer and healthier environment. Governments now realized the demands workers and old age pensions, also public schools were set up for the workers children. Well after all these changes you would not have thought that there are any more changes to be made. If so you have forgotten how horrible living conditions were in the early industrial cities. Most of these changes were made in France and Britain and here are some examples of them! Water sewage systems, good ventilation, and building codes were set up of these. Some changes occurred in Paris, such as: the narrow crocked streets were replaced with wide attractive boulevards. Also new and better houses were constructed. However in London a police force was set up which made the city safer. Also streets became safer when the country started using gas, and later electricity to light the streets at night. Also electric streetcars were set up, which speeded up transportation. Now I am going to ask you did you expect those rural women in their homes, cooking and sowing or working as maids to work in factories? The answer is no you would not except them to do so. However they did do so and the reason was mainly economically: to support their families. However, poor women inspite of her 12 to 16 hours of working a day they had to work at home, cooking, cleaning and sowing for their family. Yet with gradual increase in wages, women went back to their homes, and the very poor preferred to work as cooks and maids for other families and some liked working as nannies for children. This is maybe why the British nanny is popular. However home sweet home was everybody?s motto, then.Don?t you agree now that this era was the greatest transformation in the history of humans, yes you might answer, but after the invention of writing, and the invention of the city and state. I also agree that all these laid the foundations for the industrial revolution. And this in turn laid the foundations for us to travel to the moon, cure the sick and live in a small world of Internet, computers and knowledge. However we need to remember that history has taught us that without acknowledging and respecting human rights I bet you that no civilization will live to see a new generation of their children live in peace and harmony. The reason for that is because their rights and privileges were taken away from them by whatever type of government rules them. However these generations will soon realize that they could gain back their rights and privileges by fighting back and forcing the government to change their ways or to make a reasonable agreement that makes both sides happy. I am also sure that the generations will not rest until they reach their goals and they will never feel good about anything until they forefill their dreams and become satisfied with what they have achieved.