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The Industrial Revolutions Effects on Europe A great historian, J. H. Clapham, wrote: Even if the history of the industrial revolution is a thrice-squeezing orange, there remains an astonishing amount of juice in it (Lane 5). The Industrial Revolution had an overall positive effect on Europe. The Industrial Revolution was a series of dramatic changes in the way work was done (World History 473).
Before the Industrial Revolution, most of all the work was done by hand. People used to plant crops, weave cloth, and make shoes by hand. Beginning in the mid 1700 s, people began to use machinery to do more of their jobs. Waterpower came into use for all kinds of machinery. By 1800, steam power took over for waterpower. The average British person born in 1760 saw more change than the ten generations before theirs.
Although the Industrial Revolution began in Britain, its effects soon spread throughout the world. The Industrial Revolution began in the mid 1700 s in the lower parts of Eastern England and Southern Scotland. The Industrial Revolution might not have taken place without the dramatic improvements in farming that began in the early 1700 s (473). This agricultural revolution started before the Industrial Revolution. Once industrialization began, the two revolutions went hand in hand. By 1700, wealthy landowners were buying up much of the land that village farmers had once worked.
The landowners rented fields to families of tenant farmers that worked the land. This was called enclosure, because the new owner usually put up a fence (473). In the 1700 s, many of the wealthy landowners began to look for possibilities for changing the size of their harvests. Influenced by the Scientific Revolution, they applied a scientific approach to working their farms. They kept track of the methods used on their lands. They also exchanged ideas with one another about land use and crops (473).
Jethro Tull was one of the first farmers to use the scientific approach to farming. He advocated ploughing and hoeing to break up soil. His seed drill, invented in 1721, was only one of many such drills invented in the eighteenth century. It allowed farmers to sow seeds in well-spaced rows at certain depths (Lane 59). The most revolutionary discovery for farmers was the system of crop rotation. Thanks to the efforts of farmers, raising livestock also became more productive (World History 474).
Scientific farming had two different effects on population. Better livestock and rising crop production meant more food. Fewer people went hungry, and nutrition improved. The other effect was that the enclosure movement forced small farmers off the land. Some of the farmers left Great Britain for British colonies in North America. Others crowded the British cities for job possibilities.
They became the labor force for jobs in manufacturing that began to appear. During the 1700 s, the population of Europe began to increase more rapidly than at any earlier time. The population of western Europe in 1750 was around 140 million. In the 100 years from 1750 to 1850, the numbers increased at a phenomenal rate.
By 1850, there were about 266 million Europeans (474). Historians are still contemplating what caused the population explosion. The rapid population growth helped quicken industrial progress. With more people, there was an increasing demand for food and other goods.
The population growth supplied the extra workers that the new factories and businesses needed to meet the rising demand for manufactured goods. There was a major reason why England was the European nation to lead the Industrial Revolution. Great Britain was the richest country in all the factors needed for industry. The Industrial Revolution depended on three important natural resources: waterpower, coal, and iron ore. Great Britain had many fine harbors. Its fleet consisted of over 6, 000 merchant ships.
This overseas trade gave Britain a wealthy class of ship owners and merchants. In addition to these factors, the British government clearly favored economic growth. Merchants and business people had considerable influence in Parliament. The government supported laws that encouraged new investment both at home and abroad (475).
In the mid 1770 s, the country had a good food supply, large work force, and plenty of people with a lot of money. Britain had long been one of the leading sheep raising areas in the world. This cloth was produced by hand. Spinners and weavers worked in their own homes, using spinning wheels and hand looms.
Since they could not make as much cotton cloth as people wanted to buy, cloth merchants saw that they could make greater profits if they found a way to speed up the process of spinning and weaving (476). By 1800, six major inventions had completely transformed the cotton industry. The flying shuttle, invented in 1733, allowed a weaver to work twice as fast. In 1764, the spinning jenny was invented. It allowed one spinner to work six or eight threads at a time.
Richard Arkwright's water-frame, invented in 1768, brought a new breakthrough. The water-frame used the water power from fast-flowing streams (Industrial Revolution 3). In 1779, Samuel Crompton combined features of the spinning jenny and the water-frame to produce the spinning mule (Clarkson 57). In 1793, Eli Whitney invented something similar to the spinning mule, the cotton gin.
The cotton gin made it possible for slaves to pick and clean ten times as much cotton than they had in the past (World History 476). Changes in transportation were also major factors in the Industrial Revolution. James Watt was a mathematical instrument maker. Watt went into partnership with Matthew Boulton, a farsighted businessman.
With Boultons financial backing, Watt continued to make engine after engine, improving with everyone he builds. Watt had become a millionaire after constructing about 500 steam engines (Lane 231). Thomas Telford was the governments choice for chief engineer. He engineered bridges, canals, harbors, waterways, docks, and roads.
For the roads, he laid seven inches of crushed stone covered with a two-inch layer of gravel. Now wagons were able to ride over the road in any type of weather. Road improvements drastically affected traveling times: it took about two weeks to travel from London to Edinburgh in 1745, two and a half days in 1796, and around 36 hours by coach or steamship in 1830 (Bland 40 - 41). Adam Smith recommended that England's canal system be expanded.
He thought that transporting goods over water would be less costly than traveling by road. The biggest change in transportation came with the use of steam power. The invention of the railroad locomotive in 1820, gave a tremendous boost to English industry. An English engineer named Richard Trevithick made an engine that was both small and powerful to use for the railroad locomotive. George Stephenson, in 1825, opened a railroad line using four locomotives.
Britain wanted to keep the secrets of industrialization to itself in order to establish a superior world position. However, despite laws limiting the spread of knowledge, the ideas of the Industrial Revolution slowly spread beyond Britain. For example, a young mill worker named Samuel Slater, escaped to the United States and was able to build a spinning machine from memory. The French Revolution and Napoleonic wars going on during the time of the Industrial Revolution in England disrupted business all over Europe. Being physically involved with that fighting, Britain had a great advantage over the rest of Europe. Goods such as wool and cotton, from Britains factories overtook European markets.
Despite the growth of other European countries, none could match the industrial power that Britain had built. British dominance was most visible in its 9, 797 miles of railroad. The amount of miles in France, Russia, Austria, all German and Italian states combined could not match the amount of miles of railroad in Britain (Dietz 45). Another obvious change brought about by the Industrial Revolution was the growth of the cities. Most Europeans, for centuries, had lived in rural areas (Bagwell 105). Problems began occurring in the cities.
There was a huge demand for textiles which meant a need for workers. Men and women began working at the mills and mines. The working conditions began to get worse. You had to work rain or shine and your hours were elongated by about four hours. Children as young as six were working 12 hours a day (Toynbee 97). Wealth was spreading among other people in Europe.
The Industrial Revolution brought an enormous amount of wealth into the country (World History 486). Now the factory workers began making all the money and the upper class was making nothing. The middle class began to emerge as the rich. Adam Smith set forth the policy known as laissez-faire.
In the 1800 s, the idea was popular among the upper class and upper middle class. The British Parliament was controlled by these groups. Those men who owned a substantial amount of land could vote. Workers turned violent in their demands for reform. The government also used violence. Soldiers had to break up a gathering because city officials panicked (Coleman 157).
The Industrial Revolution changed the way things were made. It changed the products that were made and it changed who made those products and where they were made. In short, the Industrial Revolution changed every aspect of life as it had existed. It also paved the way for generations to come to continue to invent new ways of doing things and new things to do. We continue to see these effects today in the world around us. Bibliography:
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Research essay sample on The Industrial Revolutions Effects On Europe