When talking of change in the modern society, one pictures the role played by the industrial revolution. The history of industrial revolution has its roots in England. This is where the entire project began. It is worth noting, however, that when talking of industrial revolution, one should be pretty sure of what is meant by the phrase.
The term revolution normally refers to some changes in our society. It is a transition that marked a shift from the native and the old agricultural and commercial styles, in the social economy that heavily relied on inefficient and less productive tools, to a new form of an economic system that now invests on modern and complex machines that are faster, effective, and more efficient. These changes have completely changed the behavior of mankind not only in England but also in the entire world.
It has made the agricultural system quite easy, more productive, less expensive and fully exploited. It has really changed the life of mankind. Historically, the term industrial revolution has been used to explain a period in the Britain roughly cutting across the 18th century and the 19th century. It comes with the technical inventions that took place in this dispensation.
The inventions changed the agricultural way of life which by a large extent determined the nature of the industries which relies on it for the raw materials. This in turn changed the commercial aspect and gave it a new, simpler, bearable, and more productive look. The entire economic line and all sectors changed for the better. These new changes did not only affect the industries but they changed families, lifestyles as well as mankind behaviors.
The industrial revolution beginning in England is a pure fact in history. This fact according to historians is beyond reasonable doubt. This initiative was accelerated by a number of factors that favored England to be the pioneers of this big history. England enjoyed a variety of resources that favored and facilitated the development of industries.
These resources were very essential and important to jumpstart the process. There were the raw materials required for the industries. The raw materials included coal and iron among others. Wool was also available. Iron was used to create machines which were basically powered using coal and hence the machines would make threads using the available wool, which later was used to produce very quality textiles.
The availability of workers also gave an upper hand to the industrialization (Hartwell 67). This was simply because the workers availed themselves because of the fact that they were well paid by the factories. As a result, many people were lured and motivated to leave their original works to go for the factory work.
This was so because the factories were in great need of a large number of laborers with flexible mobility. Due to specialization, the laborers in the factories were very effective and productive. This is due to the reason that they performed only a limited number of operations. By this, the factories were able to reduce the time they required to complete various tasks.
Geography also paid an upper hand in the industries in England. This was due to the fact that the essential raw materials; the coal deposits, the iron and the wool, were not far off from each other. This eased the location of industries as the materials were strategically available, close to each other.
On the other hand, the transportation of these raw materials to the industries was not tasking as they were easily shipped across waterways. Basically, waterways reduced the time and cost of transporting the materials. Better still there were very many entrances where these materials could be transported to the industries. The very memorable innovations that took place in England in this period also boosted the industrial revolution.
The inventors were able to exchange ideas very fast and in a very effective way on any new farming, factory, mining or any important technique. The workforce also appreciated these new inventions that eased their work and increased their productivity, a factor that helped the inventors to make positive improvements on their colleagues’ innovative works. Hence the cohesive invention work accelerated the realization of more complex machineries. The workforce had also a take in this as they did not dilute the inventions.
The various inventions also had a very positive drive to propel industrialization. The flying shuttle for example raised the weaving speed, a factor that led to production of more clothes.
The spinning jenny on the other hand made it possible to have a large number of threads produced, a factor that increased the weaving speed bearing in mind that the machine was usable at home and in cottage industries too. As a result, contract work was beeped up.
Water flames were also to be attributed as a reason why the industrial revolution has its roots in England. The machine was also very important in powering the spinning machine. It reduced the amount of time needed to manually spin the threads. The power loom was also very significant. It by far reduced the manpower and at the long run the cost needed so as to weave the threads into clothes.
The work could also now be done under minimal human supervision. The speed was also improved having in mind that water power was far off better than the human force. Cotton harvesting in America also received a boost with the invention of the cotton gin. The invention reduced on the amount of time required to harvest cotton and sieve it, a factor that made cotton then a cheaper commodity.
England enjoyed a very comfortable political stability (Inikori 156). The latter saw the industrial revolution being a success in the country and also led England into being the first country to grow industrially, a very good environment for industrial survival. This was also added value by the reason that there was zero political interference in business. In other words, the free economy and politics in the country compared to other countries even in Europe created a very healthy environment for industrial survival.
The government policy was just something else of benefit to the industrial revolution in England that cannot just be ignored. It is worth noting that by then, the governance of England was just another wonder to enjoy. There was good will from all aspects of life that propelled the industrial revolution. The government did not impose any internal tariff.
The industries were not strictly regulated, and to make the story sweeter and worth listening to, the transportation costs were not frustrating the industrial development. There was also a change in stock breeding in England. The revived stock breeding was a smiling reason for the industrial revolution. As a result, the agricultural products were just an encouraging improvement. The quality of meat, milk and that of wool became something to look at and proudly talk of. Their quantities of production were increased significantly.
Consequently, feeding and clothing this industrial growing nation by then became just an easy thing for England. There was also an improvement of the planting methodology. Following the invention of the “horse-drawn seed drill”, the planting of seeds in the farms became more professional and effective rather than the manual and primitive practice. The drill could plant seeds in straight rows and because it was horse-drawn, a reduced amount of manpower was required to do the planting.
As a result of the inventions of the mechanical reapers used to harvest crops, the process itself eased. The two latter inventions were very positive to the industrial revolution. One is that feeding the swelling number of urban dwellers was now not a big issue to the government. And since few people were then needed to work in the farms, the rest of the people were now available to work in the industries.
The new agricultural system was another very important advantage to the industrial revolution. The introduction of the land enclosure system was a big tick especially to the large scale farmers. They could now operate smoothly in their farms without the peasants’ interference. The four year crop rotation was also very timely. It ensured that each part of the available land was wisely utilized in a unique way every year.
Therefore, the rotation did another good that cannot just be assumed. The new crops introduced in England were another value added to the industrial revolution. They provided cheap food that kept the animals and humankind going throughout the entire industrial revolution.
The division of land into large farms made it possible for the land to be used in a more effective and efficient way. As a result the cost of food production was reduced and its production was driven up. Thus, the policy of the individual land consolidation was heavenly sent.
England was also enjoying its richness in both local and international merchants. The availability of these merchants, the profit made by the large farm holders as well as the income the country got from its colonies provided just enough capital to set up these industries. There was also ready market for these products both in Europe, Africa, America, and basically in the entire world. As the industries emerged, the number of the working class also increased and therefore the demand and ability to buy these products was also rising in the country.
However, every activity has a result attached to it. Industrial revolution in England also did not go unnoticed. The impacts were as sound as the revolution itself. As a result of the revolution, the population in the country also increased. As a matter of fact, the population almost doubled in this dispensation.
This was as a result of the good humanitarian conditions caused by the industrial revolution. The industries increased employment opportunities in the country, a factor that raised the number of the working class in the country. As a result of the now new income, the population’s standards of living improved. The social structure also changed in the country. Earlier, people used to live in small villages.
They worked in agricultural sectors or better still work as craftsmen. Most of them lived in the upcountry. Here, farming was the major economic activity. However, things changed all over a sudden. The enclosed system left many people landless. The poor farmers who were forced to fence their land were left struggling financially. The enclosure system also compelled many people to look for employment opportunities in the upcoming factories. Many people therefore moved from rural areas to urban centers.
Many factories were opened in the country. The road networks in the country also improved as a result of the revolution. The railway transport was also improved. It was necessary to have good railway network so as to ease the mails and news delivery across the factories and the business associates. This wiped away the old and primitive wagons.
With every good that comes, an evil one is just at hand. Nothing will happen with all positive results. Industrial revolution in England was not an exemption. It is a fact that it did very well. But on the other hand, its harm cannot be assumed. One is that there were a lot of exodus; people leaving the rural to the urban.
This was a factor that reduced the workforce in the farms. Following the large numbers of the population going to the urban centers, the houses here were not enough to accommodate this sudden huge number. As a result, these people were compelled to live in slums. Here, the conditions were not human-friendly. Water in the slums was a challenge. The sanitation was very wanting. People had to use very poor latrines. The hygiene in these slums was very challenging. In fact, it left the slums dwellers in a threat of many diseases.
As people moved to urban centers life changed and social evils got to their peak. Prostitution was in its highest in this dispensation. Those who were lazy and dissatisfied with what they got engaged in crimes. The workers in the factories were also on the receiving end. They were exposed to long working hours. Child labor and other forms of abuse were also another challenge.
Other than the long working duration, another danger that was glaring at these factory workers were the brutal working conditions. The environment was also not spared either. In fact the impacts on the environment were so sound that they are felt even today. Talk of air pollution by the smoke from the industries. The waste from industries was also a challenge to the soil and in most cases when directed to the water sources posed a great danger to marine life as well as humans who relied on the same water.
The impacts of the industrial revolution were not only felt in England alone; however, the entire world shared on the same pros and cons. The products from the British factories got their way into the global market and in this way the world had a share.
After making big profits from these industries, the investors had surplus capital and the rest of the world more so Africa became their destination of investment. Many people also learnt from the English invention and carried on the same to their countries and thereby, industrial revolution became a global affair rather than an English affair.
When the water masses were polluted by the Englishman, the impact was felt worldwide. The same case happened to the global climatic change as a result of this industrial revolution. The USA also benefited from this revolution as investors went to the USA to invest. Researchers from USA found a good ground to study in Britain on the inventions. These researchers in turn replicated the same in the US. The English industrial revolution was important to all nations in the world.
Hartwell, Ronald Max. The causes of the industrial revolution in England. London: Taylor & Francis, 1967. Print.
Inikori, Joseph E. Africans and the industrial revolution in England: a study in international trade and international development. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.