We are going to understand everything about the Industrial Revolution. So let us start our journey from where we have left… 🙂
Out of the turmoil and tension that were spreading all over the Europe at the time of Crusade, rose the fine flower of the Renaissance. It grew in the soil of Italy and took inspiration and nourishment from the old Greece.
Renaissance flowered in Italy but the fragrance of this flower spread throughout the western countries. Some special features for this Renaissance can be enumerated here,
- It had a stiff fight with the Church, for the Church did not believe in making people think and experiment. In spite of this a Pole, named Copernicus challenged the church as he proved that the Sun was the centre of the Universe and earth went around the sun. This was against the belief of the Church.
- A contemporary of Copernicus, Galileo, made the telescope. He proved the theory of Copernicus.
- Among the prominent men of science in the sixteen century was Harvey, who proved the circulation of the blood.
- In the 17th century one of the greatest names of science- Issac Newton, discovered the law of gravitation– of how things fall, and thus wrested another of Nature’s Secrets.
All these certain changes prepared the ground for the new order and this new order of Europe saw the very important three events- three Revolutions in the 18th century.
They were of three distinct features- Political(American Revolution), Industrial, and Social(French Revolution). The Industrial Revolution brought the big machines to the world. It ushered in the Machine Age or the Mechanical Age.
Reasons for Industrial Revolution
Ground and Fuel
World Trade and Capitalism acted as the ground for the Industrial Revolution. As the demand for goods increased because of the world trade. So, this led to the production of goods by machinery so that human labour can be reduced.
As the production spurred in the Europe particularly in Britain this led to the birth of business class, ideology of Capitalism and era of Multipolar World started.
Capitalism came with the motive of Profit at any Cost. So, this was the cause for the European Imperialism over the world. Capitalists established Royal Societies like Royal Society of London to promote Research and Development in different fields.
New inventions and discoveries gave impetus spark to the industrial revolution.
- In 1738, Kay made flying shuttle for cloth weaving. The flying shuttle quickened the process and thus doubled weaver’s output.
- Hargreaves in 1764 invented the spinning wheel with good speed. Richard Arkwright invented the spinning wheel running by water. Crompton allied both the features and gave a new machine.
All these inventions were first applied to the cotton industry and later in woolen industry. The revolution in this field was done by Newcomen, who invented Steam Engine and James Watt, who improved Steam Engine.
This was beginning of real industrial revolution because steam power was turned into mechanical power and men power was replaced by machine power. In this, the contribution of Marconi(Radio), Samuel Hoarse(Telegraph), Alexander Grahm Bell(Telephone) strengthen the cause of Industrial Revolution.
Three great industries grew up- Textile, Iron and Coal-factories sprung up in the coal areas and other suitable places. Industrial Revolution got momentum because of Imperialism and Colonialism because the newly occupied areas acted as the source of Raw Material and Market for the Industries.
Example: – North America and India were the colonial possession of the Britain and also the Power Houses of Industrial Revolution in Britain.
Salient features of Industrial Revolution: –
England became the epicenter
Because of the two important reasons, economic and political.
The economic reason was that England accumulated the wealth by the plundering of its colonies North America and India. Industrial revolution increased the value of land in England and prepared the ground for the Enclosure Movement.
Under it, big landlords of Britain snatched away the small lands of the farmers and these unemployed farmers fulfilled labour requirement of emerging industry. The Industrial Revolution was based on the Coal and Iron and Britain had a good reservoir of both these commodities.
- The political reason, when the entire Europe was going through Monarchy and Despotism, Britain became the first country to develop the parliamentary form of government in which important role was played by Glorius Revolution of 1688. So, the stable political order and naval power of Britain played important role in giving promotion of Industrial Revolution in Britain.
Revolution within Revolutions
In the pre-modern age, sea trade was dependent on winds which became irrelevant with Industrial Revolution. Now, the requirement was to move in the specific direction of raw material in the market. So, this led to the coming of steamboats with the contribution of Robert Fulton. Industrial Revolution also led to the increase in the volume of trade and commerce.
So, this paved the path for the railways which had its beginning in 1815 due to the contribution of George Stephenson’s, Macadamized(Macadam) and metallic roads was also the requirement of that time. But the most revolutionary development was in the field of communication. Because as world trade and Industrial Revolution created the necessity of being aware of the demand and supply of different parts of the world.
Industrial Revolution in Textile Sector
Food, Shelter and Clothing are the basic requirements of the human being so textile sector naturally got the attention. The main reason was that Britain was facing two challenges Industrial Revolution and British Imperialism for this they required the huge amount of money. But British wealth was drained away in the import of Oriental goods especially Indian textiles like Calico/ Muslin. So, it became the necessity to check this drain of wealth.
Change in the Agricultural Pattern
Industrial revolution increased the requirement of cash crops like Cotton, Jute, Indigo etc. So, this led to the change in agricultural pattern. Finally, the commercial Farming replaced the old method of Subsistence Farming.
One of the most important developments of Industrial Revolution was Mercantilism. And from ancient time west was dependent on the east for its survival, which led to Drain of Wealth from west to east in the form of Gold and Silver. This evident by the comment of Pliny, a Roman historian of ancient time and Bernier, a European Traveller in the medieval period.
Romans imported luxury items such as precious stones, silks, and spices as well as sugar, cotton and fruits. Trade seems to have weighed heavily in favour of India. Indeed several Roman emperors had to enact laws against the export of bullion from the empire to the East since Rome produced very few commodities of value for India-Pliny.
With the beginning of Industrial Revolution, European nations opted for the protective tariff to save precious metals for internal growth and development i.e. control on imports and promotion to exports. So, this appeared to be a challenge so the next option was Colonialism. It was political and economic subjugation of the other country for the benefit of the mother country.
Example: – India from 1757-1947, was subjugated to British interest this is clear by the three phases of economic changes in India.
- 1757-1813, Mercantilist phase.
- 1813-1858, Establishment of the classical pattern of colonialism, the phase of severe exploitation.
- 1858-1947, Establishment of finance-driven dominance through the export of capital, Investment in India.
The most important development in this field of the policy was nationalism which was the reaction against mercantilism. The rise of Nationalism in India and America. So, it gave birth to the new philosophies like Nationalism, Communism, Socialism etc.
Capitalism believes in the principle of talent and profit. Industrial Revolution strengthened Capitalism, so society also started seen new development like
- Abolition of slavery.(1st in Britain)
- Women Liberation Movements.
But it also created a class divide, Capitalists and Proletariats(working class).
With the beginning of capitalism in 15th century Economy, Polity, Society started changing. Religion was the constitution in the pre-modern age, so it led to the change in religion. So, an Important development was Martin Lither King’s 95 thesis in Germany.
He attacked Evil Practices of Catholic Religion. And this was the beginning of Protestant Movement in Europe. Protestant Movement strengthened with Industrial Revolution. The biggest setback to religion was Russian Revolution of 1917 when after the victory, communist declared ‘GOD IS DEAD'(Fredrick William Nietzsche).
Industrial Revolution proved to be the deciding factor for the modern world as it started giving new dimensions to the economy, polity, society and religion etc. So, the emergence of the new order started the clash with the old order which led to revolts and revolutions, in which a 1st important revolution was American Revolution.
In the coming post, we will discuss American Revolution. Hope you all enjoyed reading. 🙂
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