Webster’s Dictionary defines a Revolution in various ways. First it states that a revolution is “a sudden, radical or complete change.” Secondly revolution can be defined as “an activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation. Another definition says that revolution is a “fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something: a change in paradigm.” Finally Webster states that a revolution can also be considered as “a changeover in use or preference especially in technology.1”
All of the above definitions can be used to described the great impact that the Industrial Revolution had on the World. The Industrial Revolution changed everyone’s way of life, including socioeconomics, ways of thinking and visualizing and ways of use and preference. The Industrial Revolution occurred during the time period of 1750-1850. The Industrial Revolution is considered by many historians to be a major turning point in history which affected daily life in almost every aspect.
Reasons for the Revolution
In doing research on the Industrial Revolution, one of the topics talked about often was the Textile Industry. There were certain inventions that helped spark the revolution. One of them was called the Spinning Jenny. The Spinning Jenny was invented in 1764 by James Hargreaves in Stanhill, Oswaldtwistle Lancashire in England.2 The machine was useful because it simplified the process for creating yarn which was very valuable in the textile industry. For example one could work on as many as eight or more spools of yarn at one time, whereas before one person would work on one spool of yarn at a time.
The Impact of the Industrial Revolution
One of the ways that the Industrial Revolution had an impact was on income. A working person’s income grew rapidly. This is because during this time period there was a move from just using manual labor and using animals. People began using machine based manufacturing. Because of this, people began moving from the country into the towns and cities. The transition caused the population to grow.
In addition to using machine based manufacturing, steam power was also used for machinery. The steam was fueled by water wheels and by coal. These inventions helped the textile industry.
Also as it pertains to the way iron was produced, the Industrial Revolution developed ways to better produce iron. One ways was to make interchangeable parts instead of melting parts together. Also the assembly line became more efficient.
There was also the use of the steam engine. The steam engine helped to grow Britian because it empowered cotton mills and ironworks.
The industrial revolution was important because it helped to create jobs. People began to move from farming to work in the mills and factories. However, working in these locations was very hard because people were required to work long hours and under very tough and strict working conditions. Most work days could last between ten and twelve hours per day with low wages. This was also a time when child labor was prevalent. Children who were very young were sometimes required to work in factories under dangerous conditions. Also, children were not paid as much as adults even though the work was just as challenging and dangerous.
Because of the hard working conditions, trade union were formed. The purpose of the trade unions was to help the working people and advance their interest. The unions could band together to make their voice heard to their employers. Work unions are still around today.
The Industrial Revolution also caused a population increase in England. It is estimated that the population of England more than doubled from 8.3 million in 1801 to 16.8 million in 1850.3 And as living conditions and health care improved, Britian’s population continued to grow. Why England
Historians believe that the Industrial Revolution was brought on in part by the end of feudalism in Britain. Feudalism occurred mostly during the time periods of the 9th through the 15th centuries and dealt mostly with the social and economic system in medieval Europe where land was held by vassals. Further historians credit the education and technological changes as some of the factors as to why the industrial revolution started in Europe and not in other parts of the world. Some stat that the Age of Enlightenment which was a philosophic movement in the 18th century in Europe which is known to have been an intellectual movement, philosophical and cultural movement. The difference of opinions and schools of thought during the Enlightenment period led to more modern thinking during that time which produced a larger educated class which had more modern views on work. In Britain there was a move towards self interest and an entrepreneurial spirit that helped fuel the revolution. After the use of the techonology development, changes and thinking and growth in population affected Britian so vastly, other countries began to notice and began to use Britian as an example for their country’s own Inustrial Revolution.
The Revolution in America
The effect of the Industrial Revolution was worldwide. It first made its impression in the United Kingdom, then moved to North American, then to Japan and then all other parts of the world.
In the United States, the main source of machinery power was through the horse during the time leading up to the Industrial Revolution. The United States made a move toward water power sources. It was first used in the northern eat part of America because that is where the rivers were very fast moving.
The Revolution and Christianity
One interesting thing to note in researching this subject is the part that Christianity may have played in the Industrial Revolution. Some historians such as David Landes and Max Weber state that one of the influences of the Industrial Revolution occurring in Europe was because of the different believe systems in Europe and China. The belief system in China was one which followed Confucius and Buddhism which taught that the universe was in constant flux and not capable of being rationally understood. But the Judaeo-Christianity belief was that the univer was governed by rational and eternal laws.
Many people in my generation are aware of how the internet has changed people’s everyday lives and the world. Just as the internet in recent years changed the world, so did the Industrial Revoltion. The Industrial Revolution period will always be known in history as very impactful to everyday lives. Its reach started in England and utimatley affected the world. Its affects can still be felt today and will continue to be felt in the future. Thank God for the Industrial Revolution.
1. Webster’s Dictionary. Revolution http://www.merriam-webster.com 2. The UK population: past, present and future. www.ons.gov.uk 3. Industrial Revolution. www.wikipedia.org
4. Webster’s Dictionary. Revolution http://www.merriam-webster.com 5. Spinning Jenny. www.wikipedia.org
6. The UK population: past, present and future. www.ons.gov.uk 7. Industrial Revolution. www.wikipedia.org