The Industrial Revolution

Nadia Mathis

Great Britain

Even though England was a primarily agricultural society, it was already an important industrial producer. There were many technological advances that were of benefit for more than one industry, such as James Watt's steam engine, these caused an increase in the manufacturing of woolen cloth, tin, coal, leather goods, small metal goods, and other domestic items. England also had trade routes with Europe, the American colonies, India, and Africa. This trade put England economically ahead of many other countries of the time, and the goods traded such as, gunpowder, hammers, shovels, anchors aided England in technological advances causing it to become the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Cotton Industry

There were many technological innovations that influenced the increase in the cotton industry. These inventions included the flying shuttle and the water frame which aided in the production of cotton by allowing the yarn to be produced much more quickly than previous looms. In America, the cotton gin, invented by Eli Whitney, revolutionized the cotton industry by making the harvesting of cotton plants fifty times faster and increasing the profit of plantations. This invention also lead to the beginnings of the interchangeable parts system.

Population

Population and urbanization was most apparent in Germany and England, where by the mid 1900's only half of the population still lived in rural areas, and over the next fifty years, many other European countries also had decreasing rural populations. Because most factories were located in urban areas, many people migrated in order to find more job opportunities. Urban areas were also centers of transportation such as Liverpool and Marseille and political centers such as London, Berlin, and Paris. These immigrants became part of the working class and new jobs were created such as managers and factory owners in order to run the new factories.

Capitalism

Capitalism, also called free-market or free-enterprise economy, is an economic system in which means of production such as factories and businesses are privately owned. Goods, services, and income are distributed through markets causing a separation between the state and the economy. There were many views on this system during the industrial revolution, both negative and positive. Some viewed men such as Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt who without their "entrepreneurial spirit" Europe and the United States would not have flourished as it did. This was the view of most during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. However, there were also many who had a much more pessimistic view, believing that capitalists gained their income from the workers and costumers, this view was seen by many who noticed the expanding gap between the wealthy and the poor.

Spread of Industrialization

Industrialization was spread mostly through trade and political change. As companies wanted to expand and accumulate more wealth from consumers, new, faster methods of production were needed in order to increase the production of goods. This was also true in Japan and Russia. In Japan, the transformation was caused by multiple, economic incentives, governmental reforms, and historical fortune. Though at first, industrialization in Japan was frowned upon, Japan eventually became industrialized and became Asia's political power by the 20th century. Russia, was not as similar. Though industrialization did exist in Russia, most industry was still classified as "cottage industry." However, agricultural and textile production was able to flourish in Russia, though not to the extent as much of Europe. Russia was most successful in the oil industry, which was increased when industrialization spread to Russia.

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