Origins of the Modern World: Chapter Four Essay Sample

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Robert B. Marks stated the Industrial Revolution Changed world by enabling societies to escape the constraints of the old regime and to build whole new economies and ways of organizing human life on the basis of stored sources like coal (118). The beginning of the Industrial Revolution was marked by the replacement of wind, water, and animals for powering machines (95). This switch allowed for stable and consistent power sources, allowing for more products to be produced and higher productivity rates. These two things sparked more jobs and allowed for cheaper products. In turn, economies were becoming stable and growing exponentially. The use of coal was a major breakthrough that launched society out of the biological old regime and into a new one no longer limited by annual solar energy flows (95). With the use of newly found coal, societies; England in specific, were able to begin their path into the Industrial Revolution. However, new power sources were not the soul contributing factor to this new economic change.

The Industrial Revolution is commonly thought to have begun in eighteenth century England with the mechanization of the process for sipping and weaving cotton thread. This progress was sparked by the strong desire the English had for Indian cotton textiles known as calicos. Thus, with this strong desire, almost everything in England that used to be made of wool or silk, was now made of calicos (96). Just as in the past, China having high quality goods such as silk or porcelain, England now has desire for India’s goods. This want for this new textile was a beginning push to the movement of the revolution. England eventually found a new power source to develop their production, the steam engine, which truly launched the Industrial Revolution and allowed Britain to break out of the constraints of the old biological regime (101).

This pushed other economies, such as India and China, towards developing their economies, as well. By 1800, Britain was producing ten million tons of coal, 90 percent of the world’s output. Since England was now starting to have the upper hand in the world, it was pushing other economies to become labor-intensive to make up for the loss of the very specific fossil fuel that they did not have access too.

The Industrial Revolution lastly led to the invention of the Steam engine. Thomas Newcomen in 1712 and James Watt in the 1760’s collectively developed a machine that rendered the production and mining of coal and relatively simple and eventually created the idea of vehicles moving above ground (109). This breakthrough of the steam engine ended up creating a lasting form of transportation that is still in effect to this day. The steam engine is essentially the reason other forms of transportation became possible and led to the economies that the world holds today. The steam engines also transformed the cotton industry, vastly increasing output (110). These new outcomes with the Industrial Revolution placed society on a path of everincreasing productivity, overall social wealth, and higher standards of living.

Work Cited

Marks, Robert B. The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century. 2nd Edition. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007

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